Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when declaring open the Johore DAP State Second Ordinary State Convention in Kluang on Sunday, 16th August 1981 at 9.30a.m.
DAP accuses MCA and Gerakan conspiracy of not wanting to have young Malaysians, in particular young Malaysian Chinese, registered as voters, for they cannot get their voter in elections.
The National Voters’ Registration Exercise this year begins tomorrow, lasting for 42days until Sept. 27. Yesterday’s press reported that the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy UMNO President, Datuk Musa Hitam, has directed UMNO to launch a national campaign to get the maximum registration of eligible Malays as voters.
For the past few years, the only political parties in Malaysia which had made a special national effort to get eligible voters Malaysians who have reached 21 years of age to register as voters are UMNO and the DAP.
MCA and Gerakan , despite their recent difference, are in fact together in a conspiracy all these years of not wanting to have young Malaysians, in particular Malaysian Chinese youths, registered as voters, for the MCA and Gerakan know that the votes of the youths do not belong to them in general elections.
MCA and Gerakan have often lamented that the Malaysian Chinese do not have political power, yet they are the very ones who are responsible for this state of affairs in not ensuring that every Malaysian youth, Chinese who has come of age, is registered as a voter.
This is why we have the spectacle every year of UMNO calling dr. Maly national leaders urging the Malays to register as voters, but not the MCA or the Gerakan national leaders.
The MCA claims to be the true representatives of the five million Malaysian Chinese, but they do not want young Malaysian Chinese to register as voters, for they know that the more young Malaysian Chinese register as voters, the hr harder it is for the MCA to got elected to win Parliamentary and State Gen Assembly elec seats.
We have therefore the paradox of the MCA, claiming to be the chq representative of five million C Malaysian Chinese, wanting really the UMNO to register more Malay votes, for MCA Ministers and MPs have to depend on UMNO’s Malay votes to win.
The DAP wants all Malaysians who have reached 21 years of age, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, to register as voters so that they could exercise their responsibility as Malaysian citizens to decide Malaysia’s destiny. This is why the DAP had all along advocated the automatic registration of voters, which is strongly opposed Barisan component parties, and in particular MCA and Gerakan.
Recently, Chinese associations, clans and societies have expressed concern about the ever-deteriorating political, economic, educational and social rights of Malaysians Chinsese, and have even suggested that political parties like the MCA, Gerakan and DAP together with Tung Chung and Chiau Chung should try to work out a common front.
The DAP has expressed our preparedness to attend any such round-table conference to work out an action common front to defend and promote the legitimate Constitutional rights of Malaysian Chinese, just as we are prepared to sit down to a round-table conference to join forces to protect and promote the legitimate Constitutional rights of the other communities.
The MCA leaders have been keeping very silent about this proposal. Gerakan leaders, while in private indicating their interest, have publicly claimed that their Central Executive Committee had not discussed the matter, although their Central Executive Committee met as recently as/August/early.
Be that as it may, I would urge all Chinese clans, associations and societies, and in particular Tung Chung and Chiau Chung, which have been concerned about the future of Malaysian Chinese with regard to their legitimate political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights, to spend the next 42 days getting everyone who has reached 21 years and not registered as a voter to be registered. Otherwise, without a vote to cast in elections, one can only complain and grumble, without the political wherewithal to help decide political destiny of the country.
DAP supports shake-up of civil service.
The Mahathir-Musa government has started with a shake-up of the civil service, introducing clocking-in and out for civil servants. However, the DAP must caution the Mahathir-Musa leadership that a competent, committed, courteous and clean civil service could not be created by the introduction of a mechanical device. An entirely new philosophy of service to the people, and not lording over the people, must be imbued in the 700,000 public servants.
The DAP supports a shake-up of civil service, to impress on civil servants that they are the employees of the people, and not, as they tend to behave, the masters of the people.
I also commend the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, during his visit to Johore, directing the closing down of two subsidiaries of KEJORA and the giving of six months to two other Kejora subsidiaries to buck up or close down.
The vast proliferation of public enterprises, subsidiaries and other generations of subsidiaries and associated companies has created a situation where public enterprises and government agencies duplicate or compete with each other, and where the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
As the Minister in charge of overseering the government machinery, Datuk Musa Hitam should seek to rationalise and streamline these government agencies and public enterprises to pare down to the maximum unnecessary duplication and waste.
For a start, the JOHORE SEDC’s joint venture to set up a SEDC private hospital with private investors should be terminated, for it duplicates not only the services meant to be performed by an entire Federal Ministry, the Health Ministry, but is using public funds for the benefit of a small group of haves and rich as the poor farmers, workers and fisherman would not be able to afford the high fees charged by the SEDC private hospital. If the SEDC private hospital project is allowed, one day public enterprises will be having all sorts of duplications, like UDA primary schools, PERNAS hospitals, MARA clinics, etc.
DAP calls on Johore Mentri Besar to honour pledge to resolve satisfactorily the Kuala Kabong squatter case.
I regret that up till now, the Kuala Kabong squatter problem has not yet been resolved satisfactorily. The Johore State Government has a duty to speedily resolve this problem, affecting some 20,000 acres of land which have cultivated with rubber, oil palm, vegetables and other crops for the last 20 years, in a way whereby the people who have invested their meagre capital, sweat and toil would not become the losers.
In fact, the MCA officials in Kulai and Johore must bear full responsibility for the plight now being faced by the some 1,500 squatter families, who have seen the fruits of their labours and investment since 1959 destroyed with the government take-over in March this year.
This is because it was the MCA officials in the first instance who promised the squatters in Kuala Kabong that in they could get land for cultivation, and monies passed to the MCA officials.
Now, the 1,500 Kuala Kabong squatters have found that they have no legal title, and that the MCA officials have failed them.
Although strictly from the legal point of view, the 1,500 Kuala Kabong squatters have no legal title, the Johore State Government has a moral, social and political obligation to legalise their cultivation because:
1. The Johore State Government, through the Kulai Land Office, had received applications for the land concerned from the squatters of their predecessors, as far back as 1959, which is supported by land office documents;
2. The Johore State Government, thorugh the Kulai Land Office, were aware and knew that the Kuala Kabong land were being cultivated with rubber trees, oil palm, vegetables and other crops, and by allowing them to cultivate without at any time preventing them or telling them that they were committing an illegal act,/had in fact given tacit approval for the cultivation;/the Government.
3. In 1976 and 1977, the Kuala Kabong farmers were called up by the Kulai Land Office for interviews, and a survey was taken about their particular crops, and they were given toun understand that the interviews and surveys were part of the process towards issuing of title of the land to them;
A government’s primary duty and responsibility is to resolve problems from a humanitarian and socio-economic standpoint, and not to stand on fine points of law which would create gravehon is hardships to the people.
I call on the Johore Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Osman Saat to immediately resolve the Kuala Kabong farming land issue by:
1. Legalising their cultivation and land by the issue of titles;
2. Allow all the Kuala Kabong farmers to enter their land to harvest their crops;
3. Drop all charges against Kuala Kabong farmers who had tried to enter their land to harvest the crops which they had spent their own labour and capital to plant.
I am not interested in quarrelling with Kuala Kabong squatter committee members, who are in fact MCA members and officials, who should in fact be responsible for the troubles being faced by the Kuala Kabong farmers.
If the MCA can resolve the problem satisfactorily, I will be very happy. But from the great delays involved, it would appear that the MCA Exco members and other State leaders are in fact shirking their responsibility and the problems which are created in the first place by Johore MCA people.
The DAP, and the people of Johore and Malaysia, regards the Kuala Kabong case as a test-case as to whether under the new Mahathir-Musa administration, the Barisan Nasional government at Federal and State levels would resolve the people’s problems with the aim of promoting their socio-economic welfare, rather than to deprive them of their rice-bowls.