Extracts of a talk by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a political discussion organized by the Malacca DAP State Division held at 33A Jln. Munshi Abdullah, Malacca on Tuesday, 5th Oct. 1971 at 7.30 p.m.
Government White Paper on “The Resurgence of Armed Communism in West Malaysia”
In its White Paper on “The Resurgence of Armed Communism in the country, however, is not a military one, but a political one.
History has given us countless examples, the latest of which is Vietnam, that ideas cannot be defeated by bullets, but only by better ideas.
The only way to meet and overcome the armed communist challenge is to have a genuine democracy in the country, where every Malaysians,
regardless of race or class, will unite to help preserve the society that they cherish.
By genuine democracy, I mean a political system which gives to every Malaysian political democracy, economic democracy and cultural democracy. To bring about a genuine Malaysia, which will effectively answer the challenge of armed communism, it ill ne necessary to bring about the following changes:
i. Restoration of Parliament as the truly final legislative chamber in the country, where Members of Parliament have the full freedom to speak up and express the people’s views, fears, hopes and aspirations, and not where Parliament is merely a rubber stamp to give formal approval to policies and measures pre-determined by the ruling party.
ii. Opposition parties must be given freedom to spread its campaign and political platform, without undemocratic repressive actions by the government, as using the Internal Security Act to silence leading opposition leaders, or the use of other laws to intimidate frighten opposition leaders.
iii. Restoration of elections to Municipal, town and local councils to give the people meaningful participation in grass-roots democratic process.
iv. Democratisation of the mass media, so that the press, radio and television reflect the people’s views and opinions, and not merely be a stooge and mouthpiece of the ruling party.
i. The government must draw up and implement dynamic economic policy which is aimed at eliminating poverty and helping to uplift the standard of living of all the have-nots and the poor, regardless of race, and irrespective of whether they are in the kampongs, new villages or in urban slums.
ii. Full-employment policy. The government must aim at a full-employment economy, so that no able-bodied Malaysian will suffer deprivation, poverty and misery mot because of his unwillingness to work, but because of the defects of the economic system. The Second Malaysia Plan, for instance, does not aim at a full-employment economy. It aimed to have 300,000 unemployed by 1975, if the Plan succeeds, the figure will be very much higher if the Plan falls short of expectations. Without full-employment, it is not possible for Malaysians to live in dignity and self-respect.
iii. Land for the Landless, regardless of race, who need land to eke out a living.
Cultural democracy: Freedom for all the diverse cultures and customs in Malaysia to freely develop and interchange culture develops, which is not the imposition of one culture on others, but the product of the interaction of the best of all the cultures and customs that exist in Malaysia.
In a Malaysia with genuine democracy, where there is political, economic and cultural democracy, armed communism can have no appeal, and will on its own lose out in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
On the other hand, if with every passing day and month, Malaysians find that far from enlarging their political, economic and cultural freedoms, they are losing even those that they have, as for instance, the proposed abolition of elected Municipal, town and local councils, then the appeal of armed communism will be enhanced.
Furthermore, when the people feel that they are denied peaceful, constitutional avenues to bring about the political, economic and cultural aspirations they cherish, then they will be compelled to turn more and more to the advocates of violence.
I therefore all on the government to reappraise its entire political, economic and cultural policies, to see in what manner they have led to enhance the appeal of armed communism, and to make changes to bring the country towards a genuine democracy, where political democracy, economic democracy and cultural democracy is enjoyed by all Malaysians.
If this is the direction the country is heading, then armed communism will never pose a serious threat. Otherwise, it will become a greater and greater force, notwithstanding whatever government expenditure on arms and troops.