Chia Loong Thye has responded to the launch of the book on Gerakan, explaining why he wanted to stop the event. He says he is all for non-sectarian politics “but why is it not possible to discuss this issue without the need to slander another person? My complaint against the authors is just that.”
Here is his statement in full:
My action to sue the authors of the book, Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, (“the Book”) for defamation may have caused some uneasiness amongst friends and those who are actively contributing to the political writings in this country.
I believe in a robust and critical journalism and writings and the need to expand the scope and depth of the right to freedom of speech. But surely it must be done responsibly and with fairness. It must be done with dignity, professionalism and decorum, having regard to the reputation of the person or persons named in the article. One has the right to write in the name of free speech but no one has the right to slander. The offending and defamatory words in the Book as against me were absolutely baseless.
I agree that the issue of Non Sectarian Politics in Malaysia is an important issue and is very relevant in our present Malaysian politics. It is also legitimate to discuss the role of Party Gerakan in the context of Non Sectarian Politics. But why is it not possible to discuss this issue without the need to slander another person? My complaint against the authors is just that. Thus it is never my intention to stop the Forum entitled “The Future of Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia” from being carried out as scheduled today at 4pm. My purpose is to stop the launch of the Book which contains the offending and defamatory words. I urge the publishers and the authors to restrain from further publishing the offending and defamatory words in any manner whatsoever.
CHIA LOONG THYE
Date: 31st July, 2008