DAP calls on Tun Razak to offer the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin a clear choice of either opting for Malaysian citizenship or Chinese nationality

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang State DAP Dinner at Fortuna Restaurant, Penang on Saturday, 8th June 1974 at 8 p.m.

1. DAP calls on Tun Razak to offer the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin a clear choice of either opting for Malaysian citizenship or Chinese nationality

There are people who think that with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, and the signing of the Peking communique between Tun Razak an Premier Zhou En Lai, the problem of the 300,000 persons of Chinese origin in Malaysia have been settled. They think that holders of red identity cards can now change them into blue ones, become citizens and get jobs.

This is a complete misreading of the Peking communique, for a careful study of the Peking communique shows that it does not state that holders of red identity cards can now get blue ones, or that those who had applied for citizenship before the Peking communique but failed would succeed in their citizenship application if they now re-apply.

In the Peking communique, both the Malaysian government and the People’s Republic of China abhor dual nationality. But the problem of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin is not a problem of dual nationality, but of no nationality.

Unlike the immediate post-war years, the increasing majority of Malaysian Chinese are born, bred and will die in Malaysia, have no other home apart from Malaysia. They have no intention of going back to China. they are Malaysians in fact, if not in law.

Some commentators and even National Front leaders are talking as if these 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin can now choose between being a Malaysian citizen or a Chinese national.

This is not so, for the 300,000 stateless persons can choose to become Malaysian citizens, apply for it, but there is no guarantee that they will be any more successful in getting the citizenship as in the past. In fact, the present options before the 300,000 persons is between being a Chinese national or continue to be a ‘stateless’ person.

The DAP calls on Tun Razak to offer to these 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin a clear choice of opting either for Malaysian citizenship or being a Chinese national. Those who opt for Malaysian citizenship should be given citizenship papers, while those who opt to become Chinese nationals should be issued with Chinese passports.

There should be no category of ‘stateless’ person, which is unnatural and unjust.

2. The coming general elections: DAP to expose National Front

From all indications, the general elections will be held in August. I expect Parliament to be dissolved at the end of July, nomination in early August, and polling on 17th or 24th August, after about 18 days of campaign period.

The coming general elections will be the most important general elections in Malaysian history, for it offers probably the last chance to reverse the unpopular education, economic, social and cultural policies of the government.

In the 1969 general elections, the Alliance secured only 45% of the total votes, and when Tun Razak become Prime Minister, he was the head of a minority government.

He had two choices before him to convert his minority government into one with majority support.

He had firstly the choice of modifying and changing the policies of the government, whether in politics, economics, education, culture, in order to win back the support of the people.

This road Tun Razak rejected, for he was offered the second option – the formation of the National Front.

Tun Razak’s calculation is that getting Opposition MPs, State Assemblymen and even entire opposition parties, like the Parti Gerakan, PPP, the PAS and the SUPP, to team up with the UMNO, he would also be able to get support of people who in 1969 supported and voted for these opposition MPs, State Assemblymen and opposition parties.

Thus, he thought that by bringing Parti Gerakan into the National Front, the people of Penang who in 1969 voted for Parti Gerakan would now support the National Front. In this manner, the 45% of the electorate who has voted the Alliance would enlarge to some 75% by the addition of the voters who had previously supported the new members of the National Front.

In this way, there is no need to change or modify policies, which was so decisively rejected by the people in the 1969 general elections.

The National Front, therefore, is no more than a national fraud, for whether in terms of political, economic, educational, social or cultural policy, it is no different from that of the Alliance before 1969.

The people of Malaysia in the next general elections must give a shattering defeat to the National Front candidates, to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the National Front solution is no solution of the people’s pent-up and long-standing grievances, frustrations and discontents. Then, and only then, will Tun Razak realise that the only way to win back the support of the people, is by changing or modifying the present policies and measures, to give every Malaysian a full stake, and not by buying over opportunistic opposition MPs, SAs or entire opposition parties.

3. DAP to put up a strong slate of candidates for Penang State

The DAP will field a strong slate of candidates at both Parliamentary and State level for the State of Penang in the next elections. We will present to the people of Penang an alternative to the Gerakan government and with the people’s mandate, we will be prepared to take over the reins of the Penang State Government, and not as of now, a government for the rich, the foreign capitalists and the parasites.

DAP members must work hard, but there is no need for us to trumpet like one new opposition party which is full of old political faces, which claimed last week that they are the only party which can capture the Penang State Government. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand what this party is up to. Thus, it sent in a candidate withdrew. Recently, it contested a by-election in Malacca, and suffered ignominious defeat. At present, there is a by-election in Muar, Johore. This party has fielded its chairman of the Batu Pahat branch, bit make him stand as a Independent candidate.

The DAP will continue to be sober, down-to earth, but conscious of the responsibilities that we will have to shoulder at every step of our political struggle.