DAP to expose the MCA and Gerakan’s ‘five steps backward, two steps forward’ political role in the 1982 general elections

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Chinese Rocket Weekly inaugural issue ceremony held at Transport Workers’ Union Hall on Saturday, 27.3.1982 at 3 pm.

DAP to expose the MCA and Gerakan’s ‘five steps backward, two steps forward’ political role in the 1982 general elections

The inaugural appearance of the first issue of the new Chinese- language Rocket Weekly on the eve of the 1982 general elections is most significant, for it would help to pierce the ever-growing Barisan control and ownership of local newspapers in the country.

This is a most unhealthy trend in Malaysia in the field of mass communications, and when compared to the 198 general elections, the Opposition has even less freedom and opportunities for its views and opinions to be fairly reported in the local press, especially during the crucial period of the elections campaign period, for the coming elections.

In this period, the Barisan-owned or controlled newspapers would not only black out the DAP’s news and views, but would concoct and distort reports to wreak maximum damage on the DAP, completely disregarding journalistic ethics, to present the DAP and its leaders in the worst possible light.

This has happened in the 1978 general elections, and will happen again in the coming elections campaign in April – only that this time it would be more serious as more local newspapers had been bought up by the component parties of Barisan Nasional.

In fact, ever since the announcement of the dissolution date by the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, on Sunday, the newspapers owned or controlled by component Barisan members are already becoming more and more party propaganda broadsheet than newspaper.

The new Chinese Rocket weekly would be able to help pierce this network of all-pervasive Barisan control, but we will be expecting to much if we believe that in its infant weeks, the Chinese Rocket Weekly would be able to match the established daily newspapers owned and controlled by the MCA capitalists and towkays.

The DAP will have to fight the 1982 general elections under the most unfavourable conditions , like the phalanx of Barisan owned and controlled newspapers which would be orchestrating the Barisan and MCA line, the continued ban on public rallies, the ban on party radio broadcasts, and selection of Thursday as polling day to make it inconvenient for DAP voters to cast their vote because of work.

We must marshall our energies to triumph in the 1982 general elections despite these great odds, for if we allow these odds to overwhelm us, then the DAP may even be destroyed in the 1982 general elections. The final decision rests in the hands of the electorate op polling day on April 22, but before the voters can decide wisely and intelligently, they must be presented with the competing political platforms and issues.

The Malaysians voters are being denied this opportunity to hear the Opposition present their political programmes, and this is why this general elections is even more undemocratic than the previous one although the government is now under the ‘liberal, open-minded and democratic’ 2M leadership.

Despite these ‘black-out’ tactics of the Barisan Nasional to stifle free political discussion, the DAP will seek in elections campaign to expose the MCA and the Gerakan’s ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ political role.

An examination of the MCA’s political record will show that down through the years, it is political party which has always been in political retreat as regards the people’s basic constitutional, political, economic, educational, cultural and human rights.

The MCA leaders however are adroit political operators, and they always seek to camouflage their retreats as ‘advance’. This is why the MCA over the years had developed the art of not retreating in a straight line.

They would retreat five steps, and advance two steps, and through their previous influence and present control of considerable sections of the mass media, glorify their two steps forward while making the people forget the five steps they had retreated from.

The latest example is of course the 3M issue in Chinese primary schools, where at most, the MCA has ‘gone five steps backwards and two steps forwards’ – but in the end still three steps backwards.

For those who had succeeded in going forward five steps, and going backwards by two steps on the 3M issue, they had achieved notable success.

The MCA had never in its history been able ever to regain the five steps it had retreated from, where the people’s basic educational, political, econogic and cultural rights are concerned.

Another example of the MCA’s ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ is the question of Chinese language broadcasts over Radio Malaysia. Although there were some slight changes in one Programme over Radio Malaysia with regard to Chinese language announcements, the rojak languages used in the rest of the radio programmes remain unchanged. But again, the MCA Youth want the people to regard the ‘two steps forward’ as a great achievement of the MCA, hoping that everyone will forget about the original ‘five steps backwards’ on the matter.

Merdeka University is another example of such MCA role of constant political retreat. In coming out openly against the establishment of the Merdeka University, the MCA had in fact gone ten steps backwards. In order to lull the people into believing that the MCA had achieved great things, it set up the Tunku Abdul Rahman College, which is nothing more than ’10 steps backwards, two steps forwards’ or ‘five steps backwards, one step forwards’.

The question the people must decide in the 1982 general elections is whether they agree to such political role of the MCA and Gerakan, in continuing to retreat from the basic political, economic, educational rights of the people though camouflaged as ‘advances’. If a halt is not made in such MCA and Gerakan political retreats, a time will come when our children or children’s children will have no where to retreat anymore, but to fall down!

DAP challenges the MCA and Gerakan Ministers and National Leaders to a series of national debates up and down the country during the election.

The MCA Ministers and leaders are going around the country calling on the Malaysian Chinese to reject the DAP. Gerakan Ministers and leaders are telling the people that a vote for the DAP is a wasted vote.

The DAP challenge the MCA and Gerakan Ministers and National Leaders to a series of national debates in various parts of the country during the election campaign to let the people and country hear and judge who should be rejected.

The DAP is confident that in a series of national debates, we will be able to expose completely the MCA and Gerakan’s disastrous political role of ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’ through the years, leading to the ever-diminishing political, economic, educational and cultural rights of the people.

As the elections campaign will last only 14 days, we can arrange for a DAP-MCA or DAP-Gerakan or even DAP-MCA-Gerakan debate every night in different parts of the country. I am prepared to take on Datuk Lee San Choon for a series of three debates, if Datuk Lee is prepare to submit the MCA’s political case to the judgement of the people.

I doubt that Datuk Lee and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik would dare to agree to such a series of national debates, for the simple reason that there can be no justification for a political role and policy of ‘five steps backwards, two steps forwards’, taking the people further and further down the road to deprivation and loss of their basic citizenship rights.

However, if to my surprise, Datuk Lee and Dr. Lim dare to accept a series of national debates, then representatives from the three parties can meet to work out the details of the debates.