Lim Kit Siang replies to Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement (1.11.68):

At the Gerakan public rally in Seremban last Saturday, Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas said he did not understand the meaning of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ as advocated by the DAP.

This is a real surprise. If it is true that Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas does not understand the meaning of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’, then the learned doctor needs more political education than I thought.

I suggest Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas ask his present Gerakan colleague, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, as to the meaning of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’, as Dr. Lim Chong Eu was once, with his now defunct-United Democratic Party, in the Malaysian Solidarity Convention in 1965 which launched the ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ campaign.

If Dr. Lim Chong Eu is unable to enlighten Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas, I am prepared to explain the meaning of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ to him at any public forum he cares to arrange.

Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas accused me of distorting his cultural stand in a speech I made nearly two months ago.

I feel sorry that Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas lacks the conviction to stand up for what he had said on the issue of Malaysian culture, and that he should choose to accuse me of distorting him.

I said Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas was trying to bring about an Indonesian Malaysia culturally, and I stand by it.

In a University of Malaya forum in July this year on “Eastern and Western Literature: Their contribution to the development of Malaysian Literature”, Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas was reported in the press as declaring that Malaysian literature should be written in Malay, and that Malaysian literature should include Indonesian literature.

In August, Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas reiterated in another press interview that Malaysian culture must be based on Malay, and that he could not conceive of a Malaysian literature in any language except Malay.

These are on public record. He can retract these statements, but it ill becomes a learned doctor for making a false charge against me just for pointing out what he had said publicly.

From the two public statements on culture by Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas, it is clear that he and the Gerakan have no place for Chinese, Tamil and English languages, writings and contributions to Malaysian literature and culture.

He would however accept Indonesian writings as Malaysian literature, even if they were writings by Sukarno-followers who wanted to swallow up Malaysia in a Melayu Raya.

If this is not an attempt to Indonesianise Malaysia, what is? No wonder Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas does not understand the concept of Malaysian Malaysia!

If Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas wants to have a public debate to justify his cultural stand, as he said at the Seremban public rally, he can name the place, date and time, and I shall try to oblige.

(Lim Kit Siang)
Organising Secretary

Issued by DAP Information Office,
77 Road 20/9,
Paramount Garden,
Petaling Jaya. Tel: 563377

Press Release by Dr. Syed Naguib al-Attas, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Acts, University of Malaya, Member of Central Committee, Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia on 4th November 1968

1. At the Parti Gerakan Rakyat Rally on the night of October 26, 1968 in the People’s Park, Templer Road, Seremban, I referred to Mr. Lim Kit Siang’s distortion of what I said on the night of July 10, 1968 in a Forum held at the University of Malaya, Faculty of Arts, Kuala Lumpur.

2. This vulgar and mediocre distortion of my ideas, which I expounded as an academician, appeared in the September 20 – October 20 issue of Opinion, volume 1, no. 12, pp. 169-70. Indeed even in the foolish art of distortion, there ought to be some refinement, some finesse; but when fools distort, they remind me of the crab – groping and creeping about perversely and futilely, that I laugh with pity at the attempt. To quote a Chinese proverb, with reference to Mr. Lim Kit Siang’s efforts to provoke some response from me: ‘I look indifferently at you, as at a crab, wondering how long you will be able to carry on your perverse practices.’

3. My reprimand on Mr. Lim Kit Siang’s perverse and foolish attempt at preventing a resume of Gerakan’s cultural policy based on my talk at the University, was reported in the Tamil Nesan issue of October 30, 1968, couched in the form of a challenge to the Organizing Secretary of the Democratic Action Party – and, indeed, to the DAP as a confused company of futile clowns disguised as politicians – to come and receive a tutorial on the subject of Malaysian literature and culture direct from me. One does not challenge crabs – but in this case the boiling pot is ready, and it is not so much a challenge as an invitation to Mr. Lim and other members of the DAP leadership to the steamed. I am therefore pleased to spare some time to give Mr. Lim Kit Siang a tast of a debate with me and the Gerakan, and to give him a chance of a last scream.

4. Since Mr. Lim has, both in the Tamil Nesan of October 31, 1968 and in the Eastern Sun of November 2, 1968 accepted unconditionally to meet me publicly at any time and place, I suggest that he prepare himself most diligently to meet me publicly at Kuala Lumpur (exact placed to be announced in due course) on November 24, 1968 at 10.00 a.m.

5. Since other leaders of the Gerakan are also mentioned in his article in Opinion, which purports to ‘attack’ our cultural policy, I suggest that he bring with him the entire tribe of highly strung political nomads that constitute the DAP leadership to support him, for I as well as the other Gerakan leaders mentioned by him are going to be there to drive the whole tribe to it proper breeding grounds.

6. I suggest that the Chairman be Mr. D. R. Seenivasagam, M.P., whose consent we have already obtained – subject, of course, to Mr. Lim’s agreement. The procedure to be adopted in our debate on November 24th is as follows:

  1. Since Mr. Lim has attacked me first, I have the right of reply and shall speak first for 1 hour;
  2. Mr. Lim may then defend himself for 1 hour;
  3. Three of my colleagues, leaders of the Gerakan, will each have his say for half an hour each;
  4. Dr. Chen Mun Him, Mr. Goh Hock Guan, and Mr. C. V. Devan Nair, will each have half an hour to try to defend themselves.

7. Since Mr. Lim has not grasped the grapes I offered, he called them sour. On the day of the debate, let the DAP leaders come in force and do not disappoint us, like that other fox who has as yet to meet our Chairman’s challenge on the subject of Higher Education – even if it be in a telephone booth!

(Dr. Syed Naguid al-Attas)
Senior Lecturer,
Faculty of Acts,
University of Malaya,
Member of the Central Committee,
Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia.

Audited on 2021-03-05