Call on the MCA Central Committee to endorse and fight for the Kepayang Declaration to reject a Malaysia of ‘one language and one culture’

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang, at a Kepayang by-election thanksgiving party for election workers held at St. John Ambulance Hall in Ipoh on Saturday, Oct. 23, 1982 at 8 pm

Call on the MCA Central Committee to endorse and fight for the Kepayang Declaration to reject a Malaysia of ‘one language and one culture’

The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said on Thursday that the DAP won in Kepayang by-election last weekend because the Kepayang voters wanted to keep the DAP alive, and that the DAP “has nothing more to offer and it just wants to live.”

It is clear that the Prime Minister has again been seriously misled by the MCA and Datuk Lee San Choon (whom Dr. Mahathir had said he would listen even if he should ‘whisper’) about the meaning of the Kepayang by-election result.

It serves the MCA’s own self-interest to try to convince UMNO and the country that the DAP won in Kepayang by-election because of ‘sympathy’ votes, disregarding the important fact that the people of Kepayang went to the polls on Oct. 16 on a specific set of national objectives embodied in the document entitled ‘Kepayang Declaration’.

This is the first time in Malaysian election history that the voters used a by-election to decisively and overwhelmingly declare their commitment to set of national policy goals, for the Kepayang Declaration espouses a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’ and rejects the Barisan Nasional nation building policy of the 1980s to build a Malaysia of ‘one language and one culture’.

Far from Dr. Mahathir’s assertion that the ‘DAP has nothing to offer and it just wants to live’, the DAP has the most exciting and challenging offer to the people, not only in Kepayang but in the whole of Malaysia – the growth, expansion and realisation of the Kepayang Declaration movement to check efforts to build a Malaysia ‘one language and one culture’, and to achieve a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’.

As the MCA claims to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese, then it should stop obstructing and opposing the aspirations of the people of Malaysia embodied in the Kepayang Declaration for a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’. It should stop distorting the meaning of the Kepayang by-election as an expression of sympathy, to enable the UMNO leaders to ignore and disregard the objectives and principles of the people as embodied in the Kepayang Declaration.

In fact, the MCA Ministers should formally, solemnly and firmly inform the Barisan leaders, especially the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, at the Cabinet meeting that the Kepayang by-election result signified the people’s support for the Kepayang Declaration, and request that the Kepayang Declaration be studied by the Cabinet and be accepted as a basis for action building in Malaysia in the 1980s.

I call on the MCA Central Committee, for a start, to endorse and fight for the Kepayang Declaration to reject a Malaysia of ‘one language and one culture’ and to commit itself to the Kepayang Declaration objective of a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’.

All who want to distort the meaning of the Kepayang by-election result, or belittle or oppose the Kepayang Declaration must be thoroughly exposed, for they clearly do not represent the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Malaysian people, but merely their self interests.

It will be a very sad day if Dr. Mahathir would listen to the ‘whisper’ of Datuk Lee San Choon, but would not listen to the loud and clear voice of the 16,246 people of Kepayang. If this is the case then we in the DAP want to spread the Kepayang Declaration movement throughout the country to let the people of Malaysia speak out in one voice to drown out the ‘whisper’ of Datuk Lee San Choon. The people of Malaysia must also demand to know why Datuk Lee continues to ‘whisper’ against the interest of the people and future generations!

Kepayang by-election result shows that Barisan landslide victory in April 1982 general elections an ‘aberration’

The DAP’s victory in the Kepayang by-election with a landslide majority of 9,764 five months after the April 1982 general elections shows that the Barisan Nasional, and in particular, the MCA’s landslide victory in the general elections as an ‘aberration’ and a ‘flash in the pan’.

The DAP lost badly because of a variety of factors, especially by the national confusion created by Tung Chiau Chung in the April general elections benefitting the Barisan Nasional.

The DAP will make use of the Kepayang by-election victory to rebuild the DAP in Perak.

I am glad that in the Kepayang by-election, DAP leaders and members sank their differences to work for one objectives, the victory of the DAP in the by-election.

This is the Kepayang spirit on which the DAP will rebuild itself into a force even greater than before to be the champion and servant of the people to fight for justice, equality, freedom. All Perak DAP leaders and members must be fully imbued with this Kepayang Spirit, which is the subordination of all self-interests to the party’s interest.

This Kepayang Spirit is not to be shown only in the Kepayang by-election, but for all times. The party will strengthen this Kepayang Spirit among all DAP Perak members. The DAP and the Kepayang Declaration movement has no place or room for anyone who is not prepared to be infused and motivated that by the Kepayang Spirit, which dissolves all factions or groups or block within the party. There can only be one faction, one group and one block – the higher interest of the DAP which overrides everything else.

A new era has begun for the DAP, and guided by the Kepayang Spirit, we shall launch the Kepayang Declaration to build a genuinely multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia where every citizen would have a honoured place under the Malaysian sun.