Barbed wires in the people’s hearts and minds

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a public rally held at Jalan Pekeliling, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday, 8th November 1971 at 10 p.m.

Barbed wires in the people’s hearts and minds

Barbed wires have gone up in Tanah Hitam New Village in Perak, and the country is swiftly returning to the old Emergency days.

Even more serious than the barbed wires the Alliance Government has now fenced off the Tanah Hitam New Village, and which it will put up in other New Villages in the area, however, are the ‘barbed wires’ which it has put up in the hearts and minds of the people of Malaysia, which alienate and antagonise them from the government and society, through its undemocratic and oppressive policies.

These ‘barbed wires’ in the people’s hearts and minds are the basic cause of national disunity and social unrest, and there can only be true national unity and social harmony if the Alliance government make a through reappraisal of its political, economic and social policies, and remove these ‘barbed wires’ in public minds, and pursue genuine democratic, fair and just political, economic, cultural and social policies.

Recent actions of the government have further given more ground for popular disenchantment with the democratic process.

I refer to the Alliance government’s proposed abolition of elected Municipal, town and local councils. Such a move can only drive more and more Malaysians to despair at the democratic process, and to find more attractive the appeals of those who advocate that social, economic and political justice in Malaysia can only be achieved through a violent struggle.

Another example is the 20-year-old neglect of the 750,000 new villagers in Malaysia. For 20 years, the 750,000 new villagers were left to their own devices to eke out a living, without government help or concern.

I recently wrote to the Prime Minister proposing the establishment of a special government department to take special charge to formulate and implement policies and programmes which will give the 750,000 new villagers a new economic future.

The DAP regard the preparedness or otherwise of the Alliance government to set up a special department to plan the economic and social upliftment of the 400 new villagers in the country as a test of the government sincerity in wanting to implement the Second Malaysia Plan objective to ‘eradicate poverty irrespective of race and to create a just and equitable society.’

If the Alliance genuinely want to create a united, strong and harmonious Malaysia, then it must immediately take steps to remove the people’s discontents, frustrations and grievances.

Remove the ‘barbed wires’ in the people’s hearts and minds, and there will be no need to put up barbed wires round Tanah Hitam New Village or any other area.