Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Parliamentary Candidates for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at the Esplanade on Tuesday, 13th August 1974 at 9 p.m.
1. Why Malaysians must unite on 24 August and solidly support DAP candidates to deny the two-thirds majority to the National Front.
The general elections on August 24 will determine whether we are going to have a healthier and more meaningful democracy in Malaysia, or whether democracy is to suffer more setbacks and blows.
The flame of democracy is a weak and flickering one. It has suffered serious setbacks and blows since 1957, but never in greater intensity than since 1969.
The following measures, taken after 1969, have dealt heavy blows on the political democracy in Malaysia:
1. The 1971 Constitution Amendment which curbed freedom of speech of the people and muzzled elected representative of the people by abolishing parliamentary immunity;
2. 1973 Constitution Amendment which abolished nine Selangor State Assembly seats in the Kuala Lumpur area and disenfranchised a million people from State Assembly representation;
3. 1973 Constitution Amendment which permitted grave imbalances in the weightage of voters between urban and rural constituencies;
4. Continued, prolonged and indefinite suspension of City Council, Municipal, town and local council elections;
5. Universities and universities College Act 1971 forbidding university students from taking an active interest and part in the political and national affairs of the country;
6. Tight control of the press and full use of the mass media, such as television, radio and the tools of government propaganda.
In fact, it is no exaggeration to say no exaggeration to say that the history of Constitutional amendment in Malaysia is the history of the progressive erosion of political democracy in the country.
One of the major ills of political democracy in Malaysia is the mindless two-thirds majority of the National Front, which it uses to protect its own vested interests to the disregard of the interests of the people and country.
In fact, the Malaysian Constitution probably ranks forefront in the world as the national constitution which has been tampered with and violated against the most times. It has been amended in at least over 100 places.
It should be one of the main objectives of the people in the August 24 general elections to effectively remove the National Front’s two-third majority so that they could not change the Constitution at their whim and fancy. Only then can a more healthy and more wholesome democratic system emerge.
In this connection, it is worth nothing that in the 1969 general elections, the Parliamentary candidates of one formerly opposition party, namely Gerakan, campaigned on the platform of removing the Alliance’s two-third majority. But the first thing their MPs did in Parliament, MPs like Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, V. David, Yeoh Teck Chye and Veerappen, did was to give the Alliance the two-thirds majority to change the Constitution so drastically that the democratic process has not been the same since then. Up to now, these leaders of Pekemas have not explained to the people why they aided and abetted the Alliance in 1971 to limit further the people’s fundamental right to freedom of speech, and T challenge Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, V. David, Yeoh Teck Chye and Veerappen to publicly explain to the people of Malaysia why they provided the two-thirds majority to the Alliance in 1971 to change Constitution and abolish the parliamentary immunity of MPs and State Assembly in raising the people’s woes and problems in the various legislatures.
2. Lim Kit Siang challenges all the National Front Ministers to declare the number of their children who are receiving primary and secondary education abroad.
Two nights ago in a public rally in Malacca, I called on all Ministers and National Front leaders to declare their assets regularly to prove that they have not made a single cent from polities.
Tonight I want to challenge all the National Front Ministers to declare the number of their children who are, receiving, or who had received their primary and secondary education abroad.
While Ministers and National Front leaders, including Dr. Lim Chong Eu, call on Malaysian parents to send their children to national primary and secondary schools, they send their own children abroad to do their primary and secondary education. This is the best evidence that the Ministers do not have confidence in their own education system. They do not want their own children to go to Malaysia’s primary and secondary schools, which they let the rakyat’s children go to.
The education system in Malaysia needs a complete overhaul. The standard and quality of education in our schools has been deteriorating for last several years. The results of the Std. V Assessment Tests is a good instance, for in most subjects there are shocking mass failures. Yet these children, who cannot cope with their present standards, are sent upwards form after form, until they reach form III, when they are thrown out of schools not fitted for any other use. The automatic promotion system has brought more problems than solve them.
This is why there are mass failures in every level. What is even more shocking is that there are not only mass failures of those who cannot cope with their lessons because of the deficiencies of the education system, but also mass failures of hard-working, intelligent students who have always shown an above average academic performance. Thus for the last four years, some 50,000 of our children have failed the MCE because of failure in Bahasa Malaysia, although a great number of them get sir, seven or even night distinctions in other subjects.
Let all the Cabinet Ministers make public their own results when they sat for the Cambridge Certificate. How many As did they get. Probably a few of them had red marks. Is this the Scale of Justice of the National Front?
Furthermore, there are thousands of First Graders who denied opportunities to do Form Six, and therefore denied of university education. There are also thousands of Malaysian children with the requisite qualifications and academic ability to enter the university, but who are kept outside the portals of the university.
THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR MALAYSIAN CHILDREN OF ALL RACES AND CLASSES TO END THE PRESENT EDUCATIONAL WASTAGE AND INJUSTICES OD FAILING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MALAYSIAN YOUTHS AND DENYING OTHER TENS OF THOUSANDS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGHER EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES.
Let the Malaysian voters of 1974 General Elections vote against this unjust educational policy of the National Front, to compel the National Front to have a reappraisal of its educational policies.
3. DAP calls on people of Penang to vote DAP to again set the pace for change in Malaysia.
Penang has always been one of the states which set pace for political change in Malaysia. I call on the people of Penang to vote the DAP solidly on August 24 to again set the pace for change in Malaysia, by exposing the National Front which is no different from the Alliance of 1969，and giving the DAP a chance to form the Penang State Government to look after the interests of the worker, the hawker, the squatter, the unemployed, who have been neglected by Dr. Lim Chong Eu’s government.