Call on Alliance puppet government of Dr. Lim Chong Eu to resign and hold fresh State general elections

Speech by DAP Malacca State Chairman and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally in Penang at the Esplanade on Sunday, 5th September 1971 at 8pm

Call on Alliance puppet government of Dr. Lim Chong Eu to resign and hold fresh State general elections

In October last year, during my last visit to Penang, I had occasion to describe the Gerakan government of Dr. Lim Chong Eu as “more Alliance than the Alliance” in its complete disregard of the suffering and hardship of the ordinary people, its high-handed treatment of Opposition views and those who fall victim to its policies and measures.

Today, about a year later, there has been deterioration in the character of the Gerakan Government in Penang. It has become an Alliance puppet government, completely at the mercy of the four UMNO State Assemblymen in Penang.

This is because of the internal defection in the party, Dr Lim Chong Eu’s government has become a minority government. To continue in power, it has mortgaged the power of Penang rule to the Alliance in exchange for the form and appearance of Penang State government.

When the people of Penang voted for an Opposition party into power in May 1969, they had enough of the past ten years of Alliance misrule, incompetence and inefficiency, and wanted a complete break with the Alliance past. They wanted a new government which is clean, honest and efficient, halt the economic decline in Penang and put the interests of the poor and lowly men in the street above all other interests.

Gerakan leaders like Dr, Syen Hussein Alatas, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Mr. Yeoh Teck Chye, Mr. V.David, Mr. Veerapan, promised the Penang people to put their trust and confidence on Dr. Lim Chong Eu and other Gerakan candidates, who will provide them with a new brand of government.

Where are these people like Dr. Alatas, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Mr. Yeoh Teck Chye, Mr. V.David, and Mr. Veerapan now? Have they discharged their election promise that they will give the people of Penang a new government, a new hope?

It must be a reflection of the political acumen, intelligence and ability that these very men are now not even in the Gerakan.

They have quarreled with Dr Lim Chong Eu, not really because of Penang rule and policies, but because of a big clash of personalities.

The Gerakan failed because although it started off with great fanfare and had many big ‘names’, it was not a political movement with people committed to a set of political principles.

The Gerakan was a mass wedding of a hotch-potch of politicians excited by the scent of the 1969 General Elections. Although they claim to be united on some political principles, in actual fact, no political principle unite them. The only factor that unites them is the opportunity to make use of one another to get elected.

I will just give an illustration to show the opportunistic nature of the Gerakan party throughout its two short years of life.

In October 1968, the DAP had a marathon ‘cultural’ debate with the Gerakan at the MARA Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur on the meaning of Malaysian culture. The Gerakan leaders held that Malaysian culture must be basically Malay culture, and that Malaysian literature can only be literature written in Bahasa Malaysia, and that literature written by Malaysians in other languages are ‘foreign’.

The Gerakan was represented in the debate by Dr. Naguib Alatas, Dr. A. Peters, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon and Dr. Lim Chong Eu. Where are they now? They have gone four separate ways!

Dr. Naguib Alatas resigned from the Gerakan and is now with the National University. Dr. Peters, angry at not given the candidature at Teluk Anson in the 1969 general elections, is now an Alliance Direct member. Dr. Tan Chee Khoon is without a Party. Only Dr. Lim Chong Eu is in the Gerakan.

In contrast, all the four who represented the DAP in the debate, namely Sdr Goh Hock Guan, Sdr Fan Yew Teng, Sdr Ernest Devadason and myself, are all still in the DAP.

This is the difference between a serious political movement and a political circus.

In 1968, there was a proposal that the DAP dissolve itself and together with people like Dr. Alatas, Dr Tan Chee Khoon, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Mr. David and others from a Great Opposition to fight the Alliance in the 1969 general elections.

There is no doubt that this was what the people generally wanted because they wanted a stronger Opposition to fight the Alliance.

But the DAP leaders, after serious consideration, rejected the proposal because we were not convinced that all of them were serious political leaders, with firm political convictions.

If we had agreed to the proposal in 1968, though we would have got a few more Parliamentary and State seats in the 1969 general elections, the DAP or the new Opposition party in its place would have split into four or five ways.

In the end, the Opposition would have become more discredited and ineffective.

This is an example where a political party must be able to differentiate between short-term and long-term interests of the movement and the country.

Dr. Lim Chong Eu’s Penang government has lost its mandate to rule. It has failed to live up to its pledge to give the people of Penang a new, effective, clean and competent government. It has on the contrary, become a puppet government of the Alliance.

I therefore call on Dr. Lim Chong Eu’s government to resign and hold fresh State General Elections, and let the mandate go back to the people.

If Dr. Lim Chong Eu and his colleagues are honourable men, this is the only honourable way out for them. We shall sew whether they are men who have some minimum political principles, or whether they will cling to power, even if it means selling out every shred of political and human self-respect.