Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Dato Kramat, Penang, on Saturday, January 25, 1969 at 8p.m.
The coming general elections will be a serious test between the forces for a Malaysian Malaysia and the forces for a communal Malaysia.
We in the DAP believe that Malaysia does not belong to any one race, on language or one culture, but belongs to all the races, languages and cultures which have made Malaysia their home.
In other words, Malaysia is not a Malay country, Chinese country or Indian country, but a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural nation.
One would have thought that this concept of a Malaysian nation will be accepted by all Malaysians. Unfortunately, this is not the case. History has provided endless examples of the long struggles and great sacrifices that countless peoples had made, and are still making, just to establish simple truths; whether it be the equality of men, the freedom of the mind, or that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians and not to any one particular race.
The growing problems of Malaysia are directly the result of the failure to establish and implement the fundamental concept of a Malaysian Malaysia.
This is why Malaysia today is a deeply divided country, where there are attempts by one race, one language and one culture to dominate and suppress the other races, languages and cultures. This explains why there are influential forces in this country who treat non-Malay Malaysians as ‘non-bumiputra’ second –class citizens, whose languages, customs and cultures are un-Malaysian, foreign, subversive and therefore to be eliminated through the process of time.
The great opponent of the Malaysian Malaysia concept is the Alliance Party, which stands for the outright rejection of the concept of racial, language and cultural equality.
One would have thought that more opposition parties would have supported the Malaysian Malaysia crusade. Again, regrettably, this is not the case.
The United Democratic Party, for instance, once supported the Malaysian Malaysia crusade, and was a member of the Malaysian Solidarity Convention. After the UDP leaders have taken the party into the Gerakan, they have switched their stand and are now opposed to the Malaysian Malaysia concept.
The UDP leaders have never explained their switch of stand to the public and electorate.
For instance, in March last year, the then UDP Penang Chairman, Mr. Teh Ewe Lim, condemned the MCA for not supporting the Merdeka University project, and declared that the MCA had sold out Chinese education.
But on 3rd September, six months later, the Gerakan Chairman, Dr.Syed Hussein Alatas, in a policy statement on education, declared that the Gerakan opposed the setting up of the Merdeka University because of its “communal sentiment.”
Had the UDP or Mr. Teh Ewe Lim ever explained to the public the reason for this switch of stand on Chinese education?
If, as Mr. Teh Ewe Lim said in March las year, the MCA had sold out Chinese education by opposing the Merdeka University, has Mr. Teh Ewe Lim, the UDP and the Gerakan also now sold out Chinese education, because they are now opposed to the Merdeka University?
Again in the past, the UDP was known as a champion of Chinese language, education and culture. But today, they are disciples of the Alatas policy which decreed that:
1.Malaysian culture must be based on Malay;
2.Malaysian literature can only be written in the Malay language;
3.Multi-lingualism is a curse in Malaysia, and that there should only be a one-language policy for Malaysia.
Whatever the Gerakan’s policy, the DAP will never swerve from its Malaysian Malaysia struggle, and we will continue to press for multi-lingualism, where Chinese, Tamil, English and Malay are the four official languages in Malaysia, usable in Parliament and State Assemblies, and in government correspondence. We will continue to oppose the government’s education policy, which aims at eliminating all Chinese, Tamil and English primary, secondary schools; and support the establishment of the Merdeka University. We will continue to press for racial equality, where all citizens are equal, where there is no distinction between ‘bumiputras’ and ‘non-bumiputras’ and where there is no first-class and second-class citizenship divisions.
But whatever the differences between the DAP and the Gerakan, the DAP hopes that we can reach an electoral understanding, to prevent the split of opposition votes which can only benefit the Alliance, as happened in the recent Serdang by-election in Selangor.
The DAP has realistic target for the next general elections in Penang and Malaya. We do not propose to go on a spree for our State and
Parliamentary candidates to lose their deposits.
The 1964 General Elections is a good lesson for us. For instance, the United Democratic Party fielded 27 Parliamentary and 66 State candidates and lost deposits in 14 Parliamentary and 35 State seats. Apart from the fact that the deposit forfeitures amount to quite a sizable sum of over $15,000, it means that over 50 per cent of the UDP candidates lost so badly, they could not get even one-eighth of the total votes cast.
In the State of Penang alone, the UDP lost deposits in 8 out of the 21 state seats it contested, where it won 3.
We want an immediate answer from the Gerakan whether they want an electoral understanding or not. If they want an electoral understanding, there is no reason why we cannot get down to discussion and a decision immediately. This is why we have proposed that talks be held on Sunday, January 26 at 11a.m., where the DAP is prepared to reach full agreement.
If the Gerakan does not want an electoral understanding, it should also let us know.