Speech by Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament of Bandar Melaka, Mr.Lim Kit Siang, at the meeting of Perak DAP State officials, branch leaders at Perak Branch in Ipoh, Perak on Sunday, 18 August 1973.at 10.30a.m.
1. Call on the Prime Minister to hold an inquiry into the problem of racial polarisation among undergraduates in the University of Malaya.
In a speech to a student leadership training seminar last year, the late Tun Dr.Ismal said that Malaysia did not belong to any one racial group and warned of the dangers of polarisation among students and under-graduates.
The problem of polarisation among students and undergraduates should be a matter of grave national concern, and should merit the attention from the highest quarters in government.
The events in the University of Malaya campus in the past week highlighted the seriousness of this problem.
On August 4, as was reported in the local press the next day, there was a demonstration by about 600 students in the University of Malaya campus led by the Tamil Language Society, the Chinese Language Society and the Engineering Society, against a cultural seminar and carnival in protest against their not being consulted when the agenda and the program for both functions were drawn up.
The demonstration demanded that the organisation, preparation of the seminar should be made with full representation by all student union bodies.
This demonstration led to counter-demonstrations by other student groups. In the nature of things, demonstrations and counter-demonstrations are common affairs and, so long as they are conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner, provide a useful channel for expression.
Unfortunately, these demonstrations highlighted the problem of polarisation among the undergraduates, and many slogans and things which should never be heard from students receiving higher education, were uttered. An undergraduate told me that the situation was tense in the campus.
I do not want to go into the merits or demerits of the two sides in this case. What I am concerned is the manifestation of a serious degree of polarisation among undergraduates in the University of Malaya which is unhealthy to the task of nation building.
It is no use on our part pretending that these problems do not exist, for this will be sweeping unpleasant things under the carpet which the, Tun Abdul Razak, pledged he would not do on becoming Prime Minister.
I therefore call on the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, to institute a top-level, representative inquiry into the serious problem of polarisation among University of Malaya undergraduates, because this is important not only to our institutions of higher learning themselves, but to Malaysia as a whole if we are to succeed in our endeavor to build a united, harmonious and multi-racial Malaysian nation. We must seek out the reasons and causes of this polarisation to remove them, for otherwise, we will all have to pay a price for our dereliction and neglect in future.
Razak’s Malaysian Malaysia
In his speech opening the MCA General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Tun Razak spoke of the government’s wish to build a “Malaysian’s Malaysia”.
I am glad that the objective of “Malaysian’s Malaysia” is becoming respectable and acceptable. It was not so long ago that I was personally warned in Dewan Rakyat by the Attorney General that my colleagues and I would have to face court prosecution of we continued to work for a “Malaysian Malaysia”.
One of the fundamental principles of a Malaysian Malaysia is that all Malaysian citizens, regardless of their race, are citizens of this country. No one should question the loyalty of another citizen, for such activities can only sow suspicion, division and the antithesis of a Malaysian Malaysia. If any Malaysian citizen is believed to be disloyal, then the government should take legal proceedings against him for reason.
In this connection, the speech by the Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Harun bin Idris, last Monday that non-Malays below 35 years old who do not know Bahasa Malaysia are “pengkhaniat” and “penghancur” “traitors and destroyers” are excellent examples of actions and speeches which is only conducive to greater disunity.
The loyalty of a Malaysian citizen cannot and must not be equated with his fluency of Bahasa Malaysia for if this is the case, I can name many top Alliance and government leaders who are “disloyal” because of their lack of command of Bahasa Malaysia.
Without qualification, they have accepted Malay as the national language, and this issue should stop being used as a political football by Alliance leaders.
We must all work to find new bonds and ties to bring the various races closer together; and not seek means which can only further divide the races.