Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General Lim Kit Siang, at the Alor Star DAP Branch anniversary dinner held at Alor Star, Kedah, on Saturday, 31st December 1977 at 8 p.m.
Challenge to MCA President, Lee San Choon, to publicly declare his assets and rebut Lee Siok Yew’s accusation about the ‘commercialisation of politics’.
In his press conference yesterday, Tan Sri Lee Siok Yee, who was forced to resign as Health Minister, said one reason why the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon, wanted to force him out of the Cabinet was because Lee Siok Yew was opposed to MCA’s ‘commercialisation of politics’ especially under Lee San Choon’s presidency.
In actual fact, the MCA had, right from the very beginning, commercialised politics for everybody in knows that the politics of MCA is the politics of money.
Many who joined the MCA do so because they regard this as a stepping stone to wealth and riches; and election as Member of Parliament or State Assemblyman, is not regarded as a sacred duty and opportunity to serve the people and country, but to acquire rare opportunities for business prospects and for self-enrichment.
So long as politics is regarded as a good business investment, and men and women stood for elections to the State Assemblies and Parliament hope to acquire wealth and riches from their election, then so long will corruption in Malaysia become grave national problem.
The problem of corruption in Malaysia is not the smalltime corruption, but the corruption of the powerful and the mighty, of those who hold high political offices, who commercialise politics and make politics a hand-maiden of business.
Now and then Malaysians will read of speeches by the MCA President, Lee San Choon, to some MCA branches that the MCA will weed out the corrupt and decadent. The fact that Malaysians read such reports with skepticism shows how little reliance they place on such public speeches.
After all, Malaysians will not easily forget that it is Datuk Lee San Choon and his MCA Members of Parliament, a together with other Barisan Nasional MPs, who defeated my motion in Parliament to introduce a new law requiring every Minister, Deputy Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Mentri Besar, Chief Minister, State Executive Councillor, Member of Parliament and State Assemblyman to annually declare his assets publicly, and any property or income which could not be accounted for should immediately be confiscated by the Government.
If Datuk Lee San Choon is so sincere in wanting to weed out corrupt politicians, why then did he oppose this motion to require every highly-placed political leader to account his or her wealth to the public, and periodically prove that he or she had not used the political position to acquire wealth at public expense?
I challenge the MCA President and Minister of Labour, Datuk Lee San Choon, to publicly declare his assets and that of his wife and next of kin, to demonstrate that he had not ‘commercialisation of politics’. Is Datuk Lee San Choon prepared to accept this challenge, and rebut Tan Sri Lee Siok yew’s accusation against him?
The Cabinet has been reshuffled. I call on the Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, to fulfil the high hopes the people had placed on him when he first took over the Premiership early last year that he would be firm against all forms of corrupt practices. Dato Hussein Onn should require every on of his Ministers to publicly declare his assets and that of his next of kin, like spouse and children, to demonstrate to public satisfaction that every Cabinet Minister is clean and honest.
DAP prepared to work with PAS in Parliament and State Assemblies to oppose economic inequalities, denial of human rights, corruption and undemocratic practices.
PAS has now crossed over to the Opposition, betrayed by UMNO and Barisan Nasional politics which do not hesitate to resort to undemocratic practices, like the suspension of the Kelantan State Assembly, to further petty party political interest.
The DAP and PAS do not stand on the same ideological platform, but we are prepared to work with PAS in Parliament and the various State Assemblies to oppose economic inequalities, denial of human rights, corruption and undemocratic practices.
The expulsion of PAS from Barisan Nasional has introduced a new element into the next general elections. I had forecast some time ago before the PAS=UMNO troubles, that general elections may be held as early as April 1978, largely because of the power struggle in UMNO. Although initially , PAS’ expulsion from Barisan Nasional may seem to point to a later date for the general elections, to give the UMNO more time to prepare the ground, this need not necessarily be so.. General elections may still be held as early as April 1978, for the UMNO leadership may decide to rally the Party members with the need to close ranks to face new external threats, namely PAS. One of the most time-tested means of forcing a closing of ranks is to cry about enemies and threats outside – like what President Sukarno did.
The DAP must therefore be prepared for early general elections, and must not be caught unprepared. In this process of preparing for the next general elections, however, we must never forget that elections is not an end in itself, but only a means to an end, which is to realise a democratic socialist, genuinely multi-racial Malaysia. Party discipline must not be sacrificed for fear of electoral disadvantages, for then, in the end, we will lose not only party solidarity, but whatever temporary political or electoral gain we might get.