Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP Headquarters in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 30th July 1981 at 5 pm on the release of Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit after 4 years 9 months detention under Internal Security Act.
Chian Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit, the matyrs of Chinese Education, should be shining examples to all dedicated political workers for the goal of a democratic socialist, Malaysian Malaysia.
The DAP welcome the release of DAP MPs, Chian Heng Kai (Batu Gajah and Assemblyman for Pasir Puteh), DAP National Publicity Secretary, and Chan Kok Kit (Sungai Besi), DAP Deputy National Treasurer, and the release of other 19 ISA detainees, including PSRN President, Kassim Ahmad, and former Deputy Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahamd.
The Prime Minister, Dr, Mahathir Mohamed, has honoured his commitment which he made publicly on July 18, and privately to me on July 16 when I made a courtesy call on him to congratulate him on his becoming Prime Minister, that he intended to review the ISA cases, including the cases of the two DAP MPs.
I with to thank Dr. Mahathir and the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, for releasing the detainees, and in particular Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit.
Both Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit were detained under the Internal Security Act on Nov. 3, 1976, and have been held in detention for 4 years and 9 months. Both of them could have won freedom long ago if they were prepared to appear on television and go against their conscience and the DAP’s political objectives and struggle by declaring that what they had said and done in the past in the defence of the constitutional position of mother-tongue education in general, and Chinese education, in particular were wrong and misguided.
But both Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit stood their ground, and despite the loss of precious individual liberties and separation from their families and loved ones, demonstrated their indomitable spirit and courage to pay the price for their political convictions.
At a time when we see so many political figures, whether MPs, State Assemblymen or other-level officials who are prepared to betray their parties and political principles for $50,000, $300,000 or $500,000, Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chen Kok Kit stand out as shining examples of what dedicated political workers in Malaysia must aspire to be if they are to achieve anything useful for society and future generations.
Sde. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan ok Kit are the matyrs of Chinese education, and through their sufferings and sacrifices, it should give great courage to all others to stand for their basic right as a Malaysian to their legitimate constitutional, political, economic, educational, social and cultural birthrights.
Dr. Mahathir’s premiership has made a good start to improve the human rights record and image of Malaysia. Human rights are not a luxury but a pre-condition for a functioning democracy.
I would urge the Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, to review all cases of ISA detainees, and in particular to allow an all-party Parliamentary team to visit the Kamunting and Batu Gajah detention camps to in meet with every detainees to ascertain about their treatment and conditions.
I would also urge on the Home Affairs Minister to review every one of the 500 over detainees currently still held under the Internal Security Act with a view to release them or charge them in open court, for detention without trail for an indefinite period is a gross violation of basic human rights and freedoms.
I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute, on behalf of the Party, to the families of Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit, in particular to Sdri. Tan Chui Swee (Mrs. Chian Heng Kai) and the late Mrs. Chan Kok Kit, for their courage and steadfastness in giving full backing to our two DAP MPs while in detention.
During the 4 years and 9 months’ of their detentions, both Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit had been taken away from the Party and Their Constituencies. With their release, they would now be able to tend to their constituencies, and even more important, play a very important role in the Party’s development and plans for the 1980s.