Call on Malaysians from all over the country to take up the cudge to save the 440 million year-old Batu Caves as a national heritage and as a religious shrine for the 800,000 Hindus in Malaysia

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, in Ipoh on Monday, 18th August 1980 at 11am

Call on Malaysians from all over the country to take up the cudge to save the 440 million year-old Batu Caves as a national heritage and as a religious shrine for the 800,000 Hindus in Malaysia

There is a tendency for Malaysians to regard the Batu Caves issue, to stop immediate of the Caves by two private quarries to save the 440million-year-old national heritage and which is also the religious shrine of 800,000 Hindus, as a issue which concerns those who stay around Batu Caves or at most those staying in the State of Selangor and Federal Territory.

This is a misapprehension. Batu Caves concern not only those staying in Selangor and Federal Territory, but all Malaysians throughout Malaysia, for it is a national heritage or irreplaceable value and treasure.

Malaysians from all over the country, of all races and religions, must take up the cudge to save the 440million year-old Batu Caves as a national heritage and as a religious shrine for the 800,000 Hindus in Malaysia.

I had a few days ago suggested that a Batu Caves Day should be organised, tentatively on Sept.7, to demonstrate the public’s concern about the imminent collapse of the Batu Caves through the further extension of another six months for the two quarries to continue operations of blasting.

This Batu Caves Day should be a day for Malaysians to bring their families and children for a day’s outing at Batu Caves, for games, songs and dances, but all with one common purpose – to demonstrate their concern for the preservation of the Batu Caves as a National Monument through the immediate halt to all quarry blasting activities.

Otherwise, the Batu Caves would never become a National Monument as proposed by Third Malaysia Plan, but would become a National Mausoleum.

I had suggested that such a Batu Caves Day should be organised by the established environmentalist and conservationist organisations like the Batu Caves Protection Society, Malayan Nature Society and the Sahabat Alam (Friends of the Earth). It is not the intention of the DAP to make the Batu Caves into a DAP issue. In fact, the Batu Caves issue is so big a issue that is it is not possible for any one political party to turn it into a partisan matter, for we welcome all political parties, or members or groups in such parties, to come out to work together to save Batu Caves.

I would therefore urge the established environmentalist and conservationist organisations to come forward to provide the leadership for the organisation of such a Batu Caves Day.

To avoid misunderstanding among conservationist and environmentalist groups that the DAP is bent on turning this into a DAP issue, the DAP cannot and will not for the immediate moment play the leading role in organising such a Batu Caves Day. We are prepaid to play subsidiary roles if the established conservationist and environmentalist groups would take the initiative to organise such a Batu Caves Day.

Gerakan, after Dr.Lim Keng Yiak’s take-over, is still the Gerakan of Dr.Lim Chong Eu

The Gerakan show in Port Dickson has ended with the triumph of Dr.Lim Keng Yaik over his opponent, Datuk Paul Leong for the Gerakan President post. The Gerakan show at Port Dickson is interesting for it shows that Dr.Lim Chong Eu not only lost touch with the aspirations of the ordinary Malaysians – as evidenced by the continued decline of popular support for Gerakan, particularly in Penang – but also that Dr.Lim Chong Eu had lost touch with his own party.

Although he had been appointed advisor for life for Gerakan, his last advice to Gerakan on his “1-2-3” formula of Gerakan leadership had been completely rejected by the Gerakan delegates.

Clearly, Dr.Lim Chong Eu’s advice is not going to be much needed.

This development of personality differences and clashes, however, should not blind the people to the fact ^ , after Dr.Lim Keng Yaik’s take-over, is no different from the Gerakan of Dr.Lim Chong Eu.

Gerakan , under Dr.Lim Keng Yaik’s leadership, continues to oppose the wide-range of political, educational, economic social and cultural aspirations of the people.

For instance, dare Dr.Lim Keng Yiak send out a directive to Gerakan MPs and Ministers to vote for any proposal, whether emanating from DAP or anywhere, calling for the repeal of Claise 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act? Would Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, for instance, support any move by DAP or any other body, seeking Parliamentary approval for the establishment of the Merdeka University?

Dr.Lim Keng Yaik came up in politics through his vociferous assertion that the Malaysian Chinese must unite to save and protect themselves. After being expelled from MCA, Dr.Lim Keng Yaik now spends his time in Gerakan asserting that all that he had spoken about in his MCA days had been completely wrong and against the national interest.

Is Dr.Lim Keng Yaik sincere in all these statements of his, or is he and his Party more interested in getting more allocation of Parliamentary and State Assembly seats in the next general elections, as was resolved by the delegates of Gerakan in Port Dickson? If this is not opportunism of the worst sort, I do not know what is.

Gerakan under Dr.Lim Chong Eu was famous for running away from issues, like Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, Merdeka University amendment of Universities and University Colleges Act to permit the establishment of private universities, corruption, governmental loureaucracy, inefficiency and incompetence.

Can Dr.Lim Keng Yaik show in what way Gerakan under his leadership would be different from Gerakan under Dr.Lim Chong Eu – which is going against the mainstream of the hopes and aspirations of ordinary Malaysians?

For instance, State Excos are supposed so become full time with effect from July 1, 1980, and all business or professional activities. We know that there are State Excos throughout the country are opposed to it, because there State Excos members make tons of money in their private trading and business activities through their positions in the State Executive Council.

Can Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, who is a Perak State Exco, explain why he and the State Exco are dragging their feet from immediately implementing this system of full-time Excos, principally to prevent corruption or malpractices or conflicts of interest?

The people can draw their own conclusion if Dr. Lim Keng Yaik has an answer to these questions.