Media statement by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP CEC member and NGO Bureau Chief on Sunday, October 15, 2006 in Petaling Jaya
Dr Lim Teck Ghee is not alone. The unfolding of truth in the past one week over the bumi equity controversy has been very encouraging. Groups and individuals are speaking up one after another, demanding the Government to come clean on its ‘highly questionable’ claim.
The DAP delegation led by SG Lim Guan Eng visited Asli on Friday with a bouquet of white lilies for Dr Lim Teck Ghee. We even put up a little protest outside the Asli’s office besides sending in a protest note to the President of Asli, Mirzan Mahathir, for his “ unqualified, unethical and unprofessional” withdrawal of the ‘45% bumi equity’ report by CPPS under Asli.
The Chairman of the Malaysia Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls said that he too wants the Government to disclose its statistics and methodology to substantiate its claim.
A group of NGO personalities, social activists, writers and journalists put up two advertisements in the Oriental Daily on Sunday as a support to Dr Lim for standing up for the dignity and integrity of independent scholarship.
Civil rights society Aliran has come up with a statement on Saturday, asking whether the Government was unable to defend its figures on bumi equity ownership and stand by them.Aliran argues that Najib’s plea that such data should never be questioned only adds fuel to suspicion that the Government’s data was refutable.
“Any data that cannot come under public scrutiny loses validity and credibility,” Aliran said in a statement. The organization said Najib’s statement was akin to authoritarianism and would hamper efforts in creating a society capable of critical thinking. Aliran explained that public debate on the New Economic Policy was important to reassure the public that no one has been left out from the country’s development.
Earlier, before leaving for Geneva, the Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has warned Najib that his statement could only drive the debate on bumi equity and the NEP ‘underground’.
Scholar Prof Dr Khoo Kay Kim felt that the biggest casualty over the Asli debacle, which resulted in the Centre for Public Policy Studies director Dr Lim Teck Ghee’s sudden resignation on Tuesday, is the public. Khoo felt that the public is still in the dark as to Asli’s findings, which reported bumiputera corporate equity at 45 percent, instead of the official figures of 18 percent.Khoo said the situation speaks volumes on how studies that produces unfavourable results to the government, are handled.
Khoo told Malaysiakini that the government does not have the right to refuse to give out statistics. “They’re (the government) are answerable to the people. That’s what democracy is all about.” He warned that if the matter were to be left unresolved, it would result in increased difficulty for academicians to conduct their studies.Khoo added that there is a tendency for pertinent economic issues to be racialised.“That is the problem with this country. Very often, when we have a problem, it becomes a racial issue. And then you cannot proceed from there, you cannot further discuss it, because it already sensitive.”“They (politicians) should be showing better example. What’s the point of having Barisan Nasional (BN) with so many parties if they cannot discuss among themselves, and then get the public involved,” he added. Earlier, economist Dr Edmund Terence Gomez and UKM social scientist Professor Dr Abdul Rahman Embong have also wanted the EPU to disclose their statistics and methodology. Even the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik, who is a Cabinet Minister, now wants the Government to release the methodology and data used to achieved the 18.9 % figure on bumi equity ownership. Keng Yaik’s call has clearly shown that even Cabinet Ministers were not aware of how the figure was “fabricated”.