One Language, One Culture

On behalf of the DAP, I rise to thank His Majesty for His Royal Address yesterday in conjunction with the official opening of the First Session of the Sixth Parliament, setting out the Government’s policy statement of the year.

Right from the beginning, it is obvious that the Barisan Nasional is still in a euphoria at its success in the April General Elections and could not resist the temptation to indulge in self-praise.

The Barisan Nasional Government declared that the last General Elections had “succeeded in strengthening the institution of democracy in our land” and that the elections was of special significance because for the first time the generation born after Independence have had the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

The Barisan Nasional government hoped that with their participation, “the democratic heritage” cherished in Malaysia would be preserved. The Barisan Nasional government went on to claim that in the last general elections, Malaysians, of the old and the new generation alike, had “discarded racial sentiments which had often biased electoral choice in the past”. The Barisan Nasional government declared that “clearly, our people are now more mature and rational”.

On closer examination, these Barisan Nasional claims make strange reading and betray a mentality which is completely antithetical to the healthy growth of the democracy in Malaysia.

Does it mean that the institution of democracy in Malaysia would be strengthened when the ruling parties, by whatever means, fair or foul, win more Parliamentary and Sate Assembly seats with the Opposition suffering serious electoral reverses; and that the institution of democracy would be weakened and undermined if the Opposition makes gains in parliamentary and state assembly seats at the expense of the Barisan Nasional cndidates?

By that logic, Malaysian democracy has come to be identified and equated with the fortunes of the Barisan Nasional, where the health and future of one is the health and future of the other, so that Malaysian democracy would reach the point of perfection when all Opposition parties are completely wiped out in the country, leaving only a one-party state!

We are awareof the famous dictum of Lord Action, “Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”, but I did not expect that within such a short space of less than six months from the April General Elections, the unprecedented Barisan Nasional victory in the number of Parliamentary and State Assembly seats could so swiftly corrode the thinking of the Barisan Nasional leaders.

It is appropriate that we should ask ourselves what is this “democratic heritage” that we want to preserve and pass on to the generations to come.

Is it a “democratic heritage” which uphold, cherish and encourage Malaysians to exercise their democratic right to choose the political party of their choice within the constitutional democratic process, and to disagree with government policies, without fear of victimisation or discrimination?

Or is it a “democratic heritage” where Malaysians would have the democratic right only to vote for the governmental parties and where any other choice for the Opposition would be classified as an act to destroy democracy?

It is public knowledge that to many Barisan leaders, democracy means merely the “freedom” to choose the Barisan candidates, while any other choice is akin to “subversion”. This mentality is best, though most crudely exemplified by the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh. After Sdr Fung Ket Wing was re-elected DAP MP for Sandakan on April 26, Harris Salleh swore to punish the people of Sandakan, fumed that there would be no development in Sandakan, and attacked the people of Sandakan for “biting the hand that fed them”.

Datuk Harris Salleh has turned the democratic theory upside down, for in a democracy, it is the people who feed the likes of Datuk Harris Salleh, and not the other way round. Those who are guilty of “biting the hand that fed them” are not the rekyat, but the Datuk Harris Sallehs who have become “Pagar Makan Padi”.

Politics of Blackmail

Only last week, after losing the Usukan State by-election in Sabah to USNO, the Berjaya Chief Minister chaired a Berjaya meeting which later announced that development in Usukan would be affected.

The Politics of Harris Salleh and his kith and kin in the Barisan Nasional is not the Politics of Democracy, but the Politics of Blackmail – to deprive the people what is rightfully theirs as Malaysia citizens, as well as taxpayers.

The people voted for the Opposition not because they reject Development which is theirs as of right – but because they want Development and more – Equality, Justice and Freedom.

Have the people become more “mature and rational” when they succumb to such Politics of Blackmail, or people are really “mature and rational” who could spurn such Politics of Blackmail?

The Barisan Nasional Government claimed that in the recent general elections, presumably because the Barisan won more Parliamentary and State Assembly seats, Malaysians had “discarded racial sentiments which had often biased electoral choice in the past.”

In the 1978 General Elections, where the DAP won 16 Parliamentary seats, Barisan leaders declared that there was very serious racial polarisation in the country. But when in the 1982 general elections, the DAP’s Parliamentary seats fell from 16 to 9 seats, the Barisan Nasional leaders claimed that the people are now “mature and rational” and there is no more talk of “racial polarisation”.

The Barisan Nasional leaders are conducting themselves like conjurers in a circus, and not like responsible national leaders.

Although the DAP fared badly in term of Parliamentary seats in the 1982 general elections, in particular in Peninsular Malaysia, the DAP had not done as badly as a mere tally of parliamentary seats indicate.

In fact, the DAP had increased its percentage of total valid votes cast Malaysia-wide from 19.1 per cent in the 1978 general elections to 19.57 per cent in the 1982 general elections, with the total votes polled by the DAP increasing from 664,433 in 1978 to 815,478 in 1982.

Unjust Electoral System

It is a sad commentary on the undemocratic and inequitable nature of the system of Malaysian parliamentary elections that the DAP should on the one hand improve on its percentage of total votes polled to 19.57 per cent and yet on the other hand, have its parliamentary representation further reduced to a mere 6 per cent of the 142 seats contested in 1982.

On the basis of the 1982 general election results alone, a fair and democratic elections system which gives meaning to the principle of “one man, one vote”, would entitle the DAP not to just nine Parliamentary seats but to 19.57 per cent of the 142 seats contested, ie 28 Parliamentary seats.

Even taking Peninsular Malaysia results alone, a fair and democratic system could reflect DAP’s 20.3 per cent of the total votes polled in the 110 constituencies contested, giving the DAP 22 MPs in Peninsular Malaysia instead of the present sice. The DAP’s percentage of total votes polled in Peninsular Malaysia had slipped by a mere 1.2 per cent as compared to the 21.5 per cent in the 1978 general election, when the DAP secured 652,700 votes as compared to 748,209 in 1982.

Another way of showing the injustice of the electoral system and results is to point out that in the 1978 general elections, the Barisan Nasional won 57 per cent of the total valid votes cast in Peninsular Malaysia, but won 81.6 per cent of the 109 seats contested; while in the 1982 general elections, the Barisan Nasional won 61.3 per cent of the total votes while winning 90 per cent of the 110 seats contested!

So, I cannot understand what the Barisan Nasional leaders mean when they prided themselves on the 1982 general elections results, when the DAP had increased its total vote by over 150,000 votes, and also increased its percentage of total votes cast. In terms of Parliamentary seats, the DAP lost badly, but the seats do not think or feel, it is the voters who think, feel act and choose!

Similarly, if the fact that the DAP won 16 parliamentary seats and 664,433 votes in the 1978 general elections marked a high-point of racial polarisations, then the DAP’s increase in total votes cast and percentage of votes secured should be another high point of racial polarisation!

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in his Royal Address, urged all MPs to make the Dewan Rakyat “a place where new thinking originates for the fulfilment of our people’s aspirations”.

We should rethink our understanding of democracy, the “democratic tradition and heritage” we want to establish and preserve, and we must focus our attention on the essence of democracy, rather than on the trappings and outer forms.

In my mind, the “democratic tradition and heritage” we must establish, and pass on to future generations, is one where Opposition views and minority rights are respected and honoured, and not as of now, disregarded, trampled upon or even discriminated against.

By Opposition views, I do not mean merely the views of Opposition parties and leaders, but Malaysians who through the ballot box have given their support to Opposition policies and programmes. By participating in the parliamentary democratic process, they are demonstrating their confidence in the process, and although they represent Opposition views, such views must be respected and honoured, for they are part and parcel of the Malaysian popular aspirations that make up the Malaysian nation.

Furthermore, such participation in the parliamentary democratic process also shows that they rejected extra-parliamentary and unconstitutional political struggle and want to achieve their aspirations through peaceful democratic means. If the Barisan Nasional Government embarks on a Politics of Confrontation by riding roughshod over the aspirations of those who voted for the Opposition, then the ruling party would be guilty of dividing rather than uniting the people.

Twenty-five years after Independence, we have not yet reached a consensus that the democratic traditions and heritage we want to establish and pass on as a legacy to future generations is one where Opposition views and minority rights are respected and honoured, rather than persecuted upon or discriminated against. I call on the far-sighted Barisan Nasional leaders to help establish such a democratic tradition, and to dissociate themselves from the Politics of Blackmail which has nothing in common with democracy.

One Language, One Culture

I am very concerned that the recent Barisan Nasional victory would be regarded by the UMNO as a black cheque by UMNO to carry out its policies, instead of encouraging it to accommodate itself to the fact that Malaysia can only succeed as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multireligious and multi-cultural nation.

His Majesty, in his Royal Address, said:

“We have just celebrated the 25th anniversary of our Independence. During this quarter centure we have reached a level of achievement which we can be proud of. We have succeeded in laying a strong foundation for the evolvement of one citizenry, one language and one culture. It is on this foundation that we build a greater Malaysia.”

Malaysia was never conceived to be a nation with “one language and one culture”, s it will lose completely its distinctive characteristics as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multireligious and multi-cultural society.

In fact, Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution makes it very clear that Malaysia shall be a nation of many languages, and although Malay shall be the official and common national language, the other languages like Chinese and Tamil shall have freedom of usage, learning and teaching.

Following the Merdeka University judgment, where both the High Court ad the Federal Court, had given a very narrow and restrictive interpretation to Article 152, the Barisan Nasional government’s first policy pronouncement after the 1982 general elections that it is committed to the “evolvement of one citizenry, one language and one culture” cannot but raise big questions as to what is in store for the other languages and cultures in Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s.

The heart of the controversy early this year over the implementation of the 3M curriculum for Chinese and Tamil primary schools was because the character of these mother-tongue schools would be altered. If the Barisan nasional government is committed to the evolvement of “one citizenry, one language and one culture” rather than of “one citizenry, many languages and many cultures”, then there can be no long-term permanent place for Chinese and Tamil primary schools in the final Malaysian scheme of things under the Barisan Nasional masterplan!

Barisan Nasional leaders have more than once spoken of their commitment to moderation as the strength to nation building. We in the DAP fully support moderation as we must eschew extremism and fanaticism in any form, which would destroy the very fabric of Malaysian society.

However, in view of recent developments which seems to change even the basic ground rules in Malaysian national building and political developments, we need to ask the specific question as to what the Barisan Nasional leaders really mean by “moderation”. I believe Menachem Begin regards himself as a “moderate” in the defence of Israel against threats to its existence, even if it means the massacre of Palestinians in Beirut. Begin also won the Nobel Peace Price for his contribution to peace, but the world at large does not accept Begin as a moderate, but as a fanatic who is prepared to perpetrate a “holocaust” butchering Palestinian.

We want to ask the Barisan Nasional what they mean by “moderation”, whether they are “moderates of means” or “moderates of ends”? For instance, if their objective is “one citizenry, one language and one culture”, they could be “moderate” in the sense of method and time span of achievement, but I do not think this could be accepted as “moderations of ends”! One can only talk about “moderation” if one talks about the “final objective”, to build a Malaysia of “one citizenry, many languages and many cultures”.

What Malaysia need are “moderates of ends” and not “moderates of means” who are eventually committed t the “extremism of end”. In simple terms, it means the objective of creating not a Chinese Malaysia, and India Malaysia, a Malay Malaysia but a Malaysian Malaysia where the different races, religions and cultures can flourish in Malaysia.

Islamic Civilisation

At the MARA Institute of Technology Convocation in Shah Alam on September 25, 1982, the Sabah Chief Minister called on MARA students to go to Sabah to project “the true Malay image”. I am most-shocked, for I thought the objective of the Barisan Nasional government is to project the Malaysian image, and not the “true Malay image” whatever this means.

In May this year, I publicly mentioned the fact that teacher-trainees were being told that they would be required to study as a compulsory subject “Islamic civilisation”. I cannot understand this as well, for Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society, and if the objective is to bring about a greater understanding among Malaysians of each other’s cultures and roots, then what all teacher-trainees should be required to take as a compulsory subject is ‘Asian civilisation” where all would be acquainted with the great civilisations of Islam, the Indians, the Chinese which make up Malaysia.

The amendment to the curriculum for teacher-trainees to include the compulsory subject of “Islamic civilisation: irrespective of whether the teachers are going to be trained for Chinese or Tamil primary schools was made before the general elections in April. And when I publicly queried such a change in the curriculum, the amendment was quietly suspended.

However, when the magnitude of the Barisan Nasional victory in terms of seats in the April general elections sank home, the “defensive” approach which led to the suspension of the teacher-trainee curriculum with regard to the compulsory subject of “Islamic civilisation” was changed into an “offensive” one, where as announced by the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, at the UMNO General Assembly last month, “Islamic civilisation” would be introduced as a subject in all the five local universities. Again, why not introduce “Asian civilisation” I keeping with the character of Malaysia’s multi-cultural character, instead of “Islamic civilisation”.

Only last Friday, the Foreign Minister, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, notorious for his suggestion that the lion dance should be changed into a “tiger dance”, said at the opening of a Turkish art exhibition at the Asian art museum in Universiti Malaya, that only characteristics of art which are based on the Malay identity should be accepted as elements of the national culture, and that there should be no “give-and-take” in this matter.

Attitudes on various fundamental issues of nation-building have perceptibly hardened after the Barisan Nasional elections victory after the General Elections, after the MCA had scored a “major breakthrough”.

Loyalty Questioned

Another instance of these disturbing developments which seem to change the political and nation-building ground rules in the country is the attack by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, on the “loyalty” of the Malaysian Chinese to Malaysia at the MCA General Assembly on 3rd October 1982. The attack was clearly not confined to those who had emigrated abroad, but include those in the country who dared to stand u and criticise Barisan Nasional policies.

In his speech, Datuk Musa said:

“And when we speak of love and loyalty to the country, we cannot run away from the suspicion or prejudice that certain quarters of a certain community in the country live hypocritically.

“This prejudice arises because it is said that though these people pledge loyalty to this nation, at the same time the smear the administrative system, the legislature and the policies of Malaysia.

“This prejudice gains currency because there are Malaysians who incessantly talk fo their undivided loyalty but act as thorns in the flesh, as enemies from within. They stab us from the back.”

It is very clear from the above quotation that Datuk Musa was not merely referring to former Malaysians who had emigrated abroad but was also directing his fire on those who “smear the administrative system, the legislature and the policies of Malaysia” from within, for only they could “stab us in the back”. Those who had renounced or lost their citizenship could never become “enemies from within” or ‘stab us from the back’ for they are no more Malaysians.

This is a great slander against the Malaysian Chinese, and the MCA General Assembly should have adopted a resolution deploring Datuk Musa’s speech. Instead, the MCA President, through his Special Assistant, announced the MCA’s full support for the government’s measure to deprive 16,864 Malaysians of their citizenship for emigrating abroad.

The DAP has made its position clear that it could not agree with Malaysians who emigrated abroad because of disagreement and frustration with the Barisan Nasional policies, as such migrants are acting in a very selfish manner in putting their self and family interest above the interest of the community and the country. They should have stayed behind to fight for changes to undo the injustices and inequalities perpetrated by the Barisan Nasional government.

But while we in the DAP disagree, regret and even oppose such emigration of Malaysian ‘brain power’ abroad, we fully understand the underlying reasons for their actions: which is not to make more money abroad, but primarily to secure for their children educational justice and opportunities denied them in Malaysia and secondly, to allow them to develop their potential and abilities to the fullest.

Barisan Nasional leaders whose policies are directly responsible for driving Malaysians overseas have no more right to criticise Malaysians abroad, as they had been chiefly responsible for such emigration. Those who emigrated are wrong, but even more wrong are those who formulated and implemented policies which forced Malaysians to emigrate. Why attack a small wrong while leaving unmentioned a bigger wrong?

I said earlier that we in the DAP understand the underlying reasons causing their emigration. Firstly, it is the failure of the Barisan Nasional government to give Malaysians, regardless of race, recognition for their worth.

Last week, the Minister of Education, Datuk Dr Sulaiman Daud, announced the appointment of a pharmacist, Encik Musa Mohamed, 39, as the new Vice Chancellor of University Sains Malaysia.

I have nothing against Encik Musa Mohamed’s appointment but I regard as most unfortunate that the Barisan Nasional persist in refusing to restructure top government of public services appointments to reflect Malaysia’s multi-racial population.

Malaysia has five universities, but there has not been a single non-Malay appointed to become a Vice Chancellor of anyone of the Universities to date. It cannot be that there are no qualified non-Malay academicians or administrators with the requisite qualifications and abilities to make good Vice Chancellors.

It is such Barisan Nasional policies completely disregarding the legitimate aspirations of non-Malay Malaysians of ability, talent and qualifications, together with the educational injustices under the Barisan Nasional educational system which had driven tens of thousands of Malaysian professionals abroad.

A government which cares, cherishes and treasures the contributions which the qualified Malaysian manpower could make to the development of Malaysia would find ways and means to retain such Malaysian professionals and prevent them from emigrating abroad. Instead, I get the impression and feeling that the authorities-that-be are not too sorry that such professionals leave the country.

Be that as it may, the emigration of Malaysian professionals abroad do not make them disloyal to Malaysia per se. At most, such Malaysian professionals are guilty of being selfish in putting their self and family interest above community and national interest.

But selfishness is not disloyalty! Otherwise, Barisan leaders who are corrupt and who make use of their political position for personal gain should be stripped of their Malaysian citizenship for the crime of disloyalty to Malaysia!

Similarly, those in Barisan Nasional responsible for the selfish act of dispossessing the children of Ipoh of the Ipoh children’s play ground by building the UMNO Perak headquarters there could be considered disloyal if selfishness is to be equated with disloyalty.

Or as in Malacca, where MCA leaders like Tan Sri Chong Hon Nyan and Tee Chen York successfully recommended the Justice of Peace award to one of their financiers although he was a convict who had been jailed under the Penal Code for cheating the public, and victims of his cheating in Kluang have never been reimbursed or compensated. These are selfish acts, but do they tantamount to disloyal acts?

The DAP is not prepared to behave like the MCA which gives full blanket support to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the deprivation of citizenship of 16,864 persons up till September 1982 for having gone overseas basically to ensure that their children secure fair and equal educational opportunities. I know many Barisan Ministers and leaders have sent their children for education overseas, not only for university education, but also for primary and secondary education! Are they also lacking in ‘loyalty’ and should be sacked as Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries or MPs?

Malaysians should not be deprived of their citizenship because they want their children to have the best educational opportunities in life. Nor should Malaysians be deprived of their citizenship because they go abroad for disagreeing with the policies of the government of the day.

If Malaysians can be deprived of their citizenship for going abroad for disagreeing with the policies of the government of the day, then Datuk Musa Hitam could have been deprived of Malaysian citizenship when in 1969he went overseas after being dismissed as Deputy Minister by Tunku Abdul Rahman for not being ‘loyal’ to his government.

The DAP calls for the establishment of a Special parliamentary Committee to review the deprivation of citizenship of 16,864 persons as announced by Datuk Musa Hitam at the MCA General Assembly, to ensure that no one had been deprived of his citizenship meely because he went abroad to secure the best educational opportunities for his children of because he disagreed with the policies of the government of the day.

Datuk Musa’s speech at the MCA General Assembly is most deplorable for it constituted an attack on the loyalty of Malaysian Chinese to criticise the administrative system, the legislature and policies of the Barisan Nasional government, and coming from one of such high political office, would unleash a new round of attack on the ‘loyalty’ of Malaysian Chinese by extremists.

KGB Agent

I will not be surprised if I become the target of such ‘disloyalty’ charges in the current debate in Parliament. I had been accused of all sorts of terrible misdeeds by irresponsible Barisan elements, including the charge of being a KGB agent in the previous Malacca State Assembly by the MCA. Instead of investigating the serious charge of being an agent of KGB, the Barisan Nasional blocked all investigations. Clearly those who do not want to get to the bottom of the matter as to whether the KGB had recruited MPs as agents against the interests of Malaysia cannot be very loyal to the country.

If we are not to embark on a divisive witch-hunt of ‘enemies within’, it is vital that Barisan Nasional leaders realise that there is a great difference between ‘loyalty’ to Malaysia as our homeland, and ‘loyalty’ to the government of the day. No government has the right to demand from the people ‘loyalty’ to its policies.

If my comrades and I in the DAP are accused of not being ‘loya;l’ to the Barisan Nasional policies, we happily plead guilty for we cannot support or be loyal to Barisan policies which undermine national unity, like the policy of ‘bumiputraism’ which created two classes of Malaysians; or those which aggravate economic divisions by enriching the few at the expense of the poor masses; or those which stunted democratic growth like the Internal Security Act wit the arbitrary powers of detention without trial, unfair trial procedures, curbs on the freedom of speech and assembly as in the ban on public rally and the controlled press which regularly give front-page treatment to stories of hundreds of ‘supporters’ leaving the DAP! (Incidentally, I have as yet to come across a single press report about supporters of UMNO, MCA or any of the Barisan parties ‘leaving’ these parties!)

In the colonial eta, those who fought against colonial rule were not ‘disloyal’ to the country, although they were not ‘loyal’ to the government of the day. There is no doubt which of these two ‘loyalties’ is the real ‘loyalty’ to Malaysia.

The overwhelming majority of Malaysian Chinese are born here, bred here and will die here, and they are as bumiputra in Malaysia as anyone else. If the Barisan leaders want to find out whether the Malaysian Chinese are loyal to Malaysia, then the government should accept the DAP’s call for the introduction of compulsory national service for all Malaysians to be trained in the defence of the country. Why is Barisan Nasional government afraid of introducing compulsory national service for all Malaysian youths to acquire military training?


The 2M government of Dr Mahathir and Datuk Musa had pledged themselves to the objective of creating a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government. The DAP will give the government full support in this as corruption is a national cancer which if unchecked would eat away the very foundation of our society.

I am very concerned that recent events appeared to show that the 2M leadership is backing down from the campaign against corruption in high political places.

At the end of September, the Prime Minister made the surprising statement in Penang that there had been no abuse of power, and that there was nothing wrong or scandalous in the alienation of a choice piece of land near the Seremban gold course to top government officials and Barisan political leaders during the period of caretaker government in the recent general elections.

Following the public outcry about the alienation of a 43.6-hectare piece of land near the Seremban International Golf Club to Barisan political leaders and government officials, both at the Federal and State levels, at a fifth of its market value just before the general elections, the Anti-Corruption Agency was called in to investigate into the matter.

Although the Prime Minster has assured the House on the Anti-Corruption Agency Bill debate early this year that the ACA would be completely independent, and the Deputy Prime Minister had said that the Government could not tell the ACA what to do, the Prime Minister’s exoneration and white-washing of the Seremban Golf Course land scandal by overriding ACA investigations cannot create confidence in the impartiality, independence and freedom of the ACA in its operations without being subject to the political dictates of the government.

The people have a right to know why the Taman Aman parkland scandal in Petaling Jaya is wrong and scandalous, where one and a half acres of parkland in Petaling Jaya was subdivided and awarded to six ‘big shots’ in Selangor, while the Negeri Sembilan Seremban International Golf Club land alienation of a larger piece of choice land to 181 top political and government leaders is not wrong or scandalous?

Dr Mahathir said that other State Government were also doing the same thing in alienating choice land to individuals – but the prevalence of corruption or malpractices do not make them any less corrupt or proper.

In July this year, Dr Mahathir had spoken of the need to deal not only with ‘legal corruption’ but also ‘moral corruption’. His come down from his declaration of the need to deal sternly with ‘moral corruption’ hardly two months later is most disappointing, for the Seremban International Golf Course land alienation is definitely an instance of ‘moral corruption’ if not ‘legal corruption’.

Windfall Profit

The list of the successful applicants for the Seremban land reads like Who’s Who of the top Barisan Nasional leaders in Negeri Sembilan and also of top Federal and State Government officials.

In justifying the Negeri Sembilan land scandal, Dr Mahathir said that the objective was to enable bumiputras to own houses in choice areas.

Firstly, the same argument could have been advanced for the Taman Parkland scandal in Petaling Jaya. Secondly, from past experience, choice land given to top government and political leaders are in most cases used as opportunities by them to reap ‘windfall’ profit by selling off the land concerned at market prices. What is the social, moral or national justification of such alienation which benefit only a handful, who are already wealthy and have more houses then they could stay, and who have good connections with the political leadership in the State?

I have no doubt that Dr Mahathir objective that bumiputras should be able to own houses in ‘choice’ areas would have been equally met, and the objective of a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government complied, if the Negeri Sembilan State Government had publicly announced the availability of the choice lots concerned for sale by public tender in accordance with the necessary conditions concerned.

If the 2M government is really committed to the goal of a clean and incorrupt government, then I call on Dr Mahathir to issue a directive and effect the necessary legislation to prohibit once and for all the immoral and scandalous practice of State Executive Councils or the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar alienating state land to political loyalists or party cronies in complete abuse of their public trust to govern the state for the interest and welfare of the rakyat.

Since the 2M government, there had been a few prosecutions of Barisan leaders for corruption, but they do not add up to a picture of a government committed to the cracking down on the corrupt in high political places.

Compromises seemed to have been reached and bargains struck in many cases involving top Barisan leaders who were subject of ACA investigations. The knowledgeable public could not help noticing that in some cases involving prosecution, the ACA had selected technical or minor offences of corruption while leaving aside major corruption scandals.

One index of the degree of success of the 2M Government’s campaign against corruption is whether the ordinary rakyat, the motor-cyclists, the lorry-drivers, the hawkers, are freed from the oppression of corruption in their daily lives. If we ask any lorry driver for instance, we would be told that not only has corruption not disappeared as far as they are concerned, inflation has caught up with corruption, and $1,000 a month to grease various palms to deal with routine petty corruption for those who do long journey runs are now inadequate.

The 2M government must be more serious in the battle against corruption, if we do not want to have a situation where corruption becomes a way of life in our country.

Indon Immigrants

The 2M motto of ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government is still a long way from realisation. On September 28, at about 3.30am, a house in Punggol, three miles from Senggarang, Johore, was attacked by five Indonesia illegal immigrants, The head of the family, Lim Ah Soo, who incidentally is the MCA Punggol Branch Treasurer, woke up as he heard people trying to break down the back door of his house.

He grabbed an axe and found about five people trying to break down the door as well as force open the window grilles. While he engaged in a struggle and fight with the intruders to prevent them from entering, his daughter rang up a friend who in turn phoned the Rengit, Senggarang and Batu pahat police stations asking the police to come to the rescue. That was about 3.40 or 3.45am.

The struggle between Lim Ah Soo and the illegal Indonesian immigrants lasted about 40 minutes but he was outnumbered and wounded and was unable to stop the intruders from forcing open the winder grille and the door. The intruders came into the house, rounded up the women-folk and children, and one of them put a knife to the neck of a three-day old baby threatening to kill him unless all valuables were surrendered. They also took their time to search each of the rooms and di not leave until about 5am.

During this whole period, not a single policeman from the three police stations came to Lim Ah Soo’s help. The Senggarang police station is only 3 miles away from Punggol, the Renggit police station just five miles away and the Batu Pahat police station 16 miles away.

What is the use of a police station if it does not go to the help and rescue of people who are under attack by criminals? The three police stations of Senggarang, Renggit and Batu Pahat had failed the people of Ponggol badly, and I call on the Home Affairs Minister to institute an inquiry into the “inefficient and untrustworthy” conduct of the police stations in these three areas to restore the people’s confidence in the police.

When the police is wanted to protect the people’s lives and property they are not around. When they do not have to be around, they are always around. For instance, last Saturday, on 9th October, I went down to Punggol to see Lim Ah Soo to discuss the incident, which had aroused the ire of the people in Senggarang, Punggol and Rengit, and immediately the police was there!

Police raids

The police always claim that they are short-handed to deal with the crimes happening in the country. Yet, the police sometimes do not have a proper sense of priorities and deployed short-handed man-power to help the wealthy and well-connected in their private property disputes.

The most recent example is the police role in the repeated raids and seizures against video-tape dealers in the private copyrights dispute between a company, Golden Star Video Berhad and the video-tape dealers about copyrights infringements in connection with video-tapes produced by two Hong Kong companies, Rediffusion Television Limited (“RTV”) and HK-TVB International Limited (“TVBL”).

In July till early September, the police spent a lot of police manhours to conduct raids and seizures of videotape dealers, and to date over 40 dealers had been raided. At the average, over 1,000 cassettes were taken away by the police, involving losses ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 for each video-tape dealer raided.

It is unjustifiable and most improper for the Police to continue to conduct raids and seizures of video-tape dealers on behalf of Golden State Video Bhd, especially as the Courts, in the first test-case of this kind, have still to decide whether there had been any infringement of copyrights in the first instance.

By conducting such raids when the courts had not yet decided in the first test-case, the Police are in fact helping Golden Star Video Berhad in their private copyright was with the video-tape dealers.

In claiming copyright for the Hong Kong video-tapes, which is being challenged by the video-tape dealers, Golden Star Video Bhd last year demanded each dealer to pay $5,000. This year, the fee is $8,000 and next year, I understand it will go up t $15,000. By using the police to conduct raids on video-tape dealers who are challenging the Golden Star Bhd’s claim, clearly the intention is to bring the video-tape dealers to their knees even without the need of a court determination.

Is this the role of the Police, to help a private company to fight a private copyrights dispute? Golden Star Video Bhd, stands to profit by some $5 to $8 million a year, and even more in future, from these private copyrights dispute, but what have the Police to profit from. Having conducted the first raid, and taken the matter to court, the Police should wait for the outcome of the first test-case to determine what is the law on the matter, before taking further action.

I am glad that after I had spoken to the police authorities on the matter at Bukit Aman, the raids had stopped. The video-tape dealers are not criminals or crooks. They are bona fide businessmen, who acted on the written advice of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in a letter dated 31st July 1080 to the Malaysia Video Tape Dealers’ Association that their trade was completely legal and proper and that they would not infringe any law in duplicating the Hong Kong videotapes.

I find the whole case very mystifying, for the Censorship Board is aware that the video-tapes claimed by Golden Star Video Bhd has not been released, the Customs Department knows that duties had not been paid, and yet Golden Star Video Bhd, could get the police to do yeoman service to raid video-tape dealers to protect copyrights of television tapes which had not been legally censored or released.

Instead of Censorship Board and Customs Department actions against Golden Star Video Bhd on the video-tapes concerned, the Police until recently became the great defender of these very video-tapes.

I suggest that the Anti-Corruption Agency should investigate into this rather unseemly affair.

Influx of immigrants

I mentioned just now about the case in Punggol, Johore where a household was attacked and robbed by illegal Indonesian immigrants. On September 24, in a Felda scheme in Selancar, Pahang, a labourer, Yap Chai Huat was murdered by illegal immigrants.

The problem of the illegal Indonesian immigrants has reached a position where it has become a grave threat to law and security in the country.

After the recent outrages committed by the illegal Indonesian immigrants, various organisations condemned the illegal Indonesian immigrants for their crimes. But such condemnation would not end the problem, as the illegal Indonesia immigrants do not read newspapers anyway.

The illegal Indonesian immigrants would not be able to carry out their blatant crimes of robbery and murder if they had not been allowed to come into the country in the first place, or stern action had been taken to repatriate those who slipped in.

In this connection, the Barisan Nasional government, and in particular the MCA which claimed to have scored a “major breakthrough” in the April general elections must bear a great responsibility in allowing the illegal Indonesian immigrants threat to reach such a proportion in the last few years. None of the MCA Ministers had even raised the problem and threat of the illegal Indonesian immigrants in the Cabinet.

In the case of the Vietnamese refugees in 1978 and 1979, the Government took a very tough and uncompromising attitude, and the then Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, even announced to the world that the government would “shoot to kill” the refugees who landed in Malaysia.

With the increase of crimes by illegal Indonesian immigrants, more and more people are asking why the contrast in the Barisan Nasional government policy with regard to the illegal Indonesia immigrants as compared to the Vietnamese refugees.

Up to now, the Barisan Nasional government has not even conceded that the illegal Indonesian immigrants pose a grave problem in Malaysia. The authorities are closing their eyes to their entry and free-movement. The sporadic police announcements of arrests of illegal Indonesian immigrants and their repatriation are completely inconsequential when we bear in mind that there could be as many as 200,000 illegal Indonesian immigrants in the country.

Along the west coastline in South Johore, illegal Indonesian immigrants land in fishing boats and sampans almost nightly. The authorities know about it, but they turn their faces away.

Estates, loggers and even government authorities like FELDA employ the illegal Indonesian immigrants in large numbers because of the cheap labour. Barisan Nasional leader, including former Chief Ministers, former State Executive Councillors, UMNO and MCA leaders employ illegal Indonesian immigrants although the know this is damaging to the country and people, for after some time, the illegal Indonesian immigrants would their way into the towns where they resort to crimes for a living.

I call on the Barisan Nasional Government to crack down on illegal Indonesian immigrants and establish a special task force like the special task force to deal with Vietnamese refugees to mobilise the army, police, marine to stop the influx and repatriate those who are in the country.

Special legislation must be introduced to make it a serious offence for any employer to employ illegal Indonesian immigrants.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in his Royal Address, said: “Let this House be the place where decisions are formulated for the well-being of our people.”

Let us formulate, as our first decision for the well-being of our people, that the Government must take immediate action to crack down on the illegal Indonesian immigrants, and with this objective, I propose an amendment to the Motion of Thanks, to add the following at the end of the motion, after the word “opened”:

“And noting the grave law and order problem created by the influx of illegal Indonesian immigrants causing armed robberies and murders, URGES the government to crack down on the Illegal Indonesian Immigrants by establishing a Special Task Force III (Indonesian Illegal Immigrants) to stop the influx of illegal Indonesian immigrants.”

Let his new Parliament show that it dares to make decisions for the well-being of our people, that we have minds and ideas of our own and not mere rubber stamps for the Executive!

(Speech by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Dewan Rakyat on the Motion of Thanks on the Royal Address on 11 October 1982)