DAP replies to Tun Razak
The Prime Minister, Tun Razak, at the opening of the Gerekan’s extraordinary general assembly in Ipoh yesterday challenged the Opposition parties to declare their stand on the recent spate of violence in the country.
It is clear that Malaysia is facing urban guerilla warfare of increasingly serious proportions, while at the same time, the jungle guerrilla warfare is also stepping up its ferocity and intensity.
The DAP has a peaceful, democratic political movement dedicated to the democratic process to further our political objectives, is opposed, to all forms of violence, coming from whatever quarter.
The loyalty of the members and leaders of the DAP, and of all Opposition parties, is beyond challenge, and should hot be challenged, unless the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional agree to allow the loyalty of Barisan Nasional leaders to be openly challenged too where they are corrupt, abuse power, inefficient, dishonest and self-seeing.
We in the DAP are prepared to give up our lives for the defence of the country to protect the nation’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. This is why the DAP was the first political party in Parliament to call for the institution of the national service, which will not only lighten the economic burden of defence, but also allow every Malaysian to participate in the defence work of the country.
Tun Razak however should realize that the urban guerrilla warfare launched by the urban guerrillas is a political challenge to the Barisan Nasional. Government leaders have often said that the MCP cannot succeed in its violent method of struggle because there is democracy in Malaysia. The question is whether there is meaningful democracy in Malaysia, to inspire the unity and solidarity of all Malaysians, to give all Malaysians hope and confidence in the efficacy and ability of the democratic process to realize their legitimate political, economic, educational and cultural aspirations.
Tun Razak said in Ipoh yesterday that “people are free at al times to criticize the policies of the Government. There is complete freedom of speech.”
This is just rhetoric without truth. For one thing, after the 1974 general elections, the government banned the holding of public rallies, which killed freedom of speech of Opposition parties. In Parliament, the Barisan Nasional man oeuvres its majority to limit opportunity of freedom of speech to Opposition Parliamentarians. State Assemblies are not different. In the Malacca State Assembly, for instance, meetings are not held for as long as possible under the Standing Orders, which is once every six months, so that the State Government need not avoid accounting to the State Assemblymen about its stewardship of the government.
Opposition policies and stands are not given publicity in the press. A good instance in with regard to the Rukun Tetangga. Although the DAP was challenged by the Deputy Minister in charge of the Rukun Tetangga Dato Abdullah Ahmad, to state our stand, and although I have twice in separate occasions, explained the DAP stand, and why the DAP is unhappy at the way the Rukun Tetangga was introduced without tabling in Parliament first, and without effective ways to prevent abuse, no newspaper published the DAP position.
The problem that the government faces today is not so much as increased urban guerrilla activity, but to re-appraise its policies and review its measures to give meaning, substance and content to the democratic process, so that the people have full confidence in the democratic process to bring about desirable changes.
For the Opposition parties can continue to oppose the use of violent means and the urban guerrilla warfare, but so long as there is no significant change in the democratization of the political economic, educational and cultural life of the country, urban guerrilla warfare will grow as a problem.
The DAP is ever ready at any time to offer advice and proposals to Tun Razak as to how democratization of the national life, as the best answer to guerrilla activity in the urban areas and even in the jungles, can be carried out. The Barisan Nasional however, should be prepared for a change, to listen to the people’s voice, and not just its own echoes through its henchment.
To take up Tun Razak’s claim that Malaysia is fully democratic country, I challenge the Prime Minister to permit the Opposition parties to appear on Television to state how the need for a genuine democratization of all aspects of Malaysian life in the country.