Malaysians must expect political changes for the next 12 months

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr.Lim Kit Siang, to a joint meeting of Bukit Bintang and Pudu DAP Branches at Pudu branch premises on Friday, 10th August 1973 at 8.30p.m.

The next 12 months will see considerable political changes in the country.

The death of the late Tun Dr.Ismal will cause not only a cabinet reshuffle, but a new alignment of political forces particularly in the UMNO.

Unlike the MCA and MIC, which in the past year or more had alternately amused, entertained and disgusted the public with their antics of power struggle, a considerable part of this realignment of political forces in the UMNO will take place behind-the-scene. But though this is going to attract less publicity, it will have an important bearing on the future direction of the national policy, just as whatever outcome of the MCA or MIC antics will not affect one iota the directions of the country.

Although temporarily, there will be outward show of unity and harmony, this will not be able to hide the intensity of the moves and counter-moves behind the scene. It is unlikely that the shape of the new alignment of political forces will become clear in the near future.

A new political phase has started. This is seen by the speech of UMNO Youth President, Dato Harun Idris, last Monday condemning non-Malays who do not know Bahasa Malaysia and who are below 35 years of age to be “traitors” and “destroyers”. This appeared to be the shape of things to come, the context in which the realignment of political forces in UMNO will operate.

The people must stand firm against extreme postures and policies. Dato Harun’s statement is highly irresponsible, and can only be productive of greater disunity in the country.

The people of Malaysia have accepted Malay as the national language, but it is wrong to equate one’s fluency of the language with loyalty. If this is the equation, then the first candidates for disloyalty should be Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T.Sambanthan.

It is time that Alliance leaders exercise restraint and stop questioning the loyalty of non-Malays on any ground whatsoever, whether it be on the subject of fluency of Bahasa Malaysia, sending their children to Chinese schools (as was raised in Parliament by an UMNO MP recently) or whatever other ground.

The MCA is holding its Delegates’ Congress tomorrow and day after. The people will like to know the stand of the MCA Delegates’ Congress on Dato Harun’s pronouncements, and I will like to know whether the MCA Delegates’ Congress is resolute and principled enough to pass an emergency resolution condemning and deploring Dato Harun’s speech which branded non-Malays not versed in Bahasa Malaysia as “traitors and destroyers.”

In the coming months, when many political changes and developments will take place, it is vital that the people should stand firm on their basic rights and political beliefs, we are citizens of this country, born, live and will die here. We have our right and duty to strive to mould Malaysia in the shape of our aspiration – a united, democratic and multi-racial Malaysia.