Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and Malacca DAP State Chairman, Lim Kit Siang, at the first post – election meeting of the Malacca DAP State Sub – Committee on Friday, 4th August 1978 at 8 p.m.
Musa Hitam should act as a national leader who has the responsibility to look after the interests of Malaysians of all races and not as a petty UMNO official trying to woo maximum votes in coming UMNO General Assembly
Last Wednesday, at a Malacca National Front elections thanksgiving dinner, the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, made a very fierce attack on the DAP and alleged that we won 16 Parliamentary seats because of support of one race. He also said that the National Front had no intention of changing its education policy adopted since Merdeka in 1957.
I can understand why Musa Hitam is so angry with the DAP when he comes to Malacca, for Malacca will be a standing reminder to Musa Hitam of his failure to break and destroy the DAP in Malacca. Datuk Musa Hitam was appointed Chairman of Malacca Barisan National on the eve of the general elections, with the specific assignment of destroying the DAP in Malacca. Datuk Musa Hitam was optimistic of accomplishing this mission especially with all the undemocratic and unfair tactics and measures used by the Barisan, like the ban on public rallies.
In fact, Datuk Musa Hitam was so confident that he declared during the election campaign that the Malacca Barisan National, under his leadership, would recapture the DAP State Assembly seats and would also win back the Kota Melaka Parliamentary seat.
In the event, not only the Barisan National failed to recapture the four DAP State Assembly seats and the Kota Melaka Parliamentary seat, the Barisan lost all these seats with greatly increased margins!
However, Datuk Musa Hitam should not forget that he is a Education Minister whose responsibility is to look after the interests of Malaysians of all races. From the way he acted and spoke, at last Wednesday’s Malacca Barisan National thanksgiving dinner, it would appear that he was not so much a national leader as a petty UMNO official seeking to get the maximum number of votes in the forthcoming UMNO General Assembly.
I call on Datuk Musa Hitam to fully shoulder his responsibility as Education Minister who is above party politics, and not act as a petty UMNO official trying to woo maximum votes in the coming UMNO General Assembly.
The people of Malaysia, especially the urban areas, have spoken loudly and clearly in the recent general elections that they want changes in the education policy and system in the country. This is not merely the demand of the DAP. Even more important, it represents the demand of a sizable segment of the population and in particular, virtually the entire urban population.
If the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, is a leader of all Malaysians, and not only of one racial group, then he must take serious consideration of this demand, and not just dismiss them offhand.
The DAP did not win the recent elections on the support of only one race. In fact, we have demonstrated that we are the only credible multi – racial political party in the country. We are the sole effective political spokesman of the urban areas, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese and Indians. The MCA claims to represent the five million Chinese, but in actual fact represent nobody but Lee San Choon and his clique. According to Tun Tan Siew Sin former MCA President, MCA MPs won in the elections because of UMNO’s Malay votes.
The DAP has more right to speak on behalf of the Malaysian Indians than the MIC, for the DAP has four MPs of Indianorigin, while the MIC has only three. The DAP influence, however, is not confined only to Chinese and Indians. Among the Malay community, the DAP is increasing in support and influence. In the 1978 general elections in Perak and Malacca, the DAP fielded more Malay than non – Malay candidates. In the next five years, the DAP, having firmly secured our urban support, will concentrate on the rural areas and the Malay community to explain to them what the DAP is fighting for.
The DAP has become the only party with the most Malaysian – wide representation. We are the only political party with branches in East and West Malaysia. UMNO and MCA, for instance, only operate in Peninsular Malaysia; while the DAP has branches and a MP in Sabah. Very soon, we will be forming branches in Sarawak.
Call on Musa Hitam to seriously consider establishment of Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education
Datuk Musa Hitam said the National Front had no intention of changing its education policy adopted since Merdeka in 1957.
Even the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, has come out in support of the DAP call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Education – which demonstrates that this call for a more broad – based review of education has the support of Malaysians who want to see the problems of education from a national, and not merely party political, angle.
The ruling parties should stop using education as a ‘political football’ but should seriously get down to meet the legitimate and constitutional rights and wishes of all Malaysians to have an education system which meets with their demands.