Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Third meeting of the DAP National Publicity Committee in DAP HQ on Friday, 25th July 1980 at 6 pm
Call on Malaysians who are concerned about the preservation of Chinese and Tamil primary schools as guaranteed by the Constitution should get themselves registered as voters from August 25 onwards
The Voters’ Registration exercise this year will begin on August 25 and will last for 42 days. During the previous general elections, substantial numbers of Malaysian youths found that although they wanted to vote for the DAP, they could not cast their ballot because they have not been registered as voters.
It is important therefore that this year, all DAP branches should carry out a campaign to impress on the eligible but unregistered voters the importance of registering themselves as voters as that they could use their precious vote during elections to determine their own future.
The recent growth of extremist and chauvinistic demands from inside the Barisan Nasional parties, like the call of UMNO Youth Leader Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin for the implementation of Clause 21(2) of the Education Act 1961 to close and convert Chinese and Tamil primary schools, should be a reminder and warning to all moderate and reasonable Malaysians that they must unite to oppose, fairly, firmly, and by democratic and constitutional means, so that such extremist and chauvinistic demands do not win the day.
Of course, there are those like Datuk Lee San Choon of MCA and Dr. Lim Chong Eu of Gerakan who condemn those who stand up against such extremist and chauvinistic demands. But these are political leaders who have already forfeited the right to political support of the people.
Although the Chinese and Tamil primary schools are guaranteed in the Constitution, their future would depend on how firm and solid are public support and commitment for their development and progress. If there is no public support, then constitutional guarantees can just wither away.
In the coming Voters’ Registration Campaign starting on August 25, all Malaysians who are concerned and committed to the preservation and promotion of Chinese and Tamil primary schools as guaranteed in the Constitution should get themselves registered as voters if they have not done so, or tell their friends and relatives to register themselves as voters, for this will be one important means to ensure the maintenance os the constitutional position of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
I would also call on all associations, guilds and societies in the country to have their separate campaigns among their members to get them to register themselves as voters, especially among the young Malaysians. This is merely to exercise the right of a citizen, and has nothing to do with party politics.
Role of Publicity Secretaries
In the Eighties, all party officials will have new defined roles and responsibilities to enable the Party to meet the challenges of the new decade. This include Publicity Secretaries at State and branch levels. A National meeting of State Publicity Secretaries would be summoned next month to lay down the new guidelines for roles and responsibilities of Publicity Secretaries.