Call on all State Government in Peninsular Malaysia to explain their delay and reluctance to implement the new system of full-time Executive Councilors

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca DAP Thousand People Dinner held at Pay Fong Chinese Secondary School Hall, Malacca, on Saturday, 2nd August 1980 at 8 pm

Call on all State Government in Peninsular Malaysia to explain their delay and reluctance to implement the new system of full-time Executive Councilors

In June when announcing revision of allowances for Ministers, Members of Parliament, Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers and State Assemblymen, the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh said that with effect from July 1, 1980 State Executive Councilors would become full-time under the new system so that Exco members could not take part in business or professional activities.

All these revisions, including the giving of State Exco members Ministerial allowance, would come into effect from July 1, 1980.

A month has passed, but the State Government does not appear to be at all keen to implement the new system of full-time Executive Councilors.

The DAP had right from the beginning called for a system of full-time Exco members for State Government, and this is on public record. The objective is to ensure that the widespread practice of Exco members using their position to make a fortune is wiped out, and to ensure that Exco members diligently and conscientiously carry out their Exco duties to the electorate.

With the announced increase of allowances for State Assemblymen by 100%, with effect from July 1, 1980, it is surprising to say the least that the State Assemblies have not been summoned so that the new increases could be paid out in time for the Hari Raya Puasa.

It could not be that the Barisan Nasional State Assemblymen are not keen to get the new allowance?

This is definitely not the reason, for the Barisan Assemblymen would like to get their new increases. The real reason for the delay and reluctance of State Government to summon State Assemblies and enact the new increases is because of the strong opposition by powerful Exco members in the various states to the new requirement by the Federal Government that Excos should be full time, and should give up all private business or professional practice.

It is a public knowledge that there are Exco members who make $10,000 or $20,000 a month or even more purely because of the exploitation of their Exco positions and these Exco members would resist any proposal to make EXCO positions full time and incompatible with the continuation of the use of their public positions for personal gain.

This is the major reason for he delay and reluctance of State Government to implement the new system of full-time Exco members.

The second reason for the delay is that, as Tengku Razaleigh has announced that the new revisions of allowances of Federal and State elected representatives would take effect from July 1, 1980, the Exco members are in the beautiful position of having their cake and eating it, the longer they delay the implementation of the full-time Exco system.

If the implementation is delayed by six months or one year, the Exco members would in any event get their new Ministerial salaries from July 1, 1980, without having to give up their business or professional practices during this period. In the meanwhile of course, attempts are being made to abandon the idea of full-time Exco members.

I call on the Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh, not allow such irresponsible evasion of public responsibilities by such State Exco members to succeeds, by taking the following three steps:

1. Government announcement that for State Exco members, the Ministerial salary to be paid to them would take effect from the date they begin to discharge their responsibilities full-time, and not retrospective from July 1, 1980;

2. To give a directive to all State Government that all State Exco members should begin to serve full-time immediately after the Hari Raya Puasa holidays;

3. Requirement of all State Excos members to publicly declare their assets to satisfy public that they had not used their Exco positions to serve personal ends.

2) DAP to press for prosecution of Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin for sedition in Parliament in October and demand explanation by Attorney-General if no action is taken against Haji Suhaimi

The decade of Eighties has begun with manifestation of extremist and chauvinistic forces seeking to alter the direction of Malaysian nation building. DAP Deputy Secretary-General Sdr.Lee Lam Thye and DAP Negeri Seremban State Assemblyman Sdr.M.Kuppusamy have respectively lodged police reports against UMNO Youth Leader, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, and UMNO Kelantan delegate, Haji Jaafar Jalani, for calling for closure of Chinese and Tamil primary Schools.

Many people asked whether Haji Suhaimi would be prosecuted or not we will wait and see and give time for the Attorney-General, Datuk Sri Hamzah Abu Samah, to decide. If the Attorney-General refuses to act, then in the October meeting of Parliament, the DAP will press for the prosecution of Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin and to demand an explanation from the Attorney-General for this inaction.

Whatever the personal outcome for Haji Suhaimi, the police reports lodged by DAP leaders will serve four aims:

Firstly, of officially draw attention if the authorities to the clear offence of sedition committed by Haji Suhaimi and to provide the basis for the authorities to arrest and prosecute UMNO Youth Leader.

Secondly, to effectively put an immediate and to all extremist and chauvinist calls for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools at least for the immediate present, which has clearly been achieved, although this does not mean that those who wanted to see Chinese and Tamil primary schools closed down have changed their minds.

Thirdly, to strike down the forces of extremism and chauvinism in UMNO, and in the process strengthen the forces of moderation UMNO. Haji Suhaimi’s case is a good example. Having just defeated Datuk Harun Idris in the contest for UMNO Youth Presidential elections. Haji Suhaimi was riding on the crest of the wave in his exploitation of extremist and chauvinist issues – and could demand that his services for defeating Datuk Harun Idris should be rewarded, whether it is in the form of Cabinet post or greater say and influence in UMNO policy-making. However, with the report lodged by DAP leaders, the tables have turned, and Haji Suhaimi is now clearly beholden to UMNO leaders, and not the other way round, where UMNO leaders are beholden to Haji Suhaimi for having defeated Datuk Harun.

Fourthly, this is a great test of impartiality of the enforcement of law by the Attorney-General and the country and world are watching as to whether there is one common law for all Malaysians, or there are two sets of laws and double standards in legal enforcement.

I note that Haji Suhaimi has now realised the trouble he has brought upon himself, and a few days ago in Seremban, he tried to do the impossible, in trying to deny that he had ever wanted to have Chinese and Tamil primary schools closed down.

Haji Suhaimid said that all he wanted was to implement fully the national education policy with regard to Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction, and that he did not object to Chinese or Tamil being as a subject in those schools using only Bahasa Malaysia as a medium of instruction.

Haji Suhaimi’s attempt to wriggle out his seditious call is pathetic. Could Haji Suhaimi explain clearly, without equivocation, how Clause 21(2) of Education Act with regard to the conversion of Chinese and Tamil primary schools as they exist at present?

Is Haji Suhaimi trying now to say that to change the medium of instruction in Chinese and Tamil primary schools into Bahasa Malaysia, allowing only the teaching of Chinese and Tamil as a subject, is not closing down Chinese and Tamil primary schools so long as the name of Chinese or Tamil nation-type primary schools are allowed to remain?

Haji Suhaimi should realise that the argument that to call for the change of Chinese or Tamil medium to Bahasa Malaysia medium, while allowing Chinese and Tamil to be taught as a subject, is not seditious and not questioning the sensitive rights of guaranteed free use and study of other languages had been rejected by the High Court in the Utusan Melayu case in 1971.

This is what the then Chief justice Ong Hock Thye said in the Utusan Melayu case:

“It has been contended that abolition of schools is not quite the same thing as preventing the “teaching or learning” of any language taught in these schools. This argument, in my opinion, is pure sophistry for it cannot be said that the abolition of Tamil or Chinese medium schools does not do away with the very source in which knowledge of those languages is imbibed. The meaning ordinary conveyed by the words “Abolish Tamil or Chinese medium schools in this country” is clear and unambiguous. They call in question the teaching of Tamil or Chinese. The subheading may not unfairly be described as a clarion call for the abolition of Tamil and Chinese schools; at least, it posed a challenge to the continued application of Article 152 of the Constitution.”

Thus, Haji Suhaimi’s new explanation in Seremban that he did not call for Chinese and Tamil schools to be closed down, but merely for the implementation of Bahasa Malaysia policy as medium of instruction, has already been held to be seditious too by the High Court.

Datuk Lee San Choon and Dr.Lim Chong Eu joint obstacles to united popular resistance to manifestation of extremist and chauvinistic forces

It is encouraging that in the last few weeks, popular reaction to such extremist ad chauvinist forces had been strong and united, except for attempts by irresponsible political leaders like Datuk Lee San Choon and Dr.Lim Chong Eu to undermine the assertion of moderation by reasonable and nationalist Malaysians.

In condemning those like us in the DAP for taking a strong and uncompromising stand against the extremist and chauvinist stances of Haji Suhaimi, both Datuk Lee and Dr.Lim are condemning the majority of Malaysians who want moderation, and who seek to stand up against the excesses of extremism and chauvinism. They have both done grave disservice to the evolution of moderate, tolerant multi-racialism.

In recent weeks, there had also been attempts by the MCA to re-write history in order to exonerate itself from its responsibility and guilt for being a party to so many policies and measures which are detrimental to the interests of the people.

The MCA claims to represent the 5 million Chinese in Malaysia, when election after election had demonstrated that the MCA could win merely because of UMNO votes. If there is any party which can speak with authority and legitimacy for the five million Malaysian Chinese, it is the DAP as demonstrated by the general elections results. But the DAP does not merely speak with authority on behalf of Malaysian Chinese, but also Malaysian Indians and Malays – as we are the most serious party attempt at integration of the various races into one Malaysian people.

DAP will play its role to rally Malaysians to defend territorial integrity of Malaysia

Malaysia enters the 1980s with growing concern about ominous developments in Indo-China where Soviet-backed Vietnamese forces had occupied Kampuchea and set up a puppet-regime, and is testing the will and resolution of Thailand. For if Thailand falls or crumbles, Malaysia will be next on target.

The DAP as a patriotic, nationalistic Malaysian political party, is committed to the defense of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Malaysia. We have the responsibility to rally and mobilise Malaysians, in particular the 700,000 voters and the Millions of supporters, to the cause of the defense of Malaysian territorial integrity, for although they voted against the Barisan Nasional, they are not against Malaysia – they are all in fact loyal Malaysians who are second to none in preparedness to sacrifice for nation and Malaysian soil.

Resignation as Malacca State Chairman

About one year ago, I announced at the Malacca State Committee meeting that I would not serve my full term as Malacca State Chairman. DAP Chairman with effect from tomorrow, 3rd August 1980.

I have been Chairman of Malacca State DAP for ten years, and have seen the DAP established as a premier political force in the State to combat the Barisan Nasional.

I am not resigning as Malacca State Chairman in order to prepare for political phasing out, as is the case with Dr.Lim Chong Eu, who is clearly preparing for this political exit. Dr.Lim knew that in the next general elections, he faced a distinct prospect of being rejected and defeated in his own State constituency, and he is preparing an honorable exit than to get a dishonorable political finish to his political life.

I am resigning as Malacca State Chairman so that I can concentrate even more time as Party Secretary-General to help chart the DAP to face the new challenges of the 1980s. The DAP is entering a most stimulating, exciting and challenging era, which would require even more dedication, dynamism and vitality than the Sixties and Seventies, and we hope to write the most glorious chapter of DAP history yet in the 1980s.

My resignation as Malacca State Chairman is to enable me to further contribute to the Party nationally. State-wise, it will develop new State leadership which will be another objective of the Party in the Eighties – to nurture the growth and maturity of a new breed of DAP leaders at all levels to face the challenges of Eighties.