Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Tasek Ampang DAP Branch Dinner to commemorate the Party’s l5th Anniversary on Saturday, 14th Nov. l98l at 8 pm
Lim Kit Siang prepared to meet Lee San Choon and Lim Keng Yaik to discuss a common action programme against the constant encroachments of non-Malay rights under the NEP by UMNO Youth Leader, Haji Suhaimi Kamaruddin
A few days ago, in a speech in Muar, Mr. Sim Moh Yu, asked whether we have reached a stage where the five million Malaysian Chinese cannot stop the extremist demands of one Haji Suhaimi Kamarrudin.
I believe that we have not reached that stage, and that there are still many ways to resist any extremist encroachments on the legitimate rights of the people, whether under the New Economic Policy or the Malaysian Constitution.
In a system of parliamentary democracy, the people as a whole would not be able to manifest their opposition and condemnation of Haji Suhaimi’s repeated extremist encroachment until a general elections, which is normally held once in five years. The next general elections, however, is expected some time in April next year, and until that time, the people as a whole would not have an opportunity to demonstrate their opposition to Haji Suhaimi’s extremist demands.
But in between general elections, it is the political parties, especially those in government, which have the duty and responsibility to represent the people’s views, in the state Assemblies, Parliament and in Cabinet.
In fact, Haji Suhaimi’s extremist demands could be easily stopped, for the simple reason that he is merely a Deputy Minister. The MCA, for instance, which proclaims itself as the real champion of the five million Malaysian Chinese, has four Ministers and five Deputy Ministers.
Surely, the MCA, with four Ministers and five Deputy Ministers, can stop one UMNO Youth Deputy Minister from rewriting and reinterpreting the New Economic Policy to his extremist likes and fancy!
Before the l978 General Elections, in a dialogue between MCA Ministers and the Selangor Chinese clans and associations, Datuk Michael Chen, then No.2 man in MCA, said that in the Cabinet, if a single Minister is opposed to any policy, measure or action of the government, then the proposed policy, measure or action would be abandoned.
Here we have not one, but four MCA Ministers and five MCA Deputy Ministers who could easily veto any extremist demand of Haji Suhaimi from becoming government policy or action.
If Haji Suhaimi’s extremist demands like over the UMBC case and that of Dunlop Estates Bhd. are accepted and implemented by the Government, then it is as a result of the submission or agreement of the four MCA Ministers and five MCA Deputy Ministers.
The blame must therefore be equally borne by Haji Suhaimi and the MCA.
The question that Mr. Sim Moh Yu put, whether the five-million Malaysian Chinese could not resist the extremist demands of one Suhaimi, should be rephrased to be, whether the four MCA Ministers and five MCA Deputy Ministers could not resist the extremist demands of one Suhaimi, who is only a Deputy Minister.
If this is the position when Haji Suhaimi is merely a Deputy Minister, what will happen to the MCA when he becomes a full Minister?
For several months, various Chinese associations, clans and societies and in particular Tung Chung and Chiau Chung, had called for the joining of forces, and in particular, the DAP, Gerakan and MCA, to protect, safeguard and advance the basic and legitimate political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of Malaysian Chinese.
Although the DAP has grave reservations about the feasibility, and viability and practicability of such proposal, five months ago, on behalf of the DAP, I announced at the Malacca State DAP State Convention on July 26, that the DAP is prepared to attend a round-table conference with Tung Chung, Chiau Chung, Gerakan and MCA to discuss whether it is possible to reach a common action programme in Cabinet, Parliament, State Assemblies, to protect, safeguard and advance the legitimate political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of the Malaysian Chinese.
The DAP’s reservations have been virtually confirmed as in the past few months, neither the MCA nor the Gerakan had dared even to respond to the DAP’s preparedness to participate in such a round-table conference.
It is probably more realistic to deal with the problem of the increasing encroachment of the non-Malay rights under the New Economic Policy on a step-by-step basis. The problem now which has created the greatest concern is the unrelenting undermining of the NEP rights of the non-Malays by UMNO Youth and Haji Suhaimi, as demonstrated by Suhaimi’s series of demands in the last two years, culminating with the UMBC and Dunlop Estates Bhd. Issues.
For the sake of co-ordinating efforts to check effectively the encroachments on the non-Malay rights under the NEP by Haji Suhaimi and UMNO Youth, I am prepared to meet with Datuk Lee San Choon and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to work out a common line of action inside and outside Government.
It is now up to Datuk Lee and Dr. Lim to show whether they are prepared to respond. If not, then all talk of even a round-table conference of the Tung Chung, Chiau Chung, DAP, MCA and Gerakan are clearly very unrealistic.