Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, to the Perak State DAP Committee meeting at Perak DAP hqrs at Jalan Chamberlain, Ipoh on Friday, 11th Sept. 1981 at 8.30 p.m.
MCA and Gerakan should probably try to compose their differences first before any round-table conference as there is a wide divide between the DAP on the one hand and the component Barisan parties on MCA and Gerakan on the other.
Gerakan national vice president, and Gerakan Selangor State Secretary, Soong Siew Hoong, said in a Gerakan function in Petaling Jaya yesterday that the target of the MCA’s attack should be the DAP and not the Gerakan.
Song Siew Hoong suggested that the MCA and Gerakan should join hands to deal with the DAP.
In fact, I would suggest that the MCA and Gerakan should probably compose their differences forst before the round-table conference of the DAP, MCA, Gerakan as proposed by the Tung Chung and Chiau Chung is held. This is because there is a wide between the DAP on the one hand and the component parties of the Barisan, MCA and Gerakan, on the other.
The DAP has stated that we have grave reservations about the fruitfulness of such a round-table conference for we do not see, especially from the recent record of the MCA and the Gerakan, that they are capable of being party to a meaningful minimum common action programme to defend, protect and promote the legitimate constitutional, political, educational, economic, social and cultural rights and interests of Malaysian Chinese.
In fact, only last Sunday, the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon was talking about DAP about to ‘close shop’. Coming close on the public call by the UMNO Youth Leader, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin, for the ban of the DAP as being an obstacle to racial harmony, Datuk Lee’s Sunday statement in Penang must be seen as in response and accompaniment to Suhaimi’s demand.
What tricks Datuk Lee San Choon and Haji Suhaimi are both hatching to knock out the DAP, we are now worried or concerned. That the DAP can in the last 15 years withstood the Barisan and Alliance-inspired and engineered storms and crisis show that we have a resilience, solidity and strength which the Lee San Choon-Suhaimi axis cannot destroy se easily.
What we should be interested at the moment is whether the conditions are present whereby there could be a successful round-table conference as proposed by Tung Chung and Chiau Chung to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Malaysian Chinese.
I do not see these conditions present at the moment. I will give five examples to illustrate this, which demonstrate in my mind the complete absence of the qualities needed to bring into being, and to put in motion, a meaningful minimum action programme.
The MCA in the past year or so have confirmed that its political leadership is not prepared to take principled stands with wide-ranging repercussions on political future of the Malaysian Chinese.
1. Both the MCA and Gerakan are not prepared to take a firm and unequivocal stand in Parliament to condemn Haji Suhaimi for his repeated extremist and chauvinist speeches and demands. What is worse, Datuk Lee and Haji Suhaimi seemed to have struck up a bargain to try to destroy the DAP, including the extreme step of banning the DAP!
2. Although challenged, Datuk Lee and the MCA Ministers dare not respond to the DAP call on them to publicly declare their and their family’s assets to demonstrate that they are clean, honest and incorruptible, that they have no ill-gotten gains! At a period when the new UMNO leaders like Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Musa are asking for clean, honest and incorrupt politicians, and instituting measures like full-time Excos, MCA Excos are the most guilty in dragging their feet in to avoid complying wit the full-time Exco ruling.
3. The MCA’s role in victimizing Loot Ting Yu for his fearless espousal of the cause of Chinese education in the country. Is the MCA prepared to make amends and to take the necessary action to have Loot Ting Yu reinstated in the education service and his old post at Nam Chiau Chinese primary school in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur?
4. I have challenged Datuk Lee San Choon to pick any on of the eight constituencies won by the DAP in the 1978 general elections, viz. Kuala Lumpur Bandar, Sungei Besi, Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Menglembu, Tanjung, Seremban and Kota Melaka, to give him an opportunity to get legitimacy to his claim as leader of the five million Malaysian Chinese, but as expected, Datuk Lee dare not call his own bluff!
5. The indifference of the MCA to the current voters’ registration campaign, for the simple reason that the more Malaysian Chinese youths register themselves as voters, the more likely MCA Parliamentary and State Assembly candidates would be defeated.
However, because of the public expose of the MCA’s attitude on the voters’ registration campaign, where it in fact want UMNO to be more successful to get more Malays registered as voters to provide MCA Ministers and leaders he votes for their victory, MCA has printed some posters urging the people to register themselves. But their heart is not the campaign which is merely to try to disprove the DAP’s allegation. The MCA claim to have half a million members. If is it sincere in wanting the Chinese to half political power, why is it the MCA did not send its half a million members house-to-house throughout the country to get every eligible Malaysian Chinese to register as a voter?
However, despite the DAP’s reservations about the fruitfulness of a round-table conference of the DAP, MCA and the Gerakan, the DAP is prepared to participate in such a round-table conference, for we are always prepared on our part to make our contribution, as we have made these part 15 years, to the defense, protection and promotion of legitimate constitutional, political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of the Malaysian Chinese.