Why the MCA continue to be rejected by the people

Excerpts of Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at DAP Public Rally at Ayer Itam, Penang, on Sunday, 3rd September 1972 at 10 p.m.

Why the MCA continue to be rejected by the people

The speech by the MCA President, Tun Tan Siew Sin, to MCA Annual Assembly in Kuala Lumpur yesterday make interesting reading – for its confession of failure, political trickery and the MCA attitude to politics.

The main point Tun Tan made was that the MCA was the only party which could champion the Chinese interests in the country, and that if the MCA is to be effective in this task, the people of Chinese descent should given unstinted support and loyalty to the MCA.

As Tun Tan put it: “The real question is, ‘Will the Chinese stand firmly behind us in our endeavours?’ If they do, they need not fear for their future.”

Tun Tan forgot that the MCA is a political party which had been tested by the people and found wanting. In 1959 and in 1964, the MCA was given popular support, with the overwhelming majority of its Parliamentary and State Assembly candidates elected into the various legislative bodies. But MCA leaders, Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen have consistently proved over the years that they are in politics not for high ideals or to relieve the suffering, discontent and grievances of the people, but merely to secure a passport for self-advancement and the acquisition of wealth, office and status.

This was why in 1969 General Elections, the people solidly repudiated the MCA candidates.

The performance of the MCA leaders, MPs and the State Assemblymen in the last two years have not shown any change in their political philosophy – which is to serve oneself to the utter disregard of public interest.

Thus, although for the last two years the MCA boasted about a new leadership, new blood, new style, new commitment, it had failed miserably to champion the issues which the people feel very strongly about it. The people will not forget or forgive the MCA’s full support in the last two years to a host of unpopular measures, like the amendment of the Malaysian Constitution to ban discussion of certain issues classified as ‘ sensitive’; the amendment of the 1961 Education Act to abolish Boards of Governors and Managements of Chinese Schools; the murder of elected Municipal, town and local councils; the MCA’s responsibility in the shocking drop in the quality of education in Malaysian schools where every year, 50 per cent of our students do not know what they are learning about; the iniquitous and unfair imposition of the 5 % Sales Tax.

On each and every one of these issues, the MCA stood against the tide of public opinion.

One would have thought that if Tun Tan Siew Sin genuinely thinks that the MCA is the salvation of the Chinese in this country, then the MCA must prove that it deserves Chinese support, through its actions and policies. Furthermore, Tun Tan himself, as MCA president, should prove that his political base is derived from Chinese support. It is therefore strange that Tun Tan Siew Sin, in his public life, had never dared to stand in a predominantly Chinese constituency but had at every elections gone to stand in a predominantly Malay constituency. This is not because Tun Tan wants to illustrate that he can get Malay votes, but because he knows that if he stands in a predominantly Chinese constituency, he would be ignominiously trounced and repudiated.

One part of this speech which was most revealing was his confession for the first time that when the ill- fated Chinese Unity Movement was launched last year, the entire intention was to use it as a stalking-horse to regain MCA’s political support.

As Tun Tan said: “The Chinese Unity movement never fizzled out because it was from the very beginning agreed that it would eventually have to be taken over by the MCA.”

The people of Malaysia still remember that when the Chinese Unity Movement was formed, many of its sponsors including Mr. Alex Lee had publicly gone on record that it was above party politics, and was not to be made the tool of any political party.

Nobody believed him them. Now Tun Tan has openly admitted that the entire Chinese Unity Movement was a MCA political trick to deceive the people. I would like to know what the non-MCA members of the 10-man pro-tem Committee of the ill-fated Chinese Unity Movement has to say to the people and country.

But even more revealing of the political attitude and thinking of MCA is Tun Tan’s statement that the people must have trust on the leaders of the Alliance – i.e. Tun Razak, Tun Ismail, Tun Tan and Tun Sambanthan, for on the top they have close understanding and can solve problems.

Tun Tan still lives in the feudal age, thinking that politics is the prerogative of four or five persons, who can decide the destiny of the entire people and nation. Tun Tan wants the people to put their entire future in his hands – and ask no questions. He is not interested in the views of the people, whether it is about Constitution Amendment Act, Chinese School Board of Governors, the future of Chinese schools, or the 5 % Sales Tax.

The people have shown in 1969 that they repudiate their feudal political thinking. The people want to decide their own political future, and do not trust three or four persons to bind them for generations to come.