Letter (2) to the Prime Minister from Muar Detention Camp

Lim Kit Siang, M.P
c/o Detention Camp,
Muar, Malaysia.
14th August 1969

Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj
Prime Minister,

Dear Prime Minister,

The absence of a national dialogue in the conduct of national affairs and the formulation and implementation of national policies must be a cause of gave concern for all thinking Malaysians.

No battle for the hearts and minds of the people can be won through a diktat. Only a dialogue, a democratic and responsible debate and discussion, can ensure this.

The establishment of the Department of National Unity is a welcome indication of the government’s belated awareness of the need to take a positive approach to identify and solve the complexity of racial problems confronting Malaysia since Merdeka.

Tan Sri Gahazalie Shafie made a positive contribution when he spoke of the need for a national ideology for Malaysians. I would prefer to talk in terms of the need to evolve a Malaysian consensus on the fundamentals of nation building.

But whether it is a national ideology or a Malaysian consensus on the fundamentals of nation building, neither one can be successfully achieved if diktat replaces national dialogue as the instrument of its formulation and dissemination.

Without a national dialogue between the government and the governed, as represented by the ruling party on the one hand and the Opposition on the other, the best intentions will be self-defeating. No one wants things to be rammed down his throat.

I can think of no valid argument for the continued suspension of parliamentary democracy, and I sincerely urge an immediate return to parliamentary democracy so that a dialogue can be started.

I am writing this second letter to you also to request a meeting with you when you come to Johore in the course of your national Goodwill tour. I believe I can make some contribution to the evolution of a Malaysian consensus on the fundamentals of nation building, which will serve as the unifying force for welding the diverse races in Malaysia into one people.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
(Lim Kit Siang)