Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, at a meeting of the Perak DAP State Sub-Committee in Ipoh on Saturday, 4th Sept 1971 at 4pm
Call on eligible voters to register
During the 1969 General Elections and at the recent Bekok by-election in Johore, we noticed that the overwhelming number of youths are on the side of the DAP in the fight for a democratic socialist Malaysia.
Youths support the DAP because we dare to speak out against all forms of injustice and inequality in the country.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of them are not registered voters. We must get these unregistered voters to register, so that in the next elections, they are entitled to cast their votes and exercise their fundamental right as a citizen in helping to determine the destiny of this country.
The annual registration of voters exercise had been suspended for two years, and will resume this year. All our branches throughout the country must launch a campaign to get all Malaysian citizens above 21 years of age to register as voters.
One reason why the youths do not look to the MCA despite their latest publicity campaign of new blood and new heart, is the political dishonesty of its leaders.
A good example is the so-called Chinese Unity Movement. When the Chinese Unity Movement was launched, the sponsors claimed that it was non-partisan, above party and has absolutely nothing to do with MCA.
But the public knows from the start that the objective of the Chinese Unity Movement in the eyes of the real sponsors is none other than to revive the moribund MCA.
Now, at last, no other than the MCA president, Tun Tan Siew Sin himself has publicly admitted this in his speech to the recent MCA General Assembly, where he said:
“When I addressed a Chinese Unity rally in Penang last April, I made it clear that Chinese unity can only be expressed through a political party, and it must be clear to those who think at all that the natural vehicle for the expression of such unity must be the MCA.”
We also read in the press of a new MCA< especially with 20,000 people joining as members of the MCA in the last five months. This reminds me of the MCA membership recruitment campaign launched at the end of 1968 just before the general elections. In the 3 ½ months from Sept. 2 to Dec. 16, 1968, the MCA enrolled 52,146 new members. As the MCA Youth Leader, Mr. Lee San Choon, then proudly and rightly pointed out, the MCA’s new members in the drive alone exceeded the total Opposition membership. But this did not save the MCA from the disastrous defeats in the general elections soon after. We in the DAP do not go in for tens or hundreds of thousands of members. We are not interested in quality. The first importance to us is quality. We want members who are ideologically committed, and who are prepared to make any sacrifice to achieve a more just and equal Malaysian society. In a political movement and struggle, we must think in terms of decades, and not just of the short-term benefits. History tells us that nothing worthwhile is ever achieved in any part of the world, in all ages, without sacrifice and struggle. Those who believe in a democratic socialist Malaysia must therefore have the spirit and the stamina to wage our political struggle for decades. As it has been said by a great Asian nationalist: “Do you want the fragrance of the full-blown rose?? Then accept its thorns. Do you want the sweetness of the smiling dawn? Then live through the dark hours of the night. Do you want liberty and equality? Then you must pay the price for it. And the price for liberty and equality is sacrifice and suffering”