Zahid’s MIC Assembly Speech Cannot Be Taken Lightly – Kit Siang

File photo of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (waving his hands), who was freed by the High Court in September this year from 40 charges of receiving bribes from a company to extend its foreign visa system (VLN) contract. He is now courting controversy with his speech at MIC’s recent assembly, where he reportedly jested about how more people from Barisan Nasional could be charged if they fail to win the 15th General Election. He had specified the names of those who could be “charged”.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 – Barisan Nasional and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, cannot dismiss his MIC Assembly speech lightly and must explain its real intent and meaning as it was UMNO and BN’s “declaration of war” for the 15GE, says DAP’s Lim Kit Siang.

“When Zahid spoke a week ago last Monday, he knew that Parliament was going to be dissolved that day, and he spelt out what the 15th General Election meant for UMNO and BN.”

He may also have also committed criminal offences with his speech, Kit Siang said in a statement issued today, as he had implied that there were others who were in the “waiting list” and could be “charged” just like him.

Zahid was quoted saying at the MIC event: ‘”Candidates from MIC, Umno, MCA and PBRS have to win in a dominant fashion. It’s now or never. This election is the mother of all general elections. If we fail, our fate will be worse than the last election.

“Right now, only I will be charged, Tok Mat (Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan), you are on the waiting list, Vicky (MIC president SA Vigneswaran) don’t laugh, you are also included. What more (MIC deputy president M) Saravanan? (MCA president Wee) Ka Siong? They won’t forget you. You will be charged as well. (Defence minister) Hisham (Hishammuddin Hussein), don’t smile….in order to avoid this, we have to win in a dominant manner, my brothers and sisters.”

Kit Siang also questioned Zahid’s complaint that his MIC Assembly speech had been “spun” by his opponents.

“I am not aware that the Perlis Mufti, Mohd Asri Zainal was one of his “opponents”,” Kit Siang said.

The Perlis Mufti was reported to have tweeted that he was stunned after hearing how a politician could openly admit that his political party/coalition has to win the general election to avoid corruption charges against them.

Kit Siang also disputed Zahid’s claims that his MIC assembly speech is being manipulated and used for the purpose of slander when the “real context” of his speech was that BN leaders are at risk of political prosecution if the opposition wins GE15.

“A week has passed but Zahid has failed to explain how his MIC Assembly speech was being “spun”.

“Zahid must come forward to explain whether UMNO Deputy President, Mohamad Hassan, UMNO Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, MCA President, Wee Ka Siong, MIC President SA Vigneswaran and MIC Deputy President M Saravanan are on the “waiting list” to be charged in court, and if so, what are these charges, and whose “waiting list” – the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police or the Attorney-General’s Chambers?”

Explaining the offending elements in Zahid’s speech, Kit Siang said:

“124I. Any person who, by word of mouth or in writing or in any newspaper, periodical, book, circular, or other printed publication or by any other means including electronic means spreads false reports or makes false statements likely to cause public alarm, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years.”

“Secondly, under Section 203 of the Penal Code which reads:

“Whoever, knowing or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed, gives any information respecting that offence which he knows or believes to be false, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.”

Kit Siang also claimed that the speech could amount to publishing “false news”  under Section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which states:

“Where in any publication there is maliciously published any false news, the printer, publisher, editor and the writer thereof shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand ringgit or to both.

“(2) For the purposes of this section, malice shall be presumed in default of evidence showing that, prior to publication, the accused took reasonable measures to verify the truth of the news.

“(3) No prosecution for an offence under this section shall be initiated without the consent in writing of the Public Prosecutor.”

Before it is too late, Zahid should clarify what he said at the MIC Assembly last Monday, Kit Siang reiterated.