Malaysia Chinese must exercise their political rights if they are not to be aliens in the land of their birth

Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP seminar organized by the Chinese education sub-committee held at Perak DAP State premises at Jalan Kampar, Ipoh, on Sunday, 7th Oct. 1973 at 10 a.m.

Malaysia Chinese must exercise their political rights if they are not to be aliens in the land of their birth

At a MCA party function on Sept. 18, the Selangor MCA Chairman, Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew, said that “directly and indirectly, the Chinese in Malaysia had received several blows making them feel psychologically that they are second-class citizens.”

There is no better remark that this to sum up the result of twenty years’ of MCA political activity. This explains why the MCA is held in such utter discredit and contempt among the masses.

Only last Sunday, we read in the press of a MCA Senator and new Deputy Minister, in Sitiawan calling on the Malaysian Chinese to unite behind the MCA so that the “Chinese are represented with one voice” inside the government.

This argument, which sounded attractive superficially, is not a new one. In fact, other people, only more recently more in the limelight than him, had made the same calls and have ended up being expelled from the MCA. This Senator’s own promotion to be Deputy Minister is a reward for his defecting from the ranks of his former colleagues, and siding the right group at a critical time. In fact, it would be pertinent to ask this Senator Deputy Minister, how much is ‘Chinese Unity’ worth against a Deputy Ministership.

Malaysian Chinese must assert and exercise their political rights, if they are not to be aliens in the land of their birth. They must, however, exercise and assert their political right as not as Chinese, but as Malaysians.

There is no reason for the Malaysian Chinese to carry the psychological feeling of being second-class citizens. Once a people regard themselves as inferior in status, then the battle is lost.

The Malaysian Chinese have no reasons to be apologetic and ashamed of their place in Malaysia. Our forefathers have, through their blood, sweat and tears, helped built up the economic sinews and muscles of Malaysia.

Their contribution is an integral part of Malaysian history and development, which all Malaysians, regardless of race land religion, should cherish and honour.

Malaysia is the land of our birth, our country, and where we will die. We have our rights and responsibilities as Malaysian citizens, and we must have the courage and the stamina to defend our right and discharge our responsibilities.

It will be a grave mistake if anyone should think that the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China could change conditions and prospects for the Malaysian Chinese.

The speech by the Chinese National Vice Chairman, Teng Hsiao Ping, that we can, and shall succeed, provided we are personally prepared to make sacrifices for the interest of the community, and the community as a whole prepared to make sacrifices for long-term instead of immediate, short-term gains, and the previous statement by the Chinese Primer, Chou En Lai, made it abundantly clear that it would be foolish for anyone to cherish the illusion that China would come to their aid. The fate of the Chinese in Indonesia during the days of Sukarno should be an eye-opener for those who are still inclined to political day-dreams.

Malaysian Chinese must seek their own salvation as Malaysians, completely on their own resources, without expecting any assistance or interference from the People’s Republic of China or from any other external source.