Lee San Choon and Merdeka University

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Salak South Town, Bungsar, on Thursday, 13 March 1969 at 8 p.m.

I was shocked to read in today’s press that the MCA Publicity Director, Mr. Lee San Choon, had to check to quote Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan, when he is one of the main detractors of the late Sir Cheng Lock Tan’s life work and struggle.

It was Mr. Lee San Choon who said in Kuantan on May 2, 1968:”The MCA holds that the Merdeka University project is an attempt to deceive the people. It claims to be able to find an outlet for them but in fact will bring them to the end of the road. Nantah is a good example.”

From his statement in Kuantan last year, it is clear that Mr. Lee San Choon regards the Nantah and its sponsors and founders including the late Tun Sir Cheng Lock-Tan who was one of Nantah’s most eloquent advocates, as a ‘big fraud and deceit ’ on the people.

This is probably why the MCA strongly opposes the recognition of Nantah degrees, in violation of the memory of Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan’s contribution to Nantah.

But it is not only Mr. Lee San Choon who has desecrated the memory of Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan, and caused him to turn in his grave. His son Tun Tan Siew Sin, and his successors, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, Dr. Lim Swee Aun, Mr. Chua Song Lim, Mr. Chan Chong Wen, Mr. Quek Kai Dong, Mr. Siew Loong Hin, and Mr. Michael Chen, have all brought shame and dishonor to his name and memory.

Tun Tan Siew Sin and Mr. Khaw Khai Boh are fond of raising the spectre of racial misunderstanding if the Merdeka University is allowed to be establish. When the Nantah was being consequences were raised by opponents of Nantah. And it was the late Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan who scotched these criticism, and he said 15 years ago in 1953 in connection with the Nantah equally valid today in connection with the Merdeka University.

If the predecessors of Tun Tan Siew Sin and Mr. Khaw Khai Boh had their way 15 years ago, there will be no Nanyang University today, turning out thousands of graduates in the various disciplines. The question is whether there is a Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan today? If Tun Tan Siew Sin follows his father’s footstep as president of MCA, is he following his father’s footsteps as a champion for an equal and rightful place for Chinese education in Malaysian society?

I believe that the MCA is going to build a memorial for Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan. I suggest that there cannot be a more fitting memorial for Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan than for the MCA to adept the Merdeka University project as its own, and make it a success.

These will be in the true tradition of Tun Tan Cheng Lock’s life struggle.

On the contrary, if the MCA continues to wreck the Merdeka University, the MCA can build a multi-million dollar concrete memorial, but the memory and sprits of Tun Tan Cheng Lock had been violated and desecrated, and the memorial Is no more than a monstrous mockery of the Father by the son.

Before I conclude, I wish to say a few words about Mr. Lee San Choon, whose statements is full of wild utterances. When Lee San Choon says that I am “completely English-Educated” he must be thinking of his President, Tun Tan Siew Sin, who does not know a word of Chinese. If Mr. Lee believe that In am a “completely English-Educated” I invite him to a television debate in Chinese on the MCA and Chinese language education and culture.

If Mr. Lee wants to have a television debate in the English language, as we know he is a product of English secondary school, I am prepare to oblige.

But Mr. Lee should probably be more concerned about his election chances in the next elections. In 1964 general elections, Mr. Lee dare not return to his own parliamentary seat in Kluang Utara, because he has never served his voters and had never showed his face. He would have lost his deposit if he had recontested Kluang Utara.
He ran away to Segamat Selatan. Mr .Lee must now be looking for another seat to run to , because he has also failed to electorate in Segamat in the last five years.
Mr. Lee is therefore completely unfit and incompetent to be a political leader, when he had to run away from his own constituency, H should therefore talk less and do more.