Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Sun versus Hwa Beng : You Decide (Round 2)!

Well, well, well. Guess what? Y.Bhg Dato Lee Hwa Beng or Mr Lee for short, must have had enough of Christians demanding answers from him on the church-operating-from-shoplots-and-factory-outlets annual permit issue. He finally decided to e-mail to the Sun to clear his name. So on 23 February 2008, he wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dato Lee <hwabeng1@streamyx.com>
Date: Feb 23, 2008 2:25 PM

The Sun
Dear Editor
I refer to the recent article that appeared in your paper quoting me that all churches need to apply for permits from MPSJ.
I wish to clarify that MPSJ has never asked any church to apply for permits. MPSJ has also not taken action against any church for having their premises in shophouses or factories. Hence there is no necessity for any churches to apply for any permits.
I hope this clarification will put to rest all the concerns on this issue.
Thank you.
Lee Hwa Beng
MPSJ Councillor

He can keep on hoping since I find his clarification as cloudy as ever. To ensure he meant what he wrote, he was quoted by the Star today as fuming mad when he said the following:

“Churches in Subang Jaya are not required to apply for permits to operate,'' said the MCA leader.

“Many Christians in the community have approached me regarding this. So I want to clarify now that as far as the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) is concerned, there is no need to apply for such permits.

“And for the 14 years that I have been sitting in the council, I have not come across any action being taken against churches if they did not apply for permits,” he added.

To ensure he appears to speak in the spirit of Muhibbah, the Star added the following:

He said this does not only apply to churches but also other places of worship like temples and mosques that operate from factories and shop houses, where they would not be disturbed.

Only Mr Lee has a say, everyone else, you get the idea...

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Avoid_weasel_words.svg

As you know, I posted a comment cum letter on his website earlier on this (it is apparently still being moderated. Tells you much about the efficiency of a MBSJ councillor huh?). You can read it here. Anyhow, I do give him credit for writing to the Sun. Yet he didn't even bother explaining how the Sun managed to get the direct quotes or demanding for an apology. Hence, to make the matter clearer, I decided to post another comment cum letter today.

Feb 23 2008: Letter to Editor
Submitted by Anonymous on 26 February 2008 - 5:46pm.
Dear Y Bhg Datuk Lee,

I refer to my earlier comment sent but not posted on your website. I applaud you for your recent action where you courageously inform the Sun they have misquoted you.

However, in your e-mail dated 23 February 2008 and your reply reported in the Star article today, you have not addressed the reason as to how the Sun managed to obtain direct quotes from you. For your ease of reference, I have reproduced the two quotes printed by the Sun in their article dated 18 February 2008.

“We have not asked them to close down, but to submit their application for permits,” said Lee, adding that such churches have to get a permit to operate from business premises.

Lee said: "If they are on their own land then there is no need for them to apply for the permits for their religious houses, but in the cases of the churches, they need to apply for the permits because they are operating from out of the shoplots in business centres and factory lots in industrial areas."

Based on your statements, it would appear you are implying the Sun pulled those quotes from the air. For the sake of clarity, could you kindly affirm that such is the case and as I have said before, could you then raise a legal suit demanding for an apology for the sake of clearing your good name?

Second, in reference to your e-mail to the Sun editor dated 23 February 2008, you mentioned MBSJ has never asked any church to apply for permits and they have not taken action against any churches for having their premises in shophouses or factories.

To ease the concerns of Christians living in areas under MBSJ jurisdiction, in your capacity as MBSJ Councillor and on behalf of both the Selangor state government and MBSJ, could you:

i) Explain why in MBSJ has proposed in their local draft plan to commence the requirement for churches to apply for annual permits to operate our of shoplots and factory permises?

ii) Assure that such proposal, i.e. requiring application for annual permit to operate churches from shophouses and factory permises, will never be considered by MBSJ?

iii) Assuming you have been elected as a member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, if such a proposal is to be raised by any local, state and federal government, would you, in your capacity as an elected representative, move a motion in Parliament to oppose and vote against such measures?

I would be glad to hear from you as soon as possible, preferably before 8 March 2008, where your Christian voters will know your view and decide on whether to cast their support of your candidacy.

Thank you.

26 February 2008

To all concerned Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat voters, we shall wait and see by 7 March 2008 to know what is his response. Otherwise, you know what to do...:)


Anonymous said...

LHB is always quick to blame that the press "misquoted" him. Always does not know what he is talking about. How can we depend on him to be the voice in the Parliment?

Anonymous said...

can i suggest that your letter written to LHB also be directed to the "Letters to the STAR editor" column?

myop101 said...


anon @ 7:28 AM: That's the prob. Do we want this kind of people in the Parliament? No backbone, afraid of accountability, quick to deny responsibility...

anon @ 8:08 AM: Er... you mean I write to the Star?

Anonymous said...

yes,write to clarify it in the STAR!. since "he was misquoted" issue was published in the STAR..

4intergrity said...

have your letter published in Malaysiakini.com
Christian voters need to be well-informed in order to cast their votes wisely!

myop101 said...


anon @ 7:40 pm:
the thing is, it is his responsibility to get his name cleared. it is not mine. besides, what good will it do to send to MSM which obviously aren't on the side of neutrality?

Also, based on professional reason, I would prefer to keep my identity private. This is something the Star require for authentication purpose if I should write to them and rightly or wrongly, I have doubts my identity will be kept private by the Star.

However, should you wish to copy my letter and send it to the Star, please do so with my blessings.

This is kind of a dilemma that I have. Am I selectively applying my standards by writing to Malaysiakini while ignoring anon @ 7:40 pm request to write to the Star?

But seeing the way MSM publishes news, I see little can be gotten if I were to write to editors of MSMs.

Ok, now that I have done explaining and somewhat comforted that Malaysiakini doesn't require full disclosure of my identity, I have decided to write to them on this.

myop101 said...

Dear 4intergrity:

I have just mailed it to the Editor of Malaysiakini. Not sure if it will be published but it is in a letter format and I summarised the issues and questions asked...:)

bayi said...

"To ensure he appears to speak in the spirit of Muhibbah..."

This spirit of Muhibbah that you speak of here is what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak".

If Lee Hwa Beng clarifies the issue according to what you have specified, he gets my vote and presumably my family's 4 votes in total. Otherwise, I see no point to vote for him even in future. In my eyes, and in the eyes of other people who see likewise, he speaks with a forked tongue.

Anonymous said...

dear choong,
your letter to malaysiakini has been published. saw it today.


myop101 said...


bayi: haha... agreed. which is why i said "In the spirit of Muhibbah". Let's vote for change! Vote for opposition...:)

anon @ 7:02 AM: wow, thanks for the info. Was busy today so didn't get to read Malaysiakini. oh yeah, that's my surname...:)