China Press today carried a note of apology, claiming that Chew Mei Fun did not “concretely” (emphasis mine) mention the May 13 incident throughout the [MCA Crisis Squad] function.
We misinterpreted her words, the Chinese daily said, Chew did not say,”If there is insufficient Chinese representation in the Barisan Nasional, it is not a good thing, the Chinese community cannot afford another May 13 incident.”
China Press apologized to all relevant parties.
So, what did Chew say?
“If we do not have enough representation in the Barisan Nasional, then to the Chinese community, the lesson of 1969 is sufficient. I think we cannot afford another such scenario.”
I am sorry for Ms Chew if it is indeed the China Press’ fault. However, I wonder why she did not seek correction and apology by the China Press immediately on the next day (Tueaday) after its publication (Monday)? If civil society hasn’t spoken up, would we see such clarification and apology today (Wednesday)?
China Press mentioned in the apology note that the news report has “caused Chew being condemned by some groups”. For all who have endorsed the joint statement “Say no to Spectre of May 13”, I believe that we speaking-up has sent a strong signal to any politician who tries to play with fire and monger fear.
Because Ms Chew has not clarified the China Press’ report at once, I think she still owes her electorate and the public an official response. She may accept China Press’ apology and at the same time categorically make a statement like this: “All voters can and must vote freely for whichever political party or candidate they prefer. Their safety is completely guaranteed.”
We must also read carefully into China Press’ carefully-worded clarification: “Chew Mei Fun did not “concretely” (emphasis mine) mention the May 13 incident throughout the [MCA Crisis Squad] function.”
Can Ms Chew explain to us what “the lesson of 1969” is? While it did not “concretely” mean May 13, what did it “abstractly” mean then?