DAP’s proclamation of the KEPAYANG DECLARATION in Parliament on Oct. 25 has put the aspirations of Malaysians for a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’ at the centre-stage of national attention

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the official opening of the Perak DAP State Convention 1982 held at Tambun Inn, Ipoh on Sunday, 7th November 1982 at 10 a.m.

DAP’s proclamation of the KEPAYANG DECLARATION in Parliament on Oct. 25 has put the aspirations of Malaysians for a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’ at the centre-stage of national attention

On October 25, I fulfilled the promise I made to the people of Kepayang during the by-election campaign to proclaim the KEPAYANG DECLARATION in Parliament so that the government, Parliament and the whole nation knows about the aspirations of Malaysians for a Malaysia of ‘many languages and many cultures’, and their rejection of a Malaysia of ‘one language, one culture’.

When I was proclaiming the KEPAYANG DECLARATION in Parliament on October 25, the former UMNO Youth Leader and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Haji Suhaimi Kamarrudin, stood up to ask whether the KEPAYANG DECLARATION was a DAP Declaration or a declaration of the People of Kepayang, and if the latter, how did the people of Kepayang made that declaration, whether by referendum or what.

I explained that the KEPAYANG DECLARATION was not a DAP Declaration, but a declaration by the people of Kepayang about the Malaysian nation they want; that the KEPAYANG DECLARATION was presented to the Kepayang electorate during the by-election campaign period, and the people were asked in the ceramahs to express their support for the KEPAYANG DECLARATION. Furthermore, on the polling day on Oct. 16, the people of Kepayang voted with a near 10,000 majority to express their full support and endorsement for the KEPAYANG DECLARATION, and its proclamation in Parliament as a guide for nation building policy for the 1980s.

Haji Suhaimi had nothing more to say after the explanation. I had taken the opportunity of the 1983 Budget debate to proclaim the KEPAYANG DECLARATION, as the budget debate is a policy debate where all important national issues and matters affecting the future of the country could be raised.

During the budget debate, the KEPAYANG DECLARATION became the centre of attention, and at times, it would appear that the budget debate was more a debate on the Kepayang Declaration than on the 1983 Budget. Although Barisan Nasional MPs attacked the KEPAYANG DECLARATION, there is no doubt that the DAP’s proclamation of the KEPAYANG DECLARATION in Parliament on Oct. 25 has put the aspirations of Malaysians for a Malaysia of ‘many languages, many cultures’ at the centre-stage of national attention, and served notice to all those who wish to create a Malaysia of ‘one language, one culture’ that their policy is unacceptable in a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia.

I am not surprised that UMNO MPs criticised the KEPAYANG DECLARATION and its objective of a Malaysia of ‘many languages, many cultures’. But I regret most deeply that MCA MPs, like Datuk Lee Kim Sai and Peter Chin, led the MCA attack on the KEPAYANG DECLARATION.

Having been appointed Chairman of the National Unity Board, Datuk Lee Kim Sai must adhere to the Barisan Nasional nation-building policy, for his Nasional Unity Board is to carry out Barisan policy, not to make new policies. But it is a pity to see a person who claims to be a fearless and outspoken MCA Youth Leader, being put in chains after his appointment as Chairman of the National Unity Board.

Last Thursday, the MCA MP for Ipoh, Peter Chin, told Parliament that he did not understand the contents of the KEPAYANG DECLARATION. The ordinary voters of Kepayang, which is part of the Ipoh Parliamentary constituency, understand the contents of the KEPAYANG DECLARATION, but the MP for Ipoh publicly tries to make fun with the KEPAYANG DECLARATION by saying he could not understand it.

Peter Chin is going against the wishes of his own voters by ridiculing and repudiating the KEPAYANG DECLARATION. The KEPAYANG DECLARATION affirms the people’s endorsement of a nation-building policy committed to a Malaysia ‘many languages, many cultures’ and rejection of a policy to build a Malaysia of ‘one language, one culture’. The KEPAYANG DECLARATION reiterates the loyalty of Malaysian Chinese to Malaysia as a second to none, and demands the removal of all restrictions on free cultural expression, like restrictions on the performance of the Lions Dance.

At least Peter Chin is being honest, that he does not understand these KEPAYANG DECLARATION aspirations, but he should have made known his ignorance and lack of sympathy during the April general elections, when he would have lost his deposit!

During the last four weeks of Parliamentary debates since October 12, the DAP was the lone but consistent voice in speaking out against a ‘one language, one culture’ policy, and the fervent espousal of a policy of ‘many languages, many cultures’. We had no support from any MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, MIC or Berjaya MPs, but only criticism. So much for ‘three-in-one’ unity!

There is no doubt that as a result of the DAP general elections setbacks in April this year, our parliamentary strength and parliamentary voice is not as strong and powerful as the last parliamentary term from 1978-1982. However, as a result of the overwhelming Kepayang by-election victory and mandate, the DAP’s voice is distinctly more forceful than before the Kepayang by-election.

Be that as it may, the DAP has still a long way to go to spread the KEPAYANG DECLARATION to all parts of Malaysia to ensure that in the 1980s, the forces of extremism and fanaticism do not impose their will on the people and country. The KEPAYANG DECLARATION is the first step in the political crusade of the 1980s, and for this struggle to succeed, all party leaders, members and supporters in Perak must manifest the KEPAYANG SPIRIT which dissolves all block, groups, factions inside the party to the higher interests of our political mission to establish a Malaysia based on the KEPAYANG DECLARATION.

We in DAP believe in the politics and co-operation, and not in the politics of confrontation, for the larger interest of the people and country, and the well-being of our nation. We will however not compromise our political principles for self-gain, whether it be for material or monetary profit.

We are therefore always prepared to meet with government leaders and officials to discuss problems of the people and country, for in the final analysis, we are all Malaysians who have a common destiny in this land of ours.

A New Political Era for Perak DAP

With the Kepayang mandate, the Perak DAP must start a new political era, to rebuild itself into a political movement and force even more powerful than at any time in the past 16 years, firmly based on public support and trust in our political struggle.

There must be no throw-back to the pre-Kepayang period, where the Perak DAP lost its sense of direction with suicidal internal bickerings and warfare. The pre-Kepayang era must be a lesson to us all that the Barisan Nasional cannot kill us, we can only kill ourselves!

The DAP has a very important political role to play in Perak and we must not allow petty, self-centered internal squabbles to deflect the party from moving ahead with our political work for the people and country.

My injunction to every party comrade in Perak who still want to participate in the rebuilding of the DAP in Perak is to put aside all personal and past matters, and get on with the exciting task of reconstruction and rebuilding of a new DAP in Perak.

Kampong Pisang (Falim) in Menglembu must not become a second Thean Teik Estate incident

The new DAP Perak must be in the forefront in the defence of the people’s right. On June 28, together with other DAP leaders, I visited the Kampong Pisang (behind Falim) in Menglembu where some 2,000 people faced eviction after staying there for generations, because the land of some 40 acres had been alienated by the State Government to a private developer.

We do not want Kampong Pisang to become a second Thean Teik Estate, where a private developer in utter disregard of the livelihoods and safety of 10,000 people, wanted to demolish houses, chicken coops and destroy vegetable farms, leading to the killing of one resident, Madam Tan Siew Lee and the injuring of four others.

I call on the Perak State Government to set up a special committee to study the Kampong Pisang problem and resolve the dispute, where the Kampong Pisang residents could continue to stay in their present premises until such time as the residents could be given alternative compensation or resettlement acceptable to the residents. The Perak State Government is responsible for the future of the Kampong Pisang residents, as knowing that the residents are there, it had alienated the land to a private developer. We cannot allow a situation whereby a private developer can make a profit of $25 million by making the 2,000 Kampong Pisang residents homeless.

I am sure that the people of Kampong Pisang are following very closely developments in Thean Teik Estate in Penang. It is inadequate to offer the 10,000 Thean Teik Estate people alternative accommodation or housing, without providing them with alternative means of livelihood, as they would lose all their means of livelihood of vegetable farming, pig and poultry rearing if they are evicted from their present land.

The Penang State Government, together with the Ministry of Housing of Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan, should work out a package solution to the Thean Teik Estate problem, which ensures that the Thean Teik people would not be made homeless or thrown onto the heap of unemployment. Similarly, the Perak State Government and the Ministry of Housing of Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan have a joint responsibility to see to it that the Kampong Pisang residents are not made homeless or lose their livelihood.