Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to the Selangor DAP State Committee at Kuala Lumpur DAP Branch, 63-D Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, October 27, 1968 at 10 a.m.
The announcement by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya, Professor Ungku Aziz, two days ago to establish the University of Malaya as a centre of information and research on Malaysian affairs is welcomed and applauded by all thinking Malaysians.
Equally to be hailed is Professor Ungku Aziz’s confidence that the University could contribute to the increase of communal understanding by research and study on underlying problems and by avoiding communalistically-orientated behavior.
Under Professor Ungku Aziz’s guidance and leadership, we hope the University of Malaya will emerge out of its ivory tower and closely relate itself to the problems, struggles and aspirations of the people and country.
We have more than once called for a high-level commission of inquiry to look into the entire problem of race in Malaysia, to consider the social, educational, economic, cultural and political aspects of the problem, so as to understand and solve the race problem.
The biggest problem facing Malaysia is the race problem, because this is one issue which can cause bloodshed and national disintegration.
The Penang and North Malayan racial riots last year occurred on so serious and extensive a scale because we did not sufficiently understand the problem. After the riots, the DAP pressed for a commission of inquiry. This was turned down. All that the Alliance leaders could think of preventing a re-currence of racial riots is to form multi-racial clubs. Even this idea, the brainchild of Tunku Tan Siew Sin, was abandoned as soon as it was announced.
Since Merdeka in 1957, racial antagonism in this country has intensified, and not decreased. This is why eleven years after Merdeka, the Alliance Government had to pass a law to compel respect to the national anthem, put up huge hoarding boards all over the highways of West Malaysia to advertise the national anthem and the national flag, in the same way as commercial firms advertise groundnuts, cigarettes, shoes, tyres, singlets, shirts, beer, motor cars, etc.
Even within the University itself, racialism is become more and more of a problem. During the last elections to the University of Malaya Students’ Union Council, racialism played a part to help secure the election of some Student Councilors.
There are people who want to ignore this problem. But as a University student organ put it, this is just like closing up a volcano and sitting on top of it, while all along, the lava keeps on bubbling, until one day, an eruption takes place, destroying everything.
It is obvious that the government would not commission a full-scale inquiry or study into the problem of race in Malaysia.
The other institution best qualified to commission such a study is the University of Malaya. It will make a great contribution if the University could commission such a study, to throw light on the causes of racialism, and point out the ways and means to remove them. We therefore seriously urge Professor Ungku Aziz to give this matter serious thought. What Gunnar Myrdal did in “The American Dilemma”, which made an authoritative study of the race problem in America, Professor Ungku Aziz and the University of Malaya can do the same service to Malaysia.
Issued by the DAP Information Office,
77 Road 20/9,
Audited on 2021-02-23