Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP 15th Anniversary Congress Dinner at Petaling Jaya Civic Centre on Saturday, 29th August 1981 at 8p.m
DAP challenge to Datuk Lee San Choon to pick up any one of the eight DAP constituencies of Kuala Lumpur Bandar, Sungai Besi, Petaling, Ipoh, Menglembu, Tanjong, Seremban and Malacca to have a by-election for him to prove whether he is qualified to represent the Malaysian Chinese
Last week, the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon, suggested that the DAP and Gerakan should dissolve and merge with the MCA and then talk and fight for the interests of the Malaysian Chinese in the country.
I had described Datuk Lee San Choon as an Emperor without clothes of the children story for primary school students, of how an Emperor strutted around preening himself about his new and most beautiful clothes, when in fact he was naked, and none of his subjects dare tell him the truth that he had no clothes.
This is because although the MCA claims to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese, it has no qualification whatsoever to represent the Malaysian Chinese. In the last general elections, for instance, the DAP secured 660,000 votes, while the MCA, on its own excluding UMNO’s Malay votes, managed to get only about 200,000 votes.
The MCA Ministers and leaders know that they are not fit to represent the Malaysian Chinese, and this was why they dare not stand in predominantly Chinese constituencies but invariably had to choose constituencies where they could win on the strength of UMNO’s Malay votes.
This is also why in the MCA had never launched a national campaign to get the Malaysian Chinese to register as voters, like UMNO, for MCA Ministers and leaders fear that if more Malaysian Chinese register as voters, the less votes they would get in future elections.
Datuk Lee is therefore a modern-day Emperor without clothes, claiming to represent the Malaysian Chinese, when he is not fit to do so and unrecognised by the Malaysian Chinese themselves. But unlike the Emperor without clothes of the children’s tale, Datuk Lee is an Emperor without Clothes who is aware that he is himself naked.
This was why after y comment about Datuk Lee’s lack of right and qualification to continue to claim spurious representation of the Malaysian Chinese, he asked his henchman in Ipoh to challenge me to contest in Malay areas, in return for which the MCA would contest in Chinese areas. Clearly, the MCA leaders dare not contest in Chinese areas unless the DAP stay out of the constituencies.
Datuk Lee should be realise that one reason why he has never been able to get the respect, confidence and trust of the Malaysian Chinese is that although he claims to be the leader of the Malaysian Chinese, he dared not contest in a predominantly-Chinese constituency, securing his mandate from the Malaysian Chinese? What type of a leader of the Malaysian Chinese is Datuk Lee when he had to depend on his Parliamentary elections on UMNO’s Malay votes? Does Datuk Lee and the MCA represent the Malaysian Chinese to UMNO, or represent UMNO to the Malaysian Chinese?
The DAP is prepared to give Datuk Lee an immediate opportunity to legitimise his claim, and the DAP challenges Datuk Lee to pick andy one of the eight DAP constituencies won by the DAP in the 1978 general elections, namely Kuala Lumpur Bandar, Sungai Besi, Petaling, Ipoh, Menglembu, Tanjong,
Seremban and Kota Melaka, to have an immediate by-election. The DAP MPs in these constituencies
are prepared to resign immediately and give Datukk Lee an opportunity to have a by-election to prove that in a predominantly Chinese constituency, he could win. I believe if Datuk Lee stand in these constituencies, he would be struggling not for victory, but to save his deposit! Two of these eight constituencies namely Tanjong and Kota Melaka are now being held by MCA, not through open general elections (which MCA or even Datuk Lee stands no chance) but by the MCA’s famous political brand of ‘buying and selling’ behind the scene.
For over 20 years, the MCA leaders have been misrepresenting the rights, interests, aspirations and needs of the Malaysian Chinese. They have bartered away the basic and fundamental rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese, whether politically, economically, educationally, culturally or socially, in return for position, wealth, status and advancement for MCA leaders.
Those who are genuinely concerned about the basic rights and interests of Malaysian Chinese will never join or support the MCA, for to join or support the MCA is to give legitimacy to the very policies which had so seriously eroded away their basic rights and interests.
There are six important reasons why Malaysian Chinese should reject and repudiate the MCA, and join or support it, for otherwise it would mean to support the MCA in the following policies:
Endorse the MCA’s position of opposing the repeal of Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act. So long as Clause 21(2) remains, so long is the future of Chinese primary schools subject to the political whims and fancies of those in power.
Endorse the MCA’s position in the Barisan Nasional government in neglecting the developmental needs of Chinese primary schools. For instance, under the Fourth Malaysia Plan 1981-85, $630 million will be spent on primary schools, out of which a meagre 7.5% or $45 million will go towards the development of the over 1,000 Chinese primary schools. From 1971-78, Chinese primary schools only reeived 7% of the total development expenditure for primary schools, i.e. $18 million out of a total expenditure of $239 million!
Endorse the MCA’s position of opposing the establishment of Merdeka University to expand university places for Malaysian students and to create mother-tongue university education opportunities for graduates from Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
Endorse the MCA’s position in the Barisan Nasional in permitting the denial of fair higher university places in local universities for eligible and qualified Chinese and non-Malay students. By establishing the KOJADI, the MCA has surrendered two important rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese:
that Malaysian Chinese students are not entitled to fair higher education opportunities at home although their parents contribute to the taxes and revenue of the government;
that Malaysian cannot buy universities abroad to assure higher education opportunities for
Malaysian Chinese students, like the repeated announcement by top MCA leaders that KOJADI has no intention purchasing a university in Canada.
Endorse the MCA’s position of supporting the amendments to the Societies Act which seeks to silence, societies like Chinese guilds, clans and associations from continuing to voice and reflect legitimate Malaysian Chinese rights, interests, aspirations and needs. The recent warning by the Registrar of societies to the Tung Chung that it had exceeded its constitutional boundaries by expressing opposition to the Societies Act amendments is an indication of the constaints and restrictions which societies will face under the amendments.
Endorse the MCA’s use of the politics of money to find material and monetary self-advancement. It is precisely this Achilles’ heel of the MCA which has enabled UMNO to compel MCA to give support on crucial political, economic, educational and cultural decisions which face widespread opposition from the Chinese community.