Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the Second Anniversary Dinner Celebration of the Seremban DAP Branch held at the Seremban Town Hall on Saturday, 1st February 1969 at 7p.m.
In the past ten days, the Sin Chew Jit Poh has written three editorials criticizing the DAP’s policy of multi-lingualism.
We would have welcomed these editorials if they had been genuine, sincere and constructive attempts to discuss the language question in Malaysia – which is one of the key issues in our country.
Unfortunately, this was not their intention. It is plain that the intention of the Sin Chew Jit Poh was to distort the DAP’s language stand and smear the DAP’s image and standing, in an attempt to mislead and deceive its readers about the true language policy of the DAP.
A good case in point is the latest editorial, which appeared in today’s issue of sin Chew Jit Poh. (February 1, 1969)
The crux of the Sin Chew Jit Poh attack is that the DAP, in the words of the editorial, “seeks to restore the colonial status of English, and is only reluctantly dragging in Malay, Chinese and Tamil languages.”
The Sin Chew Jit Poh editorial has deliberately and blatantly ignored our policy of multi-lingualism, which also seeks official language status for Chinese and Tamil.
The DAP wants Chinese and Tamil languages to be used and spoken in Parliament, the State Assemblies, official functions, public notices and information, and also in correspondence between the government and people.
Is the DAP’s fight to secure official status for Chinese and Tamil an attempt on the part of the DAP to revert back to the colonial times?
In the other words, is the Sin Chew Jit Poh suggesting that whoever wants the Chinese and Tamil languages recognized as official language are colonial-minded, and that Chinese and Tamil were official languages in British Malaya?
The Sin Chew Jit Poh editorials are full of similar distortions, half-truths and even downright lies. I will content myself with providing another illustration.
In today’s editorial, the Sin Chew Jit Poh said that to the DAP, Chinese language can at most only be used as media of instruction and examination in primary and secondary schools, implying that the DAP would not support Chinese as media of instruction and examination at university level.
The whole of Malaysia knows that the DAP is one of the foremost supporters of the Merdeka University project, and for the recognition of Nanyang and Formosan degrees and qualifications.
How does this reconcile with the Sin Chew Jit Poh’s accusation that the DAP would not support Chinese as a media of instruction and examination at university level?
I have said that the Sin Chew Jit Poh editorials were not interested in a fruitful and intelligent discussion of the language problem afflicting Malaysia, but only in destructive, disruptive and malicious attacks on the DAP.
The Sin Chew Jit Poh said that to the DAP, the Chinese and Tamil languages “could at most be used in Parliament, State Assemblies, in court proceedings, and as media of instruction and examination in primary and secondary schools?”
What is the Sin Chew Jit Poh’s stand on these issues? We know that today, because of the Alliance and the MCA refusal to accord equality to the Chinese language, Chinese cannot be used in Parliament, the State Assemblies, in government notices and correspondence. Furthermore, Chinese language is also not being allowed as a media of instruction and examination in primary and secondary schools. In fact, the Alliance and MCA policy is to close down all Chinese primary schools after the next general elections.
One would have thought that the Sin Chew Jit Poh would have criticized the Alliance and MCA for its language policy, which would only permit the development of one language in this country. But, no. it has never written a word of editorial against the language policy of the MCA or the Alliance. But it is writing editorial after editorial against the language policy of the DAP, which wants among other things, Chinese to be an official language in Malaysia.
The reason is clear. The Sin Chew Jit Poh is being made used of by some powerful MCA forces to attack the DAP, in the hope that the DAP’s reputation can be damaged.
If necessary, I can furnish proof that ever the months, the Sin Chew Jit Poh had been unfair in this coverage in press exchanges between the Alliance and the DAP.
We can also name names of these in the top positions in the Sin Chew Jit Poh, who are in fact MCA agents.
The recent Sin Chew Jit Poh editorials, through its distortion, bias and slant, is not only a disgrace and a grave disservice to the traditions of honest journalism, but is also indication of the growing grip which the Alliance regime is having over the editorial policy of newspapers.
We in the DAP, however, confident in the correctness of our multi-lingual policy, are prepared to take on all those who are opposed to multi-lingualism.
If the editor of Sin Chew Jit Poh is really opposed to the DAP’s policy of multi-lingualism, which seeks official status for all the four major languages, including Chinese, I challenge him to a public debate on the DAP’s policy of multi-lingualism next month after the Chinese New Year,
At the public debate, the Sin Chew Jit Poh editor can justify his opposition to the DAP’s policy to fight for Chinese, Tamil and English as official languages, and for these languages to remain as media of instruction and examination in primary, secondary and university levels of Malaysian education.
The venue can be the Chinese Assembly Hall and the chairman, person of standing to be mutually agreed between us.
This will be the best way for the public to judge for themselves the DAP’s policy of multi-lingualism, and for the Sin Chew Jit Poh editor to explain to the public his opposition.