by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 12.2.1982
DAP calls on Datuk Musa Hitam not to impose a virtual ban on public criticisnm of the 3M as it will block a proper feedback of parental views and would be most undemocratic.
Two events yesterday cannot but raise grave concern about the commitment of the Mahathir-Musa Government to a democratic and open form of government the public and the people are allowed the freest expression of their views.
In Kuala Lumpur, the City Police rejected the application of the Chinese Assembly Hall to hold a meeting of Chinese organisations, guilds and associations on Sunday to discuss the feedback on the 3Rs under Regulation 3 (Restrictions on Processions and Meeting in a Security Area) Regulations 1966 on the ground that it is likely to be prejudicial to public security.
In Ipoh, the Perak Police stopped a meeting to be held by the Perak Chinese School Council and representatives of eight Chinese primary schools to discuss the 3R issue under the same Regulation.
Have we reached a stage where the 3Rs has become the ‘fifth sensitive issue’ which could not be criticised or questioned, but merely praised and supported?
At least in the four sensitive issues which could hot be questioned, namely the position of the Rulers, National Language, citizenship and Malay Special Rights, Parliament amended the Constitution to provide for their ‘untouchability’.
But who decided that the 3R should be put on par with these four sensitive subjects, to the extent that nobody is permitted to criticise or question the 3M?
This governmental decision to impose a virtual ban on criticism of 3M is most undemocratic, and should be an eye-opener to the people in the country of the danger of excessive powers in the hands of a government which enjoys too great a parliamentary majority.
If the authorities can today decide that the 3R is a subject which could not be publicly criticised, then tomorrow the authorities can extend such powers to other subjects, like the widespread criticism about university student intake, discrimination against Chinese primary schools in terms of allocation of development grants, the lopsided and unfair TV and Radio programmes which do not give adequate coverage for the other languages and cultures, the violation of human rights under the Internal Security Act, corruption and the various abuses of governmental power.
The MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and MIC in the Barisan Nasional have all become ‘yes-man’, but have we reached a stage where every Malaysian must also become a ‘yes-man’ who have no right to say ‘No’ to government policies and measures?
I have no doubt that if organisations and associations want go hold public meetings to express their full support for 3M, the police would never prevent them.
When Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Musa took over as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, they gave the people the expectation that under their administration, there would be more democratic freedom for the people to express their views.
It is a great disappointment that even before the completion of one year of administration of the 2M leadership, subtle but powerful pressures are being applied to shut out democratic expressions in the country.
I would call on Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Musa to review and reconsider the direction the 2M government is taking in the area of fundamental rights, and in particular not to impose a virtual ban on public criticism of the 3M but to allow a genuine and proper public feedback on the system.
DAP calls for the extension by another week for the inspection of electoral rolls
The preparation of the electoral rolls for the coming 1982 general elections is most unsatisfactory and undemocratic in depriving many Malaysians of their fundamental right to vote.
Firstly, man centres where the electoral rolls are supposed to be exhibited do not have rolls, and the electors are unable to check whether their names are registered.
Secondly, the DAP have received complaints from throughout the country that large numbers of those who registered in last year’s voters’ registration exercise not only do not have their names in the electoral registers, they also did not get acknowledgement slips from the Elections Commission that they had registered.
Thirdly, there is prevalent complaint that those who had voted in the 1978 general elections have found that their names had disappeared.
A general elections could only be fair if there is a fair voters’ registration system, where every eligible voter is entitled to cast his vote.
In previous general elections, the Barisan Nasional government had used various electoral procedures to deny the people the right to vote and to choose the elected representative they want. For instance, in the 1974 general election, hundreds of thousands of eligible voters found on polling day that their names had been deleted and that they had lost their right to vote.
In the 1978 general elections, unprecedented number of Parliamentary and State Assembly candidates were disqualified on the most inconsequential and riduiculous of grounds, depriving the people the right to choose who should be their MP or Assemblyman.
Now, on the eve of the 1982 general elections, Malaysians find that the registration system had again blocked their right to exercise the vote in the coming general elections.
Viewed in the light of other developments in the political field, the DAP can only conclude that this is part of a larger pattern to deny the Opposition a democratic opportunity to seek the people’s mandate.
I would call on the Election Commission to extend by another week the inspection period so that the voters could check and inspect the electoral list whether their names had been arbitrarily deleted and names of those who had registered or voted in 1978 general elections fully restored to the Rolls.