Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, when officiating at the opening of the Bentong DAP Branch on Saturday, 27th July 1974 at 4 p.m.
1. Malaysians should vote for DAP Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen o ensure that the people’s voice are heard in the Parliament and State Assemblies
Yesterday’s meeting of Dewan Rakyat was the last sitting of the Third Parliament, for general elections will definitely be held within 30 days for the election of the Fourth Parliament.
In the general elections next month, I call on the Malaysian electorate to vote for DAP Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen to ensure that the voice of the people, their grievances and hopes, can be effectively heard in Parliament and the State Assemblies.
National Front Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen, whether they are from the MCA, Gerakan, the PPP, UMNO or PAS, are only interested in self-advancement.
The recent 8 days’ meeting of Dewan Rakyat provides good evidence that the National Front MPs are not bothered about the problems and grievances of the people. On the contrary, they go out of their way to sabotage the DAP MPs from raising issues which closely touch the hearths of Malaysians.
A good instance is the way in which the National Front MPs form MCA, Gerakan and PPP, deliberately absented themselves from Parliament to prevent issues like the shooting of two women tappers in Kuala Kangsar by security forces, the police ban on the Chun Lei Malam Kebudayaan, the serious condition of gravely ill and sick political detainees, from being raised and discussed by the method of not providing a quorum.
There is now a big tussle for power and seats in the National Front, not in terms of what they can do for the people, but what each can get from being given a safe Parliamentary or State seat.
In fact, in Johore, a MCA potential candidate for Parliament has been going round telling people that he would be appointed Minister of Health after the general elections.
The people should realise by now that MCA, Gerakan, PPP and National Front Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen cannot represent their voice and interests, but only business and moneyed interests.
Nor have other West Malaysian opposition parties in Parliament proved that they are prepared to stand up bravely for the people’s rights.
This is why in the last five years in Parliament, we in the DAP always find ourselves alone in the opposition against the violation of basic rights of the people by the Government.
The Pekemas did not give us any support when the DAP MPs stuck their necks out to oppose the amendment to the Malaysian Constitution in 1971. In fact, the Pekemas Members of Parliament supported the ruling party loyally.
Nor did the Pekemas give us any support in Parliament in our fight to oppose the abolition of Chinese Schools’ Boards of Managements, or to secure the eternal preservation of Chinese primary schools in Malaysia.
The time has come for the people to reject opposition parties which are half-hearted, one foot in the government and one foot in the opposition, criticizing the government on minor and trivial matters, but supporting the government on basic and fundamental questions on education, especially Chinese education, economic, social and cultural policies in the country.
What Malaysia needs today is a strong, courageous and principled Opposition, which is prepared to stand firmly by the rights and interests of the people, as the DAP has done in Parliament and the State Assemblies these five years.
2. The general elections will decide whether Chinese primary schools will survive or will be converted like English primary schools
The next general elections will decide, among other things, whether Chinese primary schools will be allowed to survive, or will go the way of the English primary schools and become converted into national primary schools.
Yesterday, in Parliament, I asked the Education Minister, Tuan Haji Mohamad Yaacob, whether his Ministry proposes repealing Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, which empowers the Education Minister to convert Chinese primary schools into national primary schools as he deems fit, in view of his earlier statement that it is not the intention to convert Chinese primary schools, and in view of the further fact that beginning next year there will be no more English primary schools as they will become fully converted.
The Minister’s reply was ‘No.’. If it is not the government’s intention to convert Chinese primary schools, why is it the government wants to retain the power to convert them within 24 hours’ notice, without need to refer to Parliament?
It is thus clear that in the next general elections, the future of Chinese primary schools will also be decided. The DAP’s stand on Chinese primary schools, in fact on Chinese education as a whole, is clear-cut in both Parliament and the State Assemblies. In fact, it can be said that no other party, whether in Parliament or State Assemblies, had been as consistent as the DAP in upholding the cause of Chinese education in multi-racial Malaysia, and we shall continue to stand by Chinese education in Malaysia.
3. DAP will field candidates in Bentong and other parts of Pahang
The DAP has decided to field candidates for the Bentong Parliamentary and State seats. We will also contest in other seats in Pahang.
We are interested in proving that wherever the MCA Secretary-General stands, he will lose, for it reflects the total disenchantment of the people in the policies and opportunism of the MCA leaders.
In the 1969 general elections, the MCA Secretary-General, Kam Woon Wah, was defeated by the DAP in Sitiawan. We feel confident in repeating the same result, in defeating the new MCA Secretary-General, Chan Siang Sun, in Bentong, a person who had proved his dedication and commitment to the struggle for a democratic socialist, genuinely multi-racial Malaysia.