Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP public rally at Dato Kramat padang in Penang on Saturday, 6th November 1971 at 10 p.m.
DAP’s role in Penang
During the May 1969 General Elections, the DAP, through an electoral understanding, helped the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia, then led by Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Mr. V. Veerappen and Mr. Yeoh Teck Chye, to capture the Penang State Government from the Alliance.
Before the general elections, the Gerakan leaders, in particular Dr. Lim Chong Eu, repeatedly declared in public their sincerity and desire for opposition unity.
But once the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia achieved power, their leaders showed their true colours about their desire for opposition unity.
Their first action was to bite the hand that fed them and helped them to power. In Perak, where the opposition could have formed a coalition opposition government if the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia had joined forces with the DAP and the PPP, the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia spurned opposition parties which had just helped it to power in Penang.
Although there is now an attempt to rewrite history, it must be stated that this decision to spurn opposition parties and to bite the hands that fed them, was not solely the decision of Dr. Lim Chong Eu. It was the collective decision of the other leaders of the Gerakan then, including Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, then Party Chairman, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, then Party Secretary-General, and Mr. V. Veerappen, then Party Treasurer.
This ungrateful attitude of biting the hands that fed them continued in the Penang state and guided the actions of the Gerakan leaders in Parliament, until they fell out among themselves.
For instance, in Penang, the Gerakan government refused to appoint a single DAP member to the Penang State Goodwill Committee. Although the committee was not important or effective, such petty action show the mentality of people like Dr. Lim Chong Eu and his erstwhile colleagues.
Hardly three years have passed since the formation of the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia. In this short period, we have seen the break-up of the Gerakan, not over differences in principles, but over a big clash of personalities.
We have also seen the true character of the Gerakan government under Dr. Lim Chong Eu, which is in essence no different from the Alliance.
We have also seen the true colours of Dr. Lim Chong Eu as a politician. The people will not easily forget his pre-1969 days, when he claimed to champion the cause of the poor, the oppressed and the suffering, when he denounced the injustices and inequalities in the country and pledged to oppose them.
But when the Alliance government proposed amending the Constitution in Parliament to ban discussion of four sensitive issues. Dr. Lim Chong Eu not only supported the amendment to the Constitution, he and his former Gerakan colleagues in the Parliament acted as Alliance spokesmen and condemned the DAP as ‘disloyal and anti-national’ for opposing the Constitution Amendment.
To Dr. Lim Chong Eu and his former colleagues, some of whom are in the newly-formed Kemas, and others who are political orphans, loyalty to the nation is equivalent to loyalty to the Alliance government.
Today, many people curse themselves for voting into power the Gerakan government of Dr. Lim Chong Eu, for there is no difference in the policies, aims and objectives of the two governments.
We must learn from the mistakes of the past, so that we will not repeat them. The DAP must learn the mistake of compromising with political opportunities and charlatans. The people must not repeat the mistake of wanting opposition unity at whatever cost, regardless of the sincerity and truthfulness of the Opposition party or leader. Otherwise, they will get ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ as the people of Penang have found out.
The days of Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia are numbered. They are living out their final days until the next elections. This is why Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakan is trying to form an unholy alliance with the Alliance Party to perpetuate their rule and power.
The DAP will provide a clean, honest, dedicated and serious political movement for the people of Penang. We will oppose all forms of injustice and inequality, and fight and topple the Gerakan-Alliance team-up Penang.
We shall work hard to form the next government of Penang, and provide the people of Penang a new brand of clean, honest, dedicated and popular government, committed to the achievement of a democratic socialist society where the poor and the suffering will get priority of help and consideration.
The DAP will also mobilise the people of Penang to join forces with the people in the other states of Malaysia to fight for a more just and equal Malaysia.