Speech by DAP Secretary-general and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at the annual dinner of DAP Central Executive Committee members, DAP Members of Parliament, State Assemblymen and State officials in Bukit Bintang on Saturday, 8th April 1972 at 9 p.m.
The past year – a review
The DAP has cause to be proud of our performance in Parliament and the State Assemblies in the past year.
For both in Parliament and the State Assemblies, we have courageously stood up for the rights of the people and spoken up for the people’s aspirations for a more just, equal and more democratic Malaysia.
In the first year of Parliament, the following events are worthy of note for the DAP:
1. DAP courageously led the attack on the Constitution Amendment Bill when Parliament was reconvened in February 1971, banning certain ‘sensitive’ issues from public debate.
2. DAP’s week-long boycott of Parliament in March 1971 when DAP Members of Parliament were denied fair time to take part in parliamentary debates, particularly during the debate on the Royal Address.
3. DAP spearheaded the attack and opposition to three vital measures:
(i) The iniquitous 5% Sales Tax;
(ii) The 1972 Education (Amendment) Bill abolishing School Boards of managements and Governors;
(iii) The continued suspension of municipal, town and local council elections.
4. The DAP’s championing of the cause of the 900,000 new villagers, which forced the Government to appoint a new minister to look after new village problems. Whether this Minister really look after new village problems, I shall leave it to another occasion to talk about.
The DAP as a whole has proved that it is a party which is sincere and dedicated to our professed objectives to oppose all forms of injustice and inequality in Malaysian society, and to strive for a democratic socialist, Malaysian Malaysia.
Over the past year, many political leaders and other opposition parties have been tested and found wanting. Many opposition leaders have even betrayed basic principles which they claim to champion.
A good example are the promises of the former leaders of Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia. All the former Gerakan Ra’ayat leaders, whether Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, Mr. Yeoh Teck Chye, Mr. V. David, called on the people to vote the Gerakan and the opposition so as to deny the Alliance Party the two-thirds majority in Parliament to change the Constitution at will.
But the very first thing these great ‘defenders’ of the Constitution did when Parliament was reconvened was to provide the Alliance with the two-thirds majority to drastically change the constitution.
The DAP, on our part, has kept faith with our electorate and our election pledges.
Politically, the past year had been a year of great trial and tribulation for the DAP, – both collectively for the party and individually for the party leaders, Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen.
There was a big scheme to wreck and disrupt the DAP, because the DAP is a serious opposition party in Malaysia. High-pressured attempts to wreck the party by detention, sedition charges and other court persecutions failed to achieve their desired effect. The tactics changed and more subtle, insidious methods were used to try to exploit human weaknesses through the offer of money and other material inducements, and even offer of Ministerial posts. Realizing that DAP leaders could not be broken, attempt was made to buy them.
I am proud that the DAP leaders have been able to protect and preserve their personal and political integrity, and spurn these approaches and offers – even Ministerial offers.
Recently, the Pekemas President, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, said that “given half a chance, the top DAP leaders will be ready and willing to take the DAP into the Alliance camp” for Ministerial posts.
In actual fact, DAP had more than half a chance if we were interested in Ministerial posts. The fact that we are all intact in the DAP is best proof of our loyalty and faithfulness to the political principles of multi-racialism and democratic socialism for which the DAP stand for.
There were a few casualties among our State Assemblymen, who either for lack of political conviction, character or firm personal and political integrity, have betrayed the DAP cause.
The coming years will be even more trying than the past year, for the Alliance operators and manipulators will step up their evil campaign to try to break or buy Opposition leaders, MPs and SAs, particularly through exploitation and inflation of human weaknesses.
We in the opposition are undergoing a great test of our political convictions and integrity. But even more important, we are all individually undergoing a test of character and personal honour.
I have faith and confidence that the DAP will be able to emerge from the coming test of wits, ideas and character not only intact, but even stronger and more capable to advance the ideals of a more just and equal, more democratic Malaysia.