Speech by DAP Secretary- General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when declaring open the Exhibition on Chinese Education organized by the DAP Chinese Education Sub-Committee held at 63- D Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 4th May 1973 at 11 a.m.
DAP calls for the double entrenchment of the constitutional guarantee and right of (i) every Malaysian parent to send his child to the language-media school of his choice and (ii) the preservation and sustenance of Chinese-media schools in Malaysia, so that they will not be compulsorily converted into Bahasa Malaysia-media schools
On this day in China, fifty- four years ago a great revolution was launched which led to the transformation of the Chinese society through the attack, discrediting and discarding of outmoded and parasitize values, attitude, systems and public figures which had kept the Chinese society and masses in serfdom, politically, socially, culturally and economically.
This great social revelation, known as the May the Fourth Movement, was spearheaded by idealistic students, workers and intelligentsia who had enough of the oppression and misrule of feudalists, landlords, eunuchs and traitors.
The objective of this revolution was to break the chains of the past and lay the basis for a new age, and in this it succeeded.
In Malaysia last year, we heard calls by public figures for a mental revolution among the Chinese, of the need for a Malaysia May the Fourth movement. Great speeches and long articles were written and published in the newspaper, but they do not go beyond the stage of verbal disrrhoea. It is now merely an embarrassing episode, like its ill-fated. Predecessor of 1971, the so-called Chinese Unity Movement.
The call for mental revolution among Malaysian Chinese and a Malaysian May the Fourth Movement was doomed to failure right from the start; just as the Great May the Fourth Movement in China 54 years ago would have been doomed to failure if they had been spearheaded, not by students, workers and intelligentsia, but by the oppressor class, the feudalists, landlords, eunuchs and traitors.
What those who had called for a Malaysia May the Fourth Movement sought to achieve was not the end of the parasitic values, attitudes, systems and public personalities which hold the Malaysian people in oppression, but to entrench these parasitic elements in their place of office and profit. This was why such calls struck no chord of response from the masses. This is why such calls never took material shape.
It does not mean, however, that just because there had been people who had tried to mouth beautiful slogans to entrench and buttress their selfish places of office and profit, there is no need for the spirit of May the Fourth Movement in Malaysia.
We need youngsters, workers and students who have the idealism of service-before-self to come forward to wage the struggle for a more just and equitable economics, political, social and culture system in Malaysia.
The last few months have underlined the urgency and magnitude of the task before us. One after another in quick succession, the people were told that the Alliance Government was adamant in the refusal to accord recognition to 10,000 Malaysian who hold Nantah and Formosan degrees and qualifications; then the 14,000 students who failed the MCE because of Bahasa Malaysia despite their brilliants results in other subjects; and very recently, the steamrolling through Parliament of a Constitution Amendment Bill to abolish eight Selangor State Assembly seats to disenfranchise close to a million people in Kuala Lumpur.
Furthermore, at the recent session of Parliament, we heard an Alliance spokesman, speaking on behalf of the MNO MCA, MAC and other National Front partners, questioning the loyalty of Chinese who send their children to Chinese schools.
It is noteworthy that although some MCA branches pass resolutions regretting such statements, no single MCA Minister in Parliament had repudiated such a statement which must have been cleared by very top Alliance and MCA quarters before delivery.
Malaysia who regard this land as their home and who feel that all is not well, must courageously stand forward to join forces with other like-minded Malaysians to bring about the desired changes in society – in their own interest and the interest of their children and children’s children.
They must cease to be cowed, intimidated, timid and meek, but dare to assert their constitution and fundamental right to their legitimate place in Malaysia.
It is revealing commentary on the Alliance and MCA policies of nation-building that Malaysian Chinese who send their children to Chinese schools should be doubted in their loyalty.
Such doubting and questioning of loyalties of one section of the community by another must stop, if Malaysia is to make any painful progress towards unity and harmony.
In this connection, I call for the double entrenchment in the Malaysian Constitution of (i) the guarantee and right of every Malaysian parent to send his child to language-media school of his choice (ii) the preservation and sustenance of Chinese-media schools in Malaysia, so that they will not be compulsorily converted into Bahasa Malaysia-media schools.
If such constitutional guarantees and rights are to be entrenched into the Malaysian constitution, then all organizations, societies and political parties who support them must mobilize national public opinion towards the same common end.
This will be more useful and fruitful then to talk airily about mental revolution among Malaysian Chinese.