We have not become a nation of Malaysians

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the second anniversary dinner of the Pudu DAP Branch in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 3, 1970 at 7.30p.m.

Although our country achieved independence in 1957, and is a member of the United Nations, recognised internationally as a separate political, legal and geographical entity, we have not become a nation of Malaysians.

Over the years, Malaysians have felt, thought and acted more as Malays, Chinese and Indians, rather than as Malaysians.

The blunt and tragic truth is that with the passing of years, more and more Malaysians are thinking less and less in Malaysian terms, and more and more in terms of their own race.

The events of May 13 and their aftermath have further sharpened the racial lines.

Why is this so. What are the forces at work which are leading to this growing alienation among the races. If we are to build a Malaysian nation, we must be able to find these root causes of racial distrust, disharmony and antagonism, and work out solutions for them.

But first of all, we must recognize that a very grave problem exists in our country which poses a great obstacle to the building of a united Malaysian nation.

It is tragic but true that until very recently, many people, including those in authority, would not concede that such a grave problem exists.

Since 1966, the Democratic Action Party had tried to draw national attention to the grave forces at work in Malaysian society, which are strengthening the forces of disunity among the people of diverse races. But we were at first dismissed as scaremongers.

After May 13, the government admitted that it had ignored these serious problems by sweeping them under the carpet in the belief that they will disappear on their own. We were assured that the government would adopt a more positive approach to meet and solve these problems, and would henceforth not “sweep things under the carpet.”

18 months have passed since the tragic days of May 13, and I would be very much happier if I could say with sincerity that the government is really on the right tracks to build a united Malaysian nation.

We in the DAP submit that there are three prerequsities to a united Malaysian nation which must be accepted by all political parties, organizations and Malaysians if we are to succeed in our task of Malaysian nation building.

They are:

1. That Malaysia is a genuine multi-racial Malaysian nation, and that every Malaysian, regardless of his racial origin, must consciously and actively re-orient ate his thinking to be Malaysian-minded, Malaysian-centred; that every policy and action of the government, political parties and organistions should be aimed at promoting Malaysian consciousness, identity and oneness out of the diverse races, and not towards strengthening the consciousness of race; that all cultures, customs, languages and religions can find a home in Malaysia.

2. That the abolition of the economic imbalance between the haves and the have-nots and between the urban and rural areas is the paramount duty of the government and the people, and should be tackled with the greatest urgency;

3. That Malaysia shall always practice the system of parliamentary democracy, because any other system with any element of compulsion or authoritarianism can only lead to racial bloodshed and national (XXXX)

We in the DAP believe that if the people of Malaysia accept without reservation these three points as the three fundamental principles of Malaysia nation building, Malaysians of all races can look forward to a common destiny of unity, peace, prosperity and advancement.

Otherwise, Malaysians of all races can only look forward to a common future of destruction and perdition.

We in the DAP are pledged and committed to the realization of these prerequisites of Malaysian nation-building, for we want our Malaysia to succeed, survive and prosper. We call on all Malaysians of like mind to join forces to make Malaysia a country where every Malaysian can be proud of and be prepared to die for..

We are prepared to join forces with anyone, any group or any party which shares our commitment to build a united, multi-racial, democratic socialist Malaysia.