Lim Kit Siang accepts debate challenge by Dr. Naguib Alatas of Gerakan

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today (5.11.1968) issued the following statement:

I accept the challenge by the Gerakan leader, Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas, to a debate on the Gerakan’s cultural policy as expounded by him publicly before.

Dr. Alatas statement was a shocking diatribe of cheap and vulgar abuse. I do not propose to descend so low however to trade abuse and name-calling with the learned academician.

Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas seemed to have in mind more a ‘talkaton’ contest, to find out who could talk the longest, than a serious debate for him to justify and defend the Gerakan cultural policy, which he had expounded publicly before, and which I had described as a policy to Indonesianise Malaysian culture.

I do not find it necessary to have six other speakers, three more from each party, as suggested by Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas.

If, however, Dr. Syed Naguib must have the assistance, both in advice and speaking from his Gerakan colleagues at the debate, I have no objection. I am prepared to take on all comers from the Gerakan, whether Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon or Mr. V. David.

There must therefore be a modification of the procedure of the debate. After Dr. Syed Naguib and myself have made our opening statements, Dr. Syed Naguib would then wind up, followed by my winding up. During the time allocated for Dr. Syed Naguib’s winding up, Dr. Syed Naguib can ask any of the Gerakan leaders to speak on his behalf.

As the purpose of the debate is to allow the public to judge for themselves the cultural stand of both parties, the venue must be in or around town, so that the public can attend. The best places are the Chinese Assembly Hall, the MARA Auditorium or the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Dr. Syed Naguib can choose any one of them.

If none of these three venues are available, I would propose that the date of the debate be postponed to a date when one of them becomes available.

I would also suggest that the debate be held during the December holidays, so that Malaysians from other parts of the country can come to attend the debate.

To finalise details about procedures and other items, Mr. Lee Beng Cheang, Assistant Selangor DAP State Secretary, will represent me.

Mr. D.R. Seenivasagam’s chairmanship of the debate is completely acceptable to me.

Audited on 2021-03-11