Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling , Lim Kit Siang, at the Petaling DAP Liaison Committee meeting to prepare for the 1982 general elections held at Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, March 24, 1982 at 8 pm
Challenge to Datuk Lee San Choon to stand in anyone of 12 designated seas to demonstrate that the MCA is qualified to claim that it represents the five million Chinese in the country.
With the 1982 general elections around the corner, the MCA leaders are going up and down the country calling on the Malaysian Chinese to give political support to the MCA.
This would be the most disastrous thing that could happen in the coming general elections, for it would then be an endorsement for the MCA’s policy of ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ with regard to the relentless erosion of the people’s basic constitutional, political, economic, educational and cultural rights.
The recent 3M issue is the best and most recent example of the MCA’s ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ policy, which ends up with three steps behind.
The announcement by the Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Daud, on Dec. 30 last year about the details of the 3M implementation in Chinese primary schools involves a five-step retreat in the battle to defend the character and integrity of mother-tongue education where our children maintain their cultural roots.
As a result there was widespread public protest and opposition, joined by the MCA not so much because the character of Chinese primary school would be affected but as in the words of MCA Secretary-General Tan Sri Chong Hong Nyan in a press conference on 11.1.1982 the MCA was concerned with the political consequences.
This clearly means that if the general elections were not so near, or if the general elections were over, and the MCA need not worry about such immediate political consequences, the MCA would now have bothered in giving the semblance of criticising the 3M implementation in Chinese primary schools.
In the event, after nearly the end of the entire first school term, there has not been any satisfactory modification of the 3M to fully satisfy the Chinese community about the continues preservation of the character and identity of Chinese primary schools.
There had been some minor modifications, like the addition of ten Chinese songs, and the government’s declaration that it has no objection to the MCA or anyone translating the teaching materials written originally in Bahasa Malaysia.
For such slight modifications, the MCA claim great victory and success and even expect the people to regard the MCA as great ‘heroes’. Having gone backwards five steps, and succeeding at best in going forward two steps, the MCA claims great success.
In fact, the MCA can be best described as a ‘Five Step Backwards, Two Steps Forwards’ political party though out its political history, with regard to its consistent retreat and surrender, step by step, of the basic constitutional, political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of the Malaysians.
As President of MCA, Datuk Lee San Choon, is of course the greatest exponent of the ‘Five Steps Backwards, Two Steps Forwards.’
Datuk Lee claims to represent the five million Chinese in this ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ policy, but the five million Chinese in Malaysia categorically reject such ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards policy’.
This is why we have the curious situation where the leader of a party which claims to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese stand in a constituency where his election is not dependent on the votes of the Malaysian Chinese whom he claims to be leading.
From the latest electoral figures, I understand that Datuk Lee’s Segamat Parliamentary constituency has only some 50 per cent Chinese electorate.
Datuk Lee dare not stand in constituencies where there are greater percentage of Chinese voters for the simple reason that he is likely to be decisively repudiated.
How can Datuk Lee and the MCA continue to claim to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese when he continues to run away from the Chinese electorate.
I challenge Datuk Lee to stand in anyone of the 12 parliamentary constituencies against the DAP in Kota Melaka, Seremban, Petaling, Kuala Lumpur Bandar, Sungei Besi, Kepong, Ipoh, Mengelembu, Batu Gajah, Tanjong, Jelutong or Bukit Bendera, to give him a chance to legitimise his and the MCA’s political claim.
I am prepared to stand against him in anyone of these 12 constituencies if he dares to accept the DAP challenge.
Call on DAP members and supporters to ensure a resounding DAP victory in Petaling which has become an even bigger constituency with 114,000 voters
Petaling continues to be the constituency with the biggest electorate, with the latest count of 114,000 voters. This is some five times bigger than some constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia.
If there is a fair system of one-man one-vote in Malaysia, the Petaling area should elect four or five MPs. But the Barisan would not allow this, for this would mean another three or four DAP MPs would be elected.
The DAP has to operate under the most unfair and undemocratic conditions in this elections. The ban on public rallies, the ban on radio political broadcasts, and the choice of a Thursday as polling day, are all aimed to cripple the DAP’s chances in the 1982 general elections.
In fact, I am worried that the DAP may lose several seats in the April 22 elections if the voters who work or have done to other states are unable to cast their votes. The government must declare April 22 a public holiday, if it is to allow a really fair political contest, and not continue to stack the odds on one side against the opposition.
The time has again come for all DAP members and supporters to ensure that the DAP secures a resounding victory in Petaling.