The Merdeka (September) issue of 'Off The Edge' magazine covers an exclusive interview with Gerakan National Advisor Dr Lim Keng Yaik on both Gerakan and BN fortunes if UMNO is unable to reform.
In the interview, the Gerakan stalwart was asked about the book on "Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia". I would like to reproduce here some of his comments:
HKT (Ho Kay Tat): what do you think of the book that has just come out about the party?
LKY: Intellectual dishonesty.
HKT: The authors are Gerakan insiders.
LKY: Intellectual dishonesty.
It is interesting for Keng Yaik to call us 'intellectually dishonest' but at the same time send his men to run us down through text messages. One of the text messages even accused us of vilifying Keng Yaik and Tsu Koon. Does he realise that being intellectually dishonest is a double edged sword? It will destroy the writers credibility too. You do not really have to do anything against the writers. But you will certainly try to stop the book if you find that suddenly the book puts you in a critical historical perspective.
Was Keng Yaik being honest when he said that he 'fought' for the people inside the cabinet and behind closed doors? Maybe, a check with his ex-colleagues in the cabinet may reveal the truth about his contribution in the cabinet.
Keng Yaik and I had several lengthy interview sessions when I was asked to work on his political biography. He should know if I had been dishonest or not. He would still probably remember what he told me about Khairy Jamaluddin who pressed him to sack me for being critical against PM Abdullah and UMNO. He readily admitted his failure in this interview for not speaking out loud for the people.
He mentioned about the money culture in UMNO especially during general election which was a culture shock to his son. Honestly, did he pay out any money to Batu UMNO division and branch leaders?
JT (Jason Tan) In what way?
LKY: Using their position, being paid by the party, and to go against the party to promote himself. That's Khoo Kay Peng.
Here, LKY should be reminded that I was no longer attached to Sedar when working on the 3rd book. During my time in Sedar, I had completed two books commissioned by the party through Secretary General Chia Kwang Chye. Neil was brought in to edit the second book which was a historical narration of the party. We decided to collaborate on a third book, our personal work, analysing the rise and fall of non-sectarian parties in Malaysia. Gerakan was chosen as a case study because it marked the most serious attempt by a non-sectarian party to challenge a race-based coalition at that time.
LKY's response showed that there was an intentional attempt to put both Neil and myself in a bad light. Why didn't Chia Kwang Chye brief him on the deliverables or the actual situation? Both works commissioned by the party when I was still in Sedar were delivered satisfactorily. If not, the party is welcome to take a legal action against us for non-deliverable or intellectual property violation. Chia happily paid Neil for his work. I was supposed to resign before the general election but stayed back to finish the second book before I left.
Who is being dishonest?
Wrong for going against the party? Yes, this is precisely the mindset which takes the guts out of Gerakan when facing UMNO and its hegemony (using KY's own word). Readers and those interested in Gerakan's politics deserved to know what actually caused the party's downfall. Members can take a cue from its mistakes and not to repeat them again. Unfortunately, KY has chosen to get personal in his remarks.
HKT: He was a whistleblower?
LKY: Not a whistleblower. A self promoter.
Did anyone tell KY when my salary was frozen on a number of occasions when the party was angry that I criticised UMNO in my articles and for participating in the Bar Council's Walk for Justice? I was accused by Keng Yaik for UMNO's cold shoulder towards the party. Must he be reminded of what he told me?
Who told me not to use my official designation when writing articles for news portals such as Malaysiakini.com? I was allowed to continue writing as long as I was not to use my official designation. Did Koh Tsu Koon tell you about this arrangement? Now, you said I was a self promoter.
Over the last 2 years before the 8th March general election, I had given many warnings to Gerakan but they were generally brushed aside. Leaders even mocked me by saying that I was being too negative to listen to. You and your leaders wanted to be on UMNO's good book. Leaders were promoted based on their good connections with UMNO leaders.
With all honesty, dare you deny this norm?
HKT: But what about the issues that he brought up? Is there anything he has written that is not true?
LKY: Certain amount in true, certain amount is concocted.
Then, let the readers judge the book. Like I have said, intellectual dishonesty is a double edged sword. It cuts both sides.
HKT: He was the head of your think tank (Sedar).
LKY: He was not thinking for us, he was thinking for himself.
It is a shame for KY to say that I was thinking for myself. You and your leaders should be ashamed of ignoring ample of signals, warnings and reports I have submitted to you and your leaders. Who wrote some of your major speeches? Including the ones you used at the your various national delegates' conferences and Anak Malaysia Convention?
With a tiny of respect I have for you, it is now all lost. What a disgrace!