DAP disappointed that the details of the so-called UMNO-MCA Formula for University intake

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when officially declaring open the Balaikong DAP Branch in Kajang state constituency, Selangor, on Saturday, 7th July 1979 at 6p.m.

DAP disappointed that the details of the so-called UMNO-MCA Formula for University intake not disclosed by Datuk Hussein Onn at UMNO General Assembly as MCA leaders have made people to expect

The greatest disappointment in the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, to the UMNO General Assembly yesterday as UMNO National President is his failure to disclose details of the so-called UMNO-MCA Formula for University intake to redress imbalances in higher educational opportunities.

In fact, Datuk Hussein Onn did not make any reference to the so-called Formula on University Student intake in his speech, although MCA leaders made the people to expect that details of this formula would be announced by the Prime Minister in the UMNO General Assembly.

The failure by the Prime Minister to make even a mention of the so-called UMNO-MCA Formula as announced by MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon, last Thursday on 28th June 1979 throws into doubt as to whether there had been such a Formula in the first place.

It is noteworthy that although the UMNO and MCA leaders met for four hours on June 28, and “had a heart-to-heart talk lasting about four hours in a cordial and friendly atmosphere’, there was no joint press conference as would be expected from such joint dialogue – but an unilateral press conference by MCA leaders. In fact, up to now, not a single UMNO leader had confirmed that a new formula to redress the imbalances in higher education opportunities had been agreed upon – apart from vague generalities which the people had heard enough about in the past.

If there was indeed a new Formula on university student intake which had been agreed upon between the UMNO and MCA leadership, then why is it that Datuk Lee San Choon is unable to give details? Is the MCA so weak, ineffective and powerless that before it could talk, it must officially write to UMNO for permission?

The MCA leadership has let down the people, again and again. It opposed the establishment of the Merdeka University, although it had the support of over 4,000 associations, guilds and societies – telling MCA members and the public that the Government would significantly increase non-Malay intake into the five local universities.

Although the MCA Youth Leader is Deputy Education Minister, who is fully responsible in determining the student intake ratio, MCA leaders refused to reveal the university student intake ratio, until these figure were brought out in Parliament through a DAP parliamentary question.

The figures disclosed by the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, disclosing that as compared to last year’s local university student intake, the percentage of non-Malay student intake when compared to overall student intake increased by a mere 2% came as a great disappointment to parents and students – for it was a clear breach of the pledge given by the Education Minister in Parliament on Dec. 11 to significantly increase non-Malay student intake in the five local universities.

When MCA leaders had time to get feedback from the people throughout the country at the great disappointment over Datuk Musa Hitam’s figures, MCA leaders decided to stage a operatic show to mislead the people.

MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers were going round branches and states to spread word that the MCA Central Working Committee had issued an ultimatum to Datuk Hussein Onn that the MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers would resign their Cabinet posts and the MCA withdraw from Barisan Nasional unless there is satisfactory resolution of the grave educational injustice in the intake of non-Malay university students in the local universities.

When the great ‘confrontation’ between Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, and the MCA leaders over the MCA ultimatum took place on June 28, the MCA leaders succeeded in riveting national attention upon them. But after the four-hour long meeting, and the MCA President Datuk Lee San Choon held a press conference announcing a Formula which up to now has not proved to be a Formula, Datuk Lee even expressed ignorance about the MCA ultimatum allegedly issued to Datuk Hussein Onn.

And now, we have reached the latest stage of this great MCA opera, where MCA leaders talk about the new UMNO-MCA Formula on university student intake, achieved in the four-hour meeting, but which MCA leaders could not give details, and which had never been confirmed by UMNO leaders, whether UMNO Education Minister or Prime Minister.

It is time the MCA leaders, and in particular, its president Datuk Lee San Choon, should stop opera-staging, but to get down to deal with the basic issues faced by the people.

I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, or the Education Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to make a policy statement as to whether a new Formula has been agreed upon by the Government on the recruitment of non-Malay students into the five local universities, and if so, to spell out the details.

Why UMNO Youth only demonstrate against US Embassy, and not Vietnam Embassy and Soviet Embassy?

It would appear however that it is not only the top MCA leadership which stage operas. Even the UMNO Youth is not beyond emulating the example of the MCa leadership to stage operas.

For instance, the UMNO Youth staged a demonstration against the United States Embassy yesterday to protest against the US Government’s passive attitude towards illegal immigrants problems in this country. This is well and good.

But can the UMNO Youth demonstrators and their leaders explain why they did not demonstrate against the Vietnam Embassy, especially as at the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Denpasser, Bali, it was agreed that Vietnam must bear the full responsibility for creating the problem of unending refugee influx into Malaysia, with its consequent social, economic, political and security problems? And why the UMNO Youth demonstrators did not demonstrate against the Soviet Union Embassy, for abetting and aiding Vietnam in this barbaric, uncivilized and hostile policy, which the UMNO Youth Leader has declared in his speech as ‘a modern form of aggression’? Clearly, these are play-acting, without serious thinking out the whole complexities of this problem.

All the UMNO Youth Leaders, Haji Suhaimi, could think of is to get some publicity for himself by demanding that the Government should ‘shoot on sight’ these victims of Vietnamese barbarism – which will so destroy the international image of Malaysia, that no single Malaysian can hold his or her head high when going abroad. The proposal by Haji Suhaimi to revive the ‘shoot on sight’ measure against Vietnamese refugees must be deplored and condemned without reservation.

It should also be asked whether the UMNO Youth demonstrators had the permission of the police to stage a demonstration, or whether there are two laws in the country, one for UMNO Youth and an different one for non-UMNO Youth. Can the Minister of Home Affair explain?