Three proposals for building a united Malaysian nation

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally in Kluang, on Sunday, 19th January 1969 at 8p.m.

One of the greatest divisive forces working against the building of a united Malaysian nation is the Alliance’s policy of bumiputraism-dividing Malaysians into ‘bumiputras’ and ‘non-bumiputras’, with connotations of first-class citizenship for the former and second-class citizenship for the latter.

Such a pernicious division not based on loyalty or birthplace but strictly on the question of race. Dr. Chen Man Hin was born in Seremban and D.R. Seenivasagam was born in Ipoh, but they are ‘non-bumiputras.’ But Syed Jaffar Albar was born in Celebes in Indonesia and Syed Hussein Al-Attas was born in Bogor in Indonesia, but they are bumiputras.

In schools already, students know that they are classified into ‘bumiputras’ and ‘non-bumiputras’, and they resent it because they know it denotes inequality, injustice and discrimination.

In other words, a whole new generation is growing up feeling aggrieved at being classified as ‘second class’ citizens, denied as ‘sons of the soil’, although they are born, bred and educated here, and are even prepared to die for the country.

Is this the way to build a nation? Or is this the way to break a nation?

It is no wonder therefore that ten years after Merdeka that the Alliance had to pass a law to compel respect to the national anthem, and to put up huge hoarding boards along the highways urging the people to respect the national anthem and the national flag, degrading these symbols of our national sovereignty to the level of cheap merchandise, like Bata shoes, cigarettes, chocolates, beer, tyres, which are similarly advertised.

The Alliance can hold any number of Solidarity Weeks, but unless it abandons its division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, no solidarity will emerge from the diverse races of Malaysia.

It is because the Alliance refuses to accept that Malaysia is a multi-racial nation, and does not belong to any one single race, that it is pursuing its present racial policy, rejecting multi-racialism and multi-lingualism.

Because the Alliance considers anything, whether language, education or culture, which is not Malay as being foreign, the Chinese, Tamil and English languages and Chinese, Tamil and English schools are being undermined and suppressed.

Unless the Alliance is forced by the people, through election, to abandon its racial policy, the Alliance will lead Malaysia to racial conflict and to the tragedy that is now facing Nigeria.

I urge the Alliance leaders to seriously reappraise its policy, and to adopt the following three proposals which will lay the firm foundation for building a united, peaceful and harmonious Malaysian nation and people:

(1) Abandon its policy of bumiputeraism, and stop classifying Malaysians into ‘bumiputras’ and ‘non-bumiputras.’ There should be no first-class and second-class citizens. Every citizen must be equal.

(2) Give official status to Chinese, Tamil English, while retaining Malay as the sole national language, by virtue of the fact that these languages have become Malaysian languages as they are used by large numbers of Malaysians.

(3) Repudiate the Abdul Rahman Talib Education Repost which seeks to close down all English, Chinese and Tamil primary, secondary schools; and adopt an integrated education system which permits such institutions like the Merdeka University.

If the Alliance government can adopt these three proposals, then t is working towards a united Malaysia nation. If not, Malaysia must disintegrate unless Alliance policies can be reversed in time by people.