Expose of Chan Teck Chan’s secret talks with Datuk Tan Cheng Swee in Malacca five years ago

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Negri Sembilan State DAP Committee meeting held at Titi, on Saturday, 23rd May 1981 at 4 p.m.

Expose of Chan Teck Chan’s secret talks with Datuk Tan Cheng Swee in Malacca five years ago

In my 15 years of political experience, I have become across many types of political personalities. But what is most important for a political worker is character, political integrity and honesty, if one is to achieve anything for the people’s rights and interests.

Of course, if the objective is to pursue self-interest through the political process, then character, political integrity and honesty are unnecessary obstacles.

In the party’s 15 year history, we have seen many persons who after having been elected as MP or State Assemblymen show their true colours, renege on all the pledges and promises they make to party and people, and relentlessly embark on the pursuit of self-interest although still claiming that they are doing so for the public welfare.

From 1969-1974, after our first general elections, the DAP lost 4 MPs and 12 State Assemblymen through betrayals, expulsions and defections, but the Party went on to secure even greater support in the 1974 and 1978 general elections.

For the present batch of MPs and State Assemblymen won during the 1978 general elections, we have lost 3 MPs and 7 State Assemblymen, and I am confident that just as in 1974, the betrayals of people without principle and political integrity will not retard the forward movement of the Party for the party as a whole continues to keep faith with the people as to our ideals and objectives.

Of all the 30 MPs or State Assemblymen who in the last 15 years had betrayed the DAP and the people’s hopes and aspirations, Chan Teck Chan has proved to be the most destructive, unprincipled and despicable.

Tomorrow, he would be joining the MCA, which he had publicly declared so many times that he would never join as it has failed the Malaysian Chinese in the country.

He accused me of being dictatorial after the party had given him and his Gang some five months to carry out a malicious campaign to try to destroy the DAP’s image and credibility, while he worship Datuk Lee San Choon as a ‘democrat’ who would sack any MCA member for issuing any Press Statement critical of anyone in the MCA leadership.

Chan Teck Chan said that he had visited the Malacca electors and that in the first instance, 97% of the people supported his joining the MCA. This reminds me of the claim by the Russian puppet Heng Samrin of Cambodia who recently claimed that the people of Cambodia in an elections voted 99 per cent for his leadership!

On looking back, it is now obvious that five years ago, Chan Teck Chan was already seeking to join the MCA until he was warned off.

Five years ago, in early 1976, Chan Teck Chan started visiting Datuk Tan Cheng Swee, then MCA Malacca Chairman and State Exco member, in his Bukit China house without consultation or knowledge of DAP leaders.

When he was asked by party members what he was doing so often in Datuk Tan Cheng Swee’s house (as his visits in the heart of the town could not be kept a secret), Chan claimed that he had got my consent and was to discuss the State Government’s decision to freeze all applications for sub-division of land.

Just before the Chinese New Year in early 1976, UMNO Malacca passed a resolution to demolish Bukit China, completely disregarding the sensitivities of the Malacca Chinese.

This UMNO Malacca resolution was supported by MCA Kandang branch. I told Chan Teck Chan to issue a statement on behalf of the party to condemn the UMNO Malacca resolution and also MCA Kandang branch. But Chan Teck Chan did not do so. Instead, he again went to visit Datuk Tan Cheng Swee, which he later claimed to find out what the whole Bukit China issue was all about.

When Chan Teck Chan’s frequent visits to Datuk Tan Cheng Swee’s house became the talk of Malacca town, I summoned Chan Teck Chan to my house one night and told him in no uncertain terms that his actions was compromising his position in the DAP, and that although the MCA was looking for someone to lead Malacca MCA, (as at that time Datuk Tan Cheng Swee had already been charged with corruption), he should not fall for the bait.

When confronted, Chan Teck Chan protested that he had no ill motivations in making frequent visits to Datuk Tan Cheng Swee’s house, and declared that he would never betray the DAP and that time would exonerate him. Chan’s visits to Datuk Tan Cheng Swee’s house then stopped.

On looking back now, it is clear that Chan Teck Chan’s could not resist MCA’s temptations for long. In fact, a few days before he was expelled from the party, Chan came to my house and said that whatever may happen to him, he could assure me one thing, that he would never join the MCA.

He said he wanted to specially make his position about never joining the MCA clear to me as he may not be in the DAP for long, so that I, he said, who had brought him to what he was today, would not be ‘disappointed’ in him.

It was obvious that at that time, Chan Teck Chan wanted to show that he had the confidence and power to form a separate political party to serve the Barisan interests to destroy the DAP – which even the MCA could not do. If Chan Teck Chan could perform a second Mohamed Nasir, who split and nearly destroyed PAS for UMNO, then his value to Barisan would be even higher than Datuk Lee San Choon.

But Chan Teck Chan over-rated himself and after finding that those he approached to join him in forming a new party, with the objective of destroying the DAP, refused to associate with his politics of no integrity and no principle, he has now to crawl into the MCA under high-sounding pretences.

Chan Teck Chan is quite a imitator n politics. He has been imitating the DAP leadership without an original idea of his own. He tried to imitate Tan Tiong Hong about claiming to get the views of the electors about joining the MCA. He also imitate UMNO Youth President, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, about giving the impression of fighting for funds for Chinese primary schools.

I do not believe that the Malacca electorate can be so easily misled by Chan Teck Chan. In fact, Chan Teck Chan knows this. This is why although he claims that 97% of the people he met in the first round supported his joining MCA, he dare not vacate his parliamentary and State Assembly seat (which he has sworn on oath to do), to allow 97% of the Malacca voters to return him – for he may get 97% of the voters repudiating him!

The three words of Chan Teck Chan will go down into Malaysian history as representing political dishonesty, treachery and betrayal – just like Wang Chin-wei, Wu San-Kui and Chin-Kwai have themselves become classic representations of political attributes which generations to come teach their children to condemn and abhor.