The importance of the coming Ulu Selangor by-election

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the second pre-Ulu Selangor by-election rally organised by the DAP at Kuala Kubu Bahru on Sunday, 7th May 1972 at 9 p.m.

The importance of the coming Ulu Selangor by-election

Over the years, there is mounting grievance, dissatisfaction and discontent in the hearts and minds of the people over the unfair and unjust economic, social, educational and cultural policies of the Alliance Government.

Things are getting worse year by year, and the outlook of our children in getting a proper education, jobs, economic opportunities to lead a decent life as getting land for cultivation, become more and more bleak.

Last month, when the M.C.E. results of 1971 were announced, there was a Penang boy who scored eight distinctions but who yet failed to get a certificate because he failed in the compulsory Bahasa Malaysia paper.

This is not the only case. In every town throughout the country, there are students who failed the M.C.E. because of the Bahasa Malaysia although they did well in other subjects.

Comparatively, science and mathematics are the more difficult subjects than Bahasa Malaysia. There is no earthly reason, given a proper and just education system, that there should be any instance of any student, getting distinctions in mathematics and science, and yet failing in Bahasa Malaysia.

For the 1970 M.C.E. examination, 7,000 candidates failed because of Bahasa Malaysia. We do not have the figures for the 1971 M.C.E. examination, although I have asked the Minister of Education, Inche Hussein Onn, for the figure when Parliament reconvenes in two days’ time.

It is a clearly intolerable situation where every year thousands of our students are classified as M.C.E. failures because of the Bahasa Malaysia paper, and have their future wrecked and hopes ruined, especially when the M.C.E. is becoming quite a worthless price of paper in securing jobs.

Many first-graders of M.C.E. came to see me and complained that they could not get place in Form Six classes, if these first-graders cannot get Form Six places, they will never have an opportunity to go to university – although they may have the ability to undergo university education. Their future are also bleak.

These are instances of the growing deterioration of the future lives of the young generation of Malaysians, for which we must take a keen concern. In ten, fifteen of twenty years time, we will all still be in Malaysia, our younger brothers and sisters and children would have grown up, and unless we fight for them and for ourselves a just and rightful place in Malaysian society, they will all suffer grievously.

The importance of Ulu Selangor by-election lies not so much in the determination of whether the DAP or MCA wins it, but even more vital, in whether the people of Ulu Selangor can unite as one and show the Alliance Government that its political, economic, educational, social and cultural policies are rejected by the people.

If the Alliance and MCA should lose in a seat which they have traditionally regarded as a safe seat (that is why, they have in the past reserved it for pawns and puppets like Tan Sri Ong Yoke Lin and the late Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh), then the government will be compelled to re-examine their policies and abandon those to which the people are firmly opposed.

I therefore urge the people of Ulu Selangor to weigh the larger issues involved in the coming by-election seriously, and use it as an occasion to dramatise the people’s disapproval of the Alliance Government to arrest and reverse them.

I call on the people, who share our common ideals for a genuine multi-racial, more just and equal Malaysia, to actively campaign for these objectives, not for the DAP, not for our candidate, Sdr Lau Dak Kee, but for themselves and for their younger brothers and sisters, and their children, so that in ten, fifteen years’ time, we can make Malaysia a more just, equal and honourable place for our children and we ourselves to live in.