KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — A 64-year-old man claiming he was in the vicinity of the former Selangor mentri besar’s home during the May 1969 racial riots came out today to refute allegations that DAP’s Lim Kit Siang had urinated on a flagpole inside the residential compound and perpetrated the bloody incident.Ahmad Habib, who made a surprise appearance at a press conference with Lim this morning, told reporters that based on his memory of the residence’s layout, it would have been “impossible” for the politician to have survived committing the offensive act.
“On any normal day, I believe no unauthorised person would have been able to enter the compound, let alone do some funny business like urinating on a flagpole. It would be practically impossible.
“If a person tries to do this, I do not think he would have gotten away scot-free… he would have been arrested, hurt or even killed,” the father of two told the press conference.
Ahmad was speaking today in support of Lim’s denial that he had even been present in Kuala Lumpur when the May riots took place in 1969.The issue was raised earlier this year following reports that the controversial movie “Tanda Putera”, to be released this November, on the re-telling of the May 1969 incident features a scene depicting Lim as having urinated on a flagpole of the then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Harun Idris’s residence.
An administrator of filmmaker Pesona Pictures’ Facebook fan page had posted a photograph of Lim being “manhandled”, with a caption asserting it was taken after the opposition leader allegedly urinated on the flagpole.
On August 15, the film’s director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba denied reports that the movie features such a scene but Lim immediately refuted the latter, pointing out that the photograph on Facebook “was posted in the album in the ‘Tanda Putera’ Facebook titled ‘Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini’ (Events depicted in this movie).”
Lim has also denied that the Facebook photograph of him was taken in 1969, claiming instead that it was a picture of him at the Kota Kinabalu airport in 1984 when he was denied entry into the state by immigration authorities.
At today’s press conference, Ahmad explained that he happened to be within the vicinity of the Selangor mentri besar’s residence on May 13 “by accident”, and had taken refuge for some 10 hours in an unknown individual’s house for some 10 hours when the bloody clashes erupted.
Ahmad explained that he happened to be within the vicinity of the Selangor mentri besar’s residence on May 13 “by accident”, and had taken refuge for some 10 hours in an unknown individual’s house for some 10 hours when the bloody clashes erupted.
He said that after the police declared that it was safe to return to the streets in the early hours of May 14, he had walked some 200 metres from Lorong Raja Uda 1 to Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz where the mentri besar’s house was located.
“There were a lot of people there. It was a huge compound. From inside, we saw the setting of the house. It was fully fenced and there was a guardhouse there. So I presume that with the guardhouse, there would definitely be someone manning this place,” he said.
Ahmad said the distance from the gate of the mentri besar’s home to the flagpole was some 20 metres, repeating that it would not have been possible for Lim to have traversed the distance just to urinate on the flagpole.
The businessman stressed to reporters that his decision today to debunk the incident was not for political reasons.
“I read about the incident on Malaysiakini that he (Lim) was accused of urinating at the flagpole. I was there at the house so I know the situation at the house and I know that this is not correct.
“As a responsible citizen, I have a duty to set the record straight,” he said.
Ahmad admitted that he had no proof of his presence inside the mentri besar’s home that day but insisted that there were many others who had been there at the time who could likely confirm his memory of the compound’s layout.
Lim later told the press conference that his lawyers were still in the process of preparing his defamation suit against the filmmakers of “Tanda Putera”.
He also urged more eyewitnesses who were at the Selangor mentri besar’s house on May 13 to come forward with their accounts of the incident.
Kit Siang: Witness clears me of May 13 incident
“And at the time of the incident, not a single Chinese was in the vicinity of the menteri besar’s residence,” said Ahmad at a DAP press conference today.
The controversy started when the official Facebook promoting director Shuhaimi Baba’s film posted a photograph of Lim, with captions claiming that he had urinated on a flag pole at the MB’s residence.
The posting said that this was amongst the scenes “that truly took place” that will be included in Tanda Putera.
The posting was deleted after the comments caused an uproar.
Pissing on flagpole: Witness clears Kit Siang
A May 13 bystander defended Lim Kit Siang, saying that there is no way the DAP leader could have provoked the racial riots.
He was referring to a claim allegedly made by the creators of “Tanda Putera” that Lim had supposedly urinated on a flagpole bearing the Selangor flag on that day.
The flagpole was said to have been in the then Selangor menteri besar Harun Idris’s house, and the act supposedly was portrayed in the film.
Backed by Lim, property businessman Ahmad Habib, 64, told reporters today that it was impossible for Lim to have entered Harun’s house to commit this act.
He said the MB’s house was not only fully fenced, but was guarded; which would have made it difficult for Lim to enter the compound.
“If a person tried to do this then, he would have gotten arrested or killed,” he said, asking why this act was not reported 43 years ago.
Ahmad said that he was a Mara (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) student, who happened to be in the area by accident, when all hell broke loose that day.
He said that he and a few friends had taken refuge in a nearby house, before getting word that the police announced that they wanted to evacuate people in the area.
They were told that the Selangor MB’s house was a rendezvous point. Upon his arrival there, Ahmad was able to see what the compound was like for himself.
‘Not in KL then’
According to Lim, Ahmad first came to his attention after he commented on a Malaysiakini page, disputing claims that the DAP chief was there.
Lim also cited an account by then Umno Youth member Ahmad Mustapha Hassan, who said that there was no way Lim could have urinated on the flagpole.
In a Malaysian Insider report, Ahmad wrote: “The whole area was dominated by Umno Youth members and no non-Malay could enter the place.”
“It was impossible for Lim to be there and did what he was purportedly accused of. If he did, he would have been killed by the mob.”
Lim added that he was not even in Kuala Lumpur from May 11 to 13.
It was not known if the urinating scene was shown in the film. This had not stopped Lim from calling his lawyers over the matter, in an attempt to sue the film-makers.