Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Johore DAP State tea-party held at Kluang DAP Branch premises on Saturday, October 2 1971 at 6 p.m. to make the first anniversary of Lim Kit Siang’s release from political detention.
The true counter to communism in Malaysia is a genuine democracy
The Deputy Prime Minister, Tun (Dr.) Ismail bin Dato Abdul Rahman, said in Ipoh yesterday that there are three groups of people on the side of the communists:
i. those who are threatened or forced to help the communists;
ii. those who side the communists because they are discontented with the democratic process or certain ills of government; and
iii. the die-hard communists.
Tun (Dr.) Ismail is right when he said that it is important to try to win back the confidence of those in categories one and two.
Unfortunately, the government’s policies and measures of the recent past do not show that it is aimed at regaining the confidence of the people who have lost confidence in the democratic process. On the contrary, many of the government’s policies and measures are calculated to drive more Malaysians youths into the politics of despair and violence, by reinforcing their belief that democracy in Malaysia is a hollow thing.
History furnishes us countless examples, the most recent of which is Vietnam, that ideas cannot be fought and defeated by bullets. Ideas can only be defeated by better ideas.
In the same way, the only true counter to militant communism in Malaysia is not by arms and curfews, but by having a genuine democracy which marshals the support, confidence and loyalty of all Malaysians.
I therefore call on the Alliance government to build a truly democratic Malaysia if the communist challenge is to be defeated.
Such a true democratic Malaysia must have the three important elements of political democracy, economic democracy and cultural democracy.
Political democracy. This must include the following:
i. Parliament must be restored its supreme position as the highest legislative assembly, where Members of Parliament have full right to express the people’s views, hopes and fears, and not a mere rubber stamp to give approval to pre-determined government measures.
ii. Opposition parties given full liberty to organise and publicise its programme and platform, without undemocratic government measures like arrest without trial under the Internal Security Act or other harassment campaigns like court prosecutions.
iii. Democratisation of the mass media, so that the press, radio and television can reflect the people and the nation’s views, and not be merely a stooge and mouthpiece of the ruling party.
iv. Restore to the people their basic democratic rights, as elections to Municipal, town and local councils to ensure the continued existence and growth of grass-roots democracy.
i. All poor, regardless of race, should be assisted by government to load a new life, whether it be the poor of kampongs, new villages or urban slums.
ii. A full-employment policy so that no Malaysia will be out of work, in distress and penury, through no fault of his own.
iii. A repeal of all the existing anti-labour laws and enactment in their place of labour legislation which can protest and advance the interest of workers.
iv. Granting of land to all landless.
Cultural democracy: All cultures in Malaysia allowed to freely develop and interchange, so that a Malaysian culture will grow out of a synthesis of the free interaction of the different cultures and customs in the country.
If there is true political, economic and cultural democracy, then the problem of militant communism will disappear by itself. If there is no true democracy, then more and more Malaysians may look towards the militant communists for support and succor.