Speech by DAP Secretary-General and member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr.Lim Kit Siang, at the Fifth Anniversary Reception of the Batu Pahat DAP Branch at Chuen Hian Tin on Saturday, 4th August 1973 at 8p.m.
Call on the Alliance Government to take more positive measures in economic, educational, political and cultural fields to prove its dedication to a multi-racial society
In his last speech, the late Tun Dr.Ismail told the silver jubilee celebrations of the Federation of Malay Students Union that Government had always taken into consideration the “multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious” character of the nation when formulating its policies.
The late Dr.Ismail had touched on the crux of the problem of nation building in Malaysia, for the key to the survival of Malaysia as a nation and as a people will depend on whether Malaysia is developed strictly along multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious lines.
Malaysia does not belong to any one racial, religious or cultural group, and any attempt to achieve this end must lead to national tragedy.
There is an urgent need for the government to conduct a thorough reappraisal of its economic, educational, cultural and political policies to ensure that their formulation and implementation are strictly in accord with the multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious character of Malaysia.
It is because there had been lapses, and in some instances very grave lapses, from this multi-racial standard that in recent years, considerable unhappiness, frustration and resentment had been built up among significant sections of the people.
A good example was the recent controversy over the sending of a non-Chinese-literate principal to a Chinese primary school in Kampung Bercham in Perak. A scrupulous regard and respect for the multi-racial, multi-cultural character of Malaysia will never allow such an incident to take place.
The Ministry of Education owes it to the multi-racial character of Malaysia to give a categorical assurance that it is not the policy of the Alliance Government to send as principals to Chinese primary schools persons not literate in Chinese; and that it is not the policy of the Alliance Government to compel the conversion of all Chinese primary schools into national primary schools.
Another serious lapse from this standard of multi-racial character of Malaysia is the refusal of the Ministry of Education to publish the Murad Report on Drop-outs in Chinese and Tamil.
I had raised this matter in Parliament, and was in fact accused of disloyalty for making the suggestion.
The problems of school drop-outs are a national problem, affecting school children of all races and language-media schools. It is obvious that unless the Murad Report on School Drop-outs are easily made available in Chinese and Tamil, it would be impossible for Chinese and Tamil school teachers and parents to take part in finding ways of solving this grave socio-economic problem.
It will be possible to give a long list of other examples. There is a grave need for the government to review to the whole range of governmental policies in the political, economic, educational and cultural fields to ensure that they truly confirm with the multi-racial character of Malaysia.
National front politics a failure
National front politics, where the Alliance induced opposition parties like the Parti Gerakan, the PPP and the SUPP, and other individual Opposition officials, to betray their political struggle for a seat and place in the corridor of power has failed to solve the basic aspirations and wishes of the people.
Those in the Opposition who in the last three years had soullessly betrayed the people’s trust will be relegated to the dustbins of history at the next general elections.
If the Government wants to win the hearts and minds of the people, then it must ascertain the people’s legitimate political, economic, educational and cultural needs and fulfill them in the context of a multi-racial Malaysian society.
What Malaysia sorely needs today are men who are prepared to stand firmly on their political principles, however long the struggle or great the pressure.
We in the DAP will keep faith with the people. Sdr.Fan Yew Teng is a good example. He has been picked out for special treatment, but he has not wilted under pressure.
What we need are more men of such calibre, who are men of convictions and not creatures motivated merely by self-interest, whether in the realm of riches, status, or power.