Police ban in political discussions by DAP Malacca

Adjournment Speech by DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Ra’ayat on Wednesday, 12th January 1971

Police ban in political discussions by DAP Malacca

At the end of last year, DAP Malacca organised political discussions in our premises at Jalan Munshi Abdullah in Malacca town for members and supporters to heighten their political consciousness and allow an exchange of views on the political, economic and social problems in the country.

The Malacca Police however frustrated the holding of these political discussions on the ground that as these political discussions are open to non-party members of the public, we will need a police permit and the police will have the right to attend these political discussions and tape-record the proceedings.

Is there anything which is more undemocratic and authoritarian as this?

Does this mean that if DAP Malacca wants to hold a discussion on its own premises as to how to bring pressure to bear on the government to take firm and position action against the wide range of consumer goods and the scarcity of sugar directly stemming from the Finance Minister’s Budget address last week, and members of the public may take part in such private discussion, we must first of all get a police may take part in let the police tape our discussion. For such a discussion must be a political discussion, for it involves the political inability of the government to take firm action to protect the consumers against the racketeers and sugar tycoons out to make a quick fortune. In modern society, no subject can be said to be separable from politics. Every issue is rightly a political issue.

The government professes to be a democratic one, dedicated to the fostering of democracy, though Kuala Lumpur-style. The Rukunegara grandiloquently proclaims that Malaysia is pledged to build a democratic way of life. Government leaders preach piously about the need to deepen the democratic commitment of the people to defend the nation.

But at every turn, we see the government’s undemocratic, intolerant and totalitarian hand suppressing legitimate expression, assembly and organisation of public opinion and political activity.

Malaysia is becoming more and more of a police state, with Big Brother watching and policing the minds and thoughts of the people.

The government has already arbitrary powers to arrest and detain a person indefinitely without trial, without cause, as in the case of peasant leader, Hamid Tuah. It has banned discussion of so-called sensitive issues inside and outside Parliament. Now, it wants even private discussions in the premises of political parties for members and supporters to be monitored and taped by the Police.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, is this the Kuala Lumpur-style democracy the Alliance is building after May 13, 1969 – when soon enough, any group of citizens who wish to discuss national political problems even in the privacy of their homes will have to apply for Police permit first, and allow police personnel to come and tape their discussion?

Mr. Speaker Sir, let us stop paying merely lip service to democracy. Let us stop being hypocrites, “like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones.” Let us not George Orwell’s 1984 be fulfilled in Malaysia, where every action and thought is watched by Big Brother behind over your shoulder.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I call on the government to dismantle all these apparatus and paraphernalia of a police state, so that we can march forward to a democratic way of life. I call on the government to allow meaningful democratic political process, where opposition parties and members of public can have political discussions in the privacy of their premises without police interference, without Big Brother watching over the citizenry.