Replies by Lim Kit Siang


In the statement entitled “GROUNDS ON WHICH THE ORDER OF DETENTION IS MADE” there are six (6) allegations of facts against me which I shall deal seriastem.

On the 27th July 1968, at a DAP public rally at Tanjong Malim, Perak, you deliberately distorted the Government policy on Education by telling your audience that the policy was designed to achieve and eventual extermination of Chinese newspapers, Chinese schools and Chinese languages. Such distortion was made by you with the deliberate intention of creating and furthering suspicion and animosity between the Chinese and the Malay in this country.

(a) I deny that there is any distortion. It is a statement of fact. The Alliance government’s policy is designed to achieve eventual extermination of all language schools, whether Chinese, English or Tamil. The Alliance wants only one type of school, know as National schools, where the sole medium of instruction and examination is in the National Language, and where schools employing Chinese, Tamil or English as media of instruction and examination are discontinued, whether at primary or secondary level. This policy was first enunciated by the 1956 Abdul Razak Report, confirmed in the 1960 Abdul Rahman Talib Review Report, both of which formed the basis of the Alliance education policy. Alliance leaders have often declared publicly their education policy that they are working eventually towards a situation where only National Schools will be the only type of schools and where all other type of schools have been eliminated.

In April 1968, the Utusan Melayu carried an article by a noted columnist, Bajang, who said one of the ways to build a Malaysian nation is to eliminate other languages. The Utusan Melayu is an influential Malay paper, and have on its board of Directors many top UMNO leaders, like the Mentri Besar of Trengganu. Enche Ghaffar Baba was also a Director. One must conclude therefore that the view points of an influential quarter of the ruling Party.

Furthermore, the language policy of the Government has led to the decline in the usage of other languages including Chinese, like public notices on railways, which in the past were multi-lingual. I do not oppose Malay as the National Language, in fact I unconditionally support it, and it is for this reason that I fully support the National Language becoming a compulsory language of study in all schools. But I do not agree in that process the continued decline in the use of other languages. I believed that the National Language can become fully national and the common national tongue without having to be accompanied by the decline in the usage of other languages. Dato Abdul Rahman Ya’acob once described the Chinese language as “Mao Tse Tung’s language” which it is no business of the Government to protect. Such an attitude with regard to other languages as un-Malaysian and therefore foreign languages, are in my view mistaken.

This comment arose out of the same Utusan Melayu article referred to in (b).
On the first allegation, I deny categorically that I had distorted Government policy

On the 24th August 1968, at a public rally at Slim River, Perak, you deliberately distorted the Government’s policy on language by telling your audience that a tourist poster with the Malay wordings “speak the National language only” clearly illustrated the one language policy of the government and that the dubbing of English, Chinese and Tamil T.V. films with Malay was unfair to the other races as their languages were not being given equal status such distortion was made by you with the deliberate intention of creating and furthering suspicion and animosity between the Chinese and the Malays in this country.

There are two statements here (a) Poster of “speak the national language only” (b) dubbing of English, Chinese and Tamil T.V. programmes into Malay.

(a) This board is put up by the Penang State Government, and is put up at the Perak/Penang State Border. It reads: “Chakap-lah Bahasa Kebangsaan Sahaja!”. The word I objected to was “sahaja”, which is asking the people not to speak other languages. This is a statement of fact, and no distortion. As for the ‘one language policy’ of the sort, this was officially confirmed by no other than Tun Abdul Razak at a UMNO Kaum ibu meeting, in 1967 or 1968. This is therefore again a fact, and no distortion.

When the first programme, ‘Samurai’ was being dubbed into Malay, sometimes in May,1968, Government spokesman states that the Government intended to give the same treatment to all programme eventually. This is again no distortion.

On the 7th September 1968, at the DAP public rally at 24 milestone, Sg. Besi road, Kuala Lumpur, and on 21st. September 1968, at Sungei Way new Village Selangor, on both these occasions you deliberately roused intense communal feelings by telling your audience that the MCA had instead of striving for the rights of the Chinese Language and Education in fact assisted the government in suppressing the Chinese Language as evidenced by the Non-recognition of Nanyang University project. The speeches are evidence of a deliberate misinterpretation of actual facts and had resulted in generating suspicion and animosity between the Malays and the Chinese in Malaysia and thereby creating a feeling of tension and racial hatred.

(1) In the 1964, General Elections campaign, a Cabinet Minister promised that after the General Elections, the Government would institute an inquiry with a view to recognize degrees of academic standing. This was not done. I did not ask for planket recognition of Nantah and Formosan degrees. In fact, I did not confine my demand to Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications but included Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern and other University degrees and qualification. The principle of recognition should be to (1) recognize those of international standing (2) to provide further training to those who do not have such qualifications.

The MCA had a first condemned, and then decided the project describing it as ‘communal’ etc. But in the last few days of the General Elections it changed its stand and gave support to the project, and even helped to secure its registration (on 8th May, two days before polling). It is a matter of opinion whether the MCA had ‘striven for the Chinese language’ to be given equal. The MCA claimed that it is the only party which can champion Chinese Language and education. Why is it wrong then to rebut this claim?

On the 29th September 1968, at the DAP public rally at Batu Pahat, Johore, on 2nd November 1968, at Lawan Kuda Bahru, Gopeng, Perak, and on 26th January 1969, at Jalan Yew, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, on these three occasions you deliberately roused intense communal feelings by telling your audience that the alliance’s policy was a “racialist policy” as the Alliance had given more privileges to Bumiputras in University education and that there were first and second class citizens – the Bumiputras being first class citizens, and that the awards of honour such as P.P.M, are not worth anything because they were given to men in the streets and that P.P.M. stands for “ PELAN PELAN MATI”. By these utterances you had deliberately distorted the actual Government policies and by doing so you had generated racial tension, hatred and disharmony in the country.

(a) Alliance claim that DAP has a racialist policy. Is this allegation open to one party only?

(b) Bumiputraism divides Malaysian into two categories of citizens. What I oppose is this division, which is based on ‘race’. Special help should be given to those who need such assistance most and the criteria should be ‘need and not ‘race’ as poverty is indivisible. Just as there are Chinese rich and Chinese poor, there are also Malay rich and Malay poor. This policy of bumiputeraism is condemned not only by me, but also by Prof, Ungku Aziz who has said:

“Bumiputraism – where Malay are made directors, contractors and capitalists- does not in any way indicate that the real income of the rural Malay is being raised, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administration, Professor Ungku Aziz, said today.
Straits Times
Was Prof.Ungku Aziz ‘generating racial tension, hatred and disharmony’?

(c) P.P.M
How can my ridicule of P.P.M generate ‘racial tension, hatred and disharmony’? This is conceivable if P.P.M are given solely to one race. P.P.M’s are given to all racial groups. It is public knowledge that P.P.M are given to many who have local notoriety. To call “P.P.M” – Pelan Pelan Mati say be disrespectful but surely not racial! and surely not a anti-security utterances! I state that in the premises there was no distortion.

1) On 12th, Feb 1969, at a DAP public rally held at Jalan Lengkongan Brunei, Kuala Lumpur, you deliberately roused intense communal feelings by telling your audience that the Government was showing discrimination between the various races in examination entry to University of Malaya, employment and in the distribution of land and that special privileges were being given to the Malays. By these utterances you deliberately distorted the Government policies and thereby causing suspicion and animosity between the various races.

I have never attacked the provision of special rights. What I attacked was its application.

I believe that Malay poverty and backwardness can be effectively resolved if there had been a dynamic education and social programme from Merdeka. Reservations about discrimination in examinations University of Malaya entrance exams, employment and land distribution on the grounds of race is wide-spread, and not the invention of DAP.

In University of Malaya entrance exams for instance there had been cases where Malay students with minimum entrance qualification were given priority than others with better qualifications. While understanding the need to make special efforts to help uplift Malay backwardness this is surely the wrong approach which create a racial resentment on the part of students excluded by such a policy and their parents and relatives. Has not this policy generated suspicion and animosity between the various race? Why is it necessary to do this? Is it because Malays as a race are more backward and have a lower I.Q than other races. I unreservedly reject ant such arguments. Biologically no race is inferior or superior. It is the environment, and education which make all the difference. The Malays in general show poorer academic results in schools because:

(1) Being mostly in rural areas, they are poorer in health and face economic hardships.
(2) Poorer school facilities and teaching standards.

As a consequence, they could not fully develop their mental potential as their urban counterparts. In consequence their academic showing are poorer. Since their primary school bas is poor, it affects their secondary school and University performances. Hence the need for difference in criteria in considering admission.

Such a policy perpetuates student resentment. It could have been avoided if the Government in 1957 had given proper emphasis and attention to the importance of education in eliminating rural poverty, and had for instance introduced compulsory primary education in rural areas with the raising of rural teaching standards. If this had been done, I have no doubt that there would have no need to have differentiating admission standards, because I am confident that the Malays, given the education economic and social opportunity can compete on as equal footing with others. Such a policy would also have avoided racial tension.

On 13th May 1969, at a public rally held at Kampong Ayer, Kota Kinabalu, you deliberately roused intense communal feelings by telling your audience that the Government was trying to have a Malay Malaysia by dividing the people into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, that “the Malays were first class Bumiputras” and that the Government was carrying out a policy of “Malaysiation” of Sabah whereby all top post were held by the Malays. You also stirred anti-Malay and anti-Islamic religious feelings by telling your audience that the Government was pursuing the policy of exploitation by Malays of other races and that the Government by holding an International Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur had intended to send Malaysian citizens to die in the Middle East in order to capture Jerusalem for the Muslim World. By this speech you had made dangerous statements of a communal nature there by fostering communal resentment fear and apprehension amongst sections of the public in Sabah.

I said this because the alliance Government do not subscribe or accept the premised of a multi-racial society. I believe that:

(a) All Malaysians, regardless of the language, origin, colour, religion or race should be equal.
(b) All languages should be allowed equal opportunity to develop and grow and not ‘one language policy’
(c) Free cultural development should be allowed where all the strands, from Chinese, Indian and Malay contributions freely mix and interest and not that “Malaysia literature must be written in Malay”(Senu Abdul Rahman) and that there are orang tumpangans.

The Government does not accept that all races must transcend their racial outlook and develop a Malaysian consciousness and outlook. The Prime Minister is on record as having stated that if the Malaysian Malaysia concept is still pushed, there will be only tombstones and graveyards instead of shop houses and places of entertainment. What does this mean? Does this not mean that the Alliance Government is out to set up a ‘Malay Malaysia? Non- Malays are urged to be Malaysians what about Malays? A Malaysian is not a Malay, nor a Chinese nor an Indian but one who acts, feels and thinks Malaysian.

I categorically deny that I had said that the Government held an International Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur to send Malaysian citizens to die in the Middle East I order to capture Jerusalem for the Muslim World. I never said such a thing.

What I did say was to criticize the Tunku’s undertaking given at the opening of the Islamic Conference where he said that the Islamic World might have to go to all lengths including a holy war, to wrest Jerusalem back for the Islamic World and that in such an eventuality Malaysia cannot but involved.

This statement implied that if there is a holy war over Jerusalem, Malaysia’s would send soldiers to help in the Islamic War.

I pointed out that Malaysia is a multi-religious nation and Malaysia’s involvement in a holy war would create religious division, and even civil war. Jerusalem is the holy city of the religions Islam. Christianity and Judaism.

I made this point to point out the danger of such an undertaking and not to stir ‘anti-Malay and anti Islamic feelings.

I am not against Islam or any religion. In fact I made this point in my speech. I made reference to this to point out the danger of imprudent actions which might create new dissension over religious grounds. This allegation is therefore a distortion of what I actually said. I first made reference to this point in a Malacca public rally about ten days before the Sabah speech. It was reported in the Malay Mail and other press. Neither Tungku nor any Alliance leader denied that the Tunku had made such a statement. I felt it my duty to point out the possible consequences. I am not against Malaysia supporting the Islamic cause on the Jerusalem question. But it is one thing to support the Islamic cause in foreign policy forums like the U.N. and a different thing altogether when the Alliance Government proceed to commit Malaysia to a line of action which will be prejudicial to religious harmony in Malaysia.

In all the six allegations, I has accused of deliberately creating and furthering racial suspicious hatred, disharmony and disunity. From the above remarks, it is clear that this is not true. In fact in almost every speech I took pains to stress that I was not advocating racial which will be detrimental to the interests of any racial linguistic or cultural group.

My every public statement and stand was motivated by my sense of Malaysian nationalism and patriotism. I was born in Malaysia and I shall die in Malaysia. I have no other land as my home. I have children who are growing up in Malaysia and who are going to live in Malaysia. I fell it is my duty to do my part to build a multi-racial and harmonious Malaysia for, without such a society, all Malaysians will suffer.

I believe that the policy followed by the Alliance is not producing or generating a sense of Malaysian consciousness and identity transcending all racial language and cultural differences. I believe that the only formula to build a Malaysian nation is to give every Malaysian regardless of his race, language or culture, a stake in the political economic social and cultural development of the country, where no group feels that ti is being discriminated against on racial, cultural, language or religious grounds. It is this philosophy which guided all my public actions and utterances.

I also believe that the Malaysian nation is going through a trauma with the tragic May, 13th disturbances and that a special effort must be made to end the great damage inflicted by the disturbances. Although the wounds of May, 13th may close, it may not heal. If this the case then May 13th disturbances is only a prelude to worse disturbances.
In this task of reconciliation of the races it will be a great mistake if the ruling part shoulders singly, or only with superficial co-operation with opposition leaders and parties who have won the confidence of the people.
In this light, I cannot accept the charge that my detention was necessary in the interest of public order. I believe I can make a contribution in the task of racial reconciliation.

Unless statementship and broadmindedness is exercised what happened on May 13th will work like acid to eat away, silently but inexorably whatever remaining inter-racial trust and goodwill still exists. But if statementship and political maturity is exercised, then the tragic events of may 13th can prove to be the shock therapy to get the various races and groups to think and act seriously about the task of developing Malaysian consciousness to replace racial appeals where Malaysian of all races are closer to each other than to their racial blood brothers in their ancestral land.

Almost at every public pronouncement I stressed my commitment to racial peace and harmony. My every action and speech was to pinpoint the fostering causes of racial antagonism so as to resolve it. I can only be guilty of racialism if a doctor diagnosing the presence of cancerous growth on a patient is guilty of causing the disease.