Statement by DAP Organising Secretary and Parliamentary Candidate for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Press Conference at 5, Joner Street, on 9th April 1969 at 10.30a.m.
The President of the MCA, Tun Tan Siew Sin, has criticized the DAP for launching its nation-wide campaign to sell 50,000 copies of the Rocket in aid of the Merdeka University.
Tun Tan also accused the DAP of trying to make the Merdeka University into a ‘political football’ and trying to use it to get votes.
First of all, let me say that if Tun Tan Cheng Lock is still alive today, and still the President of MCA, he would never make such an accusation. Tun Tan Cheng Lock would have been the first to publicly commend the DAP for joining the national support for the Merdeka University. Tun Tan Cheng Lock would have also committed the full support of himself and the MCA to the Merdeka University, just as he had done so 15 years ago when he championed the formation of the Nanyang University.
The DAP need not apologise for our support for the Merdeka University, just as we have no need to apologise for standing for justice and racial equality, for fighting corruption, incompetence and discrimination. But it is Tun Tan Siew Sin and the Mca who must explain their opposition to the Merdeka University, and their determination to destroy it. This is why up to now, the application for registration of the Merdeka University had not been approved yet, although the Tunku Abdul Rahman College, conceived by the MCA to counter the Merdeka University, had already been allowed to start classes.
Tun Tan Siew Sin blabbers about Merdeka University becoming a political issue. But we hear nothing about his worry on this score when the MCA launched the MCA College, later re-named Tunku Abdul Rahman College, and launched a nation-wide campaign among its branches and member s to collect funds from the public for the College? There is also not a murmur from Tun Tan Siew Sin when UMNO branches throughout the country came out in open support for the National University, and pledged financial support?
Why is it right for the MCA to support the Tunku Abdul Rahman College, the UMNO to support the National University, and yet wrong for the DAP to support the Merdeka University? Is there one law for Tun Tan Siew Sin and a different one for others?
Let me stress here: The Merdeka University deserves the support of all Malaysian individuals and organizations, and if the MCA still professes to be the only political party which can protect and safeguard Chinese language, education and culture, then the first thing it must do is to stop obstructing the Merdeka University, and mobilize all its members and branches to help the Merdeka University project.
For the past months, the DAP had been attacked by MCA leaders for only giving verbal support to the Merdeka University, without any concrete action. Even today’s press carried a statement by the Chairman of the MCA General Elections Committee, Dato Foo See Moi, making a similar charge. The national campaign to sell 50,000 copies of the Rocket in aid of the Merdeka University is a concrete action on the part of the DAP.
But we are accused of trying to use the University as a election issue. Clearly, to the MCA, we in the DAP can never do right. What an unreasonable of fellows! DAP calls on hawkers, hairdressers, businessmen, eating stalls, trishaw riders, and people from all walks of life to support Merdeka University with donate-to-Merdeka University campaign.
Before I conclude, I wish to touch on one point. I understand that although the people of all walks of life in Malacca, like hawkers, hair-dressers, trishaw riders, businessmen, restaurants, etc. wanted to launch donate-to-Merdeka University campaigns, they were threatened by the Alliance government and warned not to do so.
This is a branch of the fundamental right of Malaysian citizens to give support to a project of their choice, and clearly show that the Alliance government is afraid that the people will demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the majority of the people support the Merdeka University project.
I call on the people of Malacca not to be bothered about the government threats, and proceed to organise their sell-and-donate to Merdeka University campaigns, to help establish an educational institution for the sake and future for our future generations.
The Merdeka University must succeed, and never fail, or it will mark the end of Chinese language, education and culture in Malaysia.
The DAP will continue with its campaign to sell Rocket in aid of the Merdeka University in Malacca, and we hope the people will give their full support.
Similar campaigns are launched in Kuala Lumpur and Seremban, and will be extended to other parts of the country next week.