Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, to the Petaling DAP Liaison Committee meeting held at Serdang Lama, Selangor, on Friday, Sept. 25, 1981 at 8 p.m.
MCA Week and MCA General Assemblies further jeopardize the political position of the Malaysian Chinese.
For a week last week, the MCA tried to dazzle the people with a display of wealth, pomp and ‘power’, with the launching of a MCA Week, the opening of the 23-storey $40 million Wisma MCA, and the grand staging of the 29th General Assemblies of the MCA Youth and MCA where the MCA tried to show that it has political ‘power’ by demanding for the appointment of a Second Deputy Prime Minister from he MCA.
In the event, the MCA Week fizzled out like a damp squib and the the entire MCA spectacular further jeopardize the political position of the Malaysian Chinese, rather than enhancing it.
There were al least three instance where the entire MCA spectacular has undermined and weakened the political position of the Malaysian Chinese, which the MCA claims to represent.
Firstly, in launching the MCA Week at Wisma MCA on 12th Sept. 1981, the former MCA President, Tun Tan Siew Sin, made the unfortunate and uncalled for remark that “ that a number of Chinese still regard themselves as overseas Chinese as evidenced by the fact that the word ‘oversea’ or ‘overseas’ is used in the names of many Chinese banks and businesses”.
This statement made by the former MCA President, at the official opening of the MCA Week, carrying the full imprimatur of the MCA, is a great disservice to the Malaysian Chinese, the overwhelming majority of majority of Malaysian Chinese are completely Malaysian in every sense of the word. Born, bred and educated in Malaysia, without any association or relations with China, the Malaysian-born Chinese are as Malaysian as the Malays for instance, in that their sense, sights, smells and experiences are full-bloodedly Malaysian!
Those who have migrated to Australia and New Zealand migrate as Malaysian Chinese, and not as Chinese per so, as could as distinct from Hong Kong Chinese or Taiwan Chinese for instance.
Malaysian Chinese who emigrated to Australia hope that when conditions improve, and they could be assured that their children’s education would not be discriminated against, they would like to return to Malaysia. They have no thought whatsoever about going to China.
The majority of banks and business using’ Overseas’ and ‘Oversea’ as mentioned by Tun Tan Siew Sin are pre-Merdeka, have no special connotation.
But Tun Tan’s remark is most unfortunate in that he has provided extremists who are looking for justifications to doubt the loyalty of Malaysian Chinese to reinforce their attack on the legitimate constitutional position of the Malaysian Chinese in the country.
It is most deplorable that the lannching of the MCA Week should provide the most recent and usable ammunition for the extremists to attack the legitimate place of Malaysian Chinese in the country.
Secondly, the charade of the MCA Youth Resolution for a Second Deputy Prime Minister to be appointed from the MCA! The MCA Youth Leader, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, inspired this idea in order to show what a great champion of the Malaysian Chinese he is.
This reminds me of his slogan a few years ago when he shouted for the ‘restoration of the self-respect of the Malaysian Chinese’. When I asked him who had caused the Malaysian Chinese to lose their self-respect to necessite a restoration movement, Datuk Lee kept quiet and abandoned his slogan!
I think the MCA during the last week set a new record by inviting a guest speaker to give it a fierce public scolding. For independent observers are unanimous in concluding that Dr. Mahathir’s speech at the opening of the 29th MCA General Assembly was nothing but a public scolding of the MCA not to upset the status quo in the Barisan Nasional, and his outright dismissal of the MCA Youth proposal of a Second Deputy Prime Minister from the MCA as a ‘non-starter’.
A s result, after all the brave noises and chest-thumping about the righteousness of having a Second MCA Deputy Prime minister , the MCA General Assembly dare not even take a decision on the ＭCA Youth Resolution. This must again be another new record for the ＭCA.
The UMNO Secretary-General, Datuk Mustafa Jabbar, said on Tuesday that as far as UMNO is concerned, the issue of a Second MCA Deputy Prime Minister is closed! Never in Barisan or Alliance history, has a MCA General Assembly resolution been so instantly, and with such finality, been killed!
Can the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon, ever thought he could kill a resolution before the UMN O General Assembly in this fashion?
By making call for a Second Deputy Prime Minister from the MCA, the MCA had in fact exposed the Malaysian Chinese to ridicule. For MCA should know that its strength in government, its able to have Ministers and MPs, is all because of UMNO’s Malay votes. In fact, MCA’s ranking in Cabinet continued to slip, from the third Cabinet post of Finance Minister to the unranked post of Minister for Transport. The MCA President has the dubious distinction of taking over the Cabinet post of the former MIC President, Tan Sri Manickavasagam.
In creating a situation where the UMNO leadership could dismiss so outrightly and publicly a MCA General Assembly Resolution, the MCA has only further undermined the political position of the Malaysian Chinese.
But the third instance is the most serious of all. In building and opening its 23-storey $40 million Wisma MCA, the MCA flaunted its wealth and opulence most obscenely and ostentatiously, with most damaging consequences.
Although politically impotent in the Barisan Nasional, the MCA has now the most expensive and grand party headquarters, bigger, grander and more expensive than the UMNO’s party headquarters.
The Wisma MCA will be a standing reminder to UMNO extremists that despite 10 years of the New Economic Policy, and the political dominance of UMNO ever since Merdeka, the Malays are still far far behind the Chinese as symbolized by MCA’s Wisma MCA.
It will rein force stereotype images of the Malays that the Chinese are the real beneficiaries of the NEP, that UMNO must not only have a national hoadquarters many times the price of the NEP, that UMNO must not only have a national hoadquarters many time the price of Wisma MCA as commensurate with its predominant political role in Barisan, but that NEP targets should be revised to ensure that the Malay catch up with the Chinese. There is therefore likely to be more calls for upping the 30% targets for bumiputras in the NEP to 51% because of the symbolic presence of Wisma MCA and also for the slowing down of the economic development of non-Malays.
The ordinary Malays will not know, and the extremists will ignore, the fact that the wealth of MCA as symbolized in Wisma MCA, is not the wealth of the Malaysian Chinese masses, but of a handful of MCA towkay-leaders who have prepared greatly from their political involvements.
The MCA has truly lived up to its nick-name of ‘Money Collecting Association’, but this is the money of the MCA tycoons, and not of the Chinese masses, who are in fact the most critical political, economic, facing educational, social and cultural problems since Merdeka.
At the opening of the Wisma MCA, the local press noted the absence of the Gerakan. They should have noted the absence of Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Musa Hitam, for it is inconceivable that at the opening of UMNO headquarters, Datuk Lee San Choon or Richard Ho would be absent.
For the opening of Wisma MCA and for the MCA Week Exhibitions, the MCA compelled Tunku Abdul Rahman College students to pack the crowds in ordinary clothes. For this purpose, Tunku Abdul Rahman College’s vacation was postponed for a week- and the 6,000- odd College students had to take part in the MCA show!
It is time that the MCA stop thinking about money-making and wealth accumulating, but should sit down to do its elementary duty as a political party- to restore the political rights and position that legitimately belong to the Malaysian Chinese, but which have been eroded and lost through the MCA’s sacrifice of political right for money-making opportunities.
Otherwise, the MCA can put up even more Wisma MCAs, but the rights and position of the ordinary Malaysian Chinese will become even more and more untenable.