Mr. Khaw Kai Boh asked to explain why he opposes Merdeka University and yet supports National University

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Kampar, Perak, On Saturday, 22nd March 1969 at 8p.m.

At the opening of a MCA branch at University Gardens in Petaling Jaya last Saturday, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Mr. Khaw Kai Boh, said he would be the first to support the Merdeka University if the government would recognize the degrees and qualifications of the University.

Instead of making such dishonest statements, Mr. Khaw should be truthful and say openly he is opposed to the Merdeka University.

We all know whether the Alliance government recognize the degrees of the Merdeka University or not depends on the Alliance Cabinet, of which Mr. Khaw Kai Boh is a full member.

If Mr. Khaw and his MCA Ministerial colleagues support the Merdeka University as a worthwhile educational project, then the chances of government recognition of its degrees are bright. But if the MCA leaders are the foremost opponents of the Merdeka University, as many of them, including Tun Tan Siew Sin, Mr. Khaw Kai Boh, Mr. Lee San Choon, Mr. Quek Kai Dong, Mr. Siow Loong Hin, etc., have gone on public record on this, then the present Alliance cabinet will not support the Merdeka University project.

When the late Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan supported the Nanyang University, he did not stipulate that his support will be dependant on government recognition of its degrees? Why should Mr. Khaw Kai Boh, who claims to be one of the successors of Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan, stipulate such a condition?

Here is another proof of the betrayal of the life work of Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan by his successors and his son in the present MCA. There are people in the MCA who said that I have violated the memory of the late Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan by talking about him.

I am prepared to let the public judge as to who had actually betrayed the memory of Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan. None of the MCA leaders dared to deny that 15 years ago, Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan was one of the leading advocates for the Nanyang University, and that he dismissed as groundless criticisms that the Nantah would create racial misunderstanding. And no one in the MCA dared to dispute that if the late Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan were alive today, he would have been one of the leading supporters of the Merdeka University.

It is Mr. Khaw Kai Boh, Tun Tan Siew Sin, and others in the MCA who must search their conscience, if they still have conscience, and ask themselves why they have departed away from Tun Sir Cheng Lock Tan’s teachings in opposing the recognition of Nantah degrees and in trying to wreck the Merdeka University.

Before I conclude, I want to ask Mr. Khaw Kai Boh to explain his discriminatory stand and attitude between the Merdeka University and the National University.

The Merdeka University is primarily to allow students from the Chinese steams to continue to go up to university level. This Mr. Khaw oppose and condemn. The National University, mooted after the Merdeka University project, is primarily designed to give university outlets for students from Malay schools. This project Mr. Khaw Kai Boh and the MCA give unqualified support.

Can Mr. Khaw Kai Boh explain clearly to the public his discrimination and bias against the Merdeka University, and the favouritism for the National University?

The National University was also mooted by private sources. Now the government has pledged to give it support. Why couldn’t the same treatment be accorded to the Merdeka University?

Where is the equality of treatment to all language educational systems which the Alliance beasts so much about?

We await a clarification from Mr. Khaw Kai Boh.