PETALING JAYA: Lim Kit Siang has challenged the prime minister or any senior Umno leader to a debate on the topic of patriotism.
He said this in response to a blog post by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak today which Lim said ridicules those who consider themselves as patriots.
The DAP Parliamentary leader said he and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad are patriots on a mission to save Malaysia, while the Umno/BN leadership in Putrajaya need to grow with the times to lead Malaysia towards an era of more mature and Malaysian politics.
“Salleh thought he was very clever and wrote a blog post ridiculing those who claim themselves as patriots, citing for example that ‘most historians agree that Adolf Hitler was a patriot, and 100 million people died because of this’.
“I am prepared to take part in a public debate with the prime minister or any senior Umno leader on ‘Who is a Malaysian Patriot’ or ‘What are the challenges of a Malaysian Patriot in 2017’,” Lim said in a statement released today.
“If Salleh, as communications and multimedia minister, dares to organise such a public debate, I would accept the challenge without hesitation.”
The Gelang Patah MP then alluded to a comedy show in Singapore which recently poked fun at Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying it was symptomatic of Malaysia’s reputation today as the “Sick Man of Southeast Asia”.
Lim said true patriots would not allow the country’s reputation to be sullied referring to the world’s attention being on Malaysia due to the multi-billion dollar money-laundering scandal linked to the state-owned investment firm, 1MDB.
He also continued to criticise Umno and Utusan Malaysia for criticising and mocking former Umno leaders, including Mahathir and former Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, just because they have left the party and are now part of the opposition.
“Umno leaders can disagree with their former Umno presidents and deputy presidents, but they should not malign their character as if Umno leaders, once they relinquish their positions, become morally worthless characters. Are they reflecting on their own moral character and worth?
“Clearly, I have more faith and respect for the Malay race than the present Umno ministers and leaders, or the Utusan Malaysia,” Lim said.