Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the official opening of the Chamek DAP Branch at Chamek New Village, Johore, on Sunday, Nov. 21, 1982 at 6 p.m.
Call on MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and Berjaya Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs who are prepared to support a parliamentary motion to affirm that the lion dance is part of Malaysian culture to contact me or make public their position within the next 48 hours
As a result of the MCA’s ‘breakthrough’ in the April general elections, another development most adverse to the basic political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of Malaysian Chinese had happened. Last Friday, the Acting Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Adib Adam, declared in Parliament that the lion dance could not be accepted as part of Malaysian culture because it is not accepted by all racial groups in the country.
This is most ridiculous, as the very fact that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and other UMNO Ministers had been welcomed in official functions by MCA and other ‘lion dances’ is sufficient evidence that the lion dance had been accepted by all racial groups in the country, as part of the culture of Malaysian Chinese, and therefore part of Malaysian culture.
However, if the Barisan Nasional’s policy is that of ‘one language, one culture’, then clearly, the lion dance has no place in the Malaysian cultural scheme of things.
The MCA’s ‘political breakthrough’ in the April general elections has resulted in one development after another which portends most adversely for the future. For instance, as a result of the Barisan Nasional’s landslide victory and the DAP’s disastrous defeats in losing from the previous 15 parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia to six MPs, the Barisan Nasional announced for the first time at the official opening of Parliament its policy of building a ‘one language, one culture’ Malaysia. Again, last Friday, for the first time in Parliament, the Barisan Nasional Government announced that the lion dance definitely was not acceptable as part of Malaysian culture!
Adib Adam was speaking not for himself, but for the Cabinet, including MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and Berjaya Ministers. I do not believe that Adib Adam, as Acting Culture, Youth and Sports Ministers, would dare to make so categorical an announcement rejecting the lion dance as part of Malaysian culture, unless this was clearly a Cabinet policy accepted by MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and Berjaya Ministers.
Parliament must not allow the rejection of the lion dance as part of Malaysian culture to go unchallenged, for otherwise, it will lead to the exclusion of other Chinese cultural forms as part of Malaysian culture.
As Parliament is in session, all MPs who feel strongly about a Malaysia of ‘many languages, many cultures’ must take a stand and propose and support a motion stating categorically that Malaysia’s must be built as a nation of ‘many languages, many cultures’ and not as a nation of ‘one language, one culture’, and affirming that the lion dance is part of Malaysian culture.
This motion, to save the lion dance from being excluded from the mainstream of Malaysian culture, is the duty of all MPs who cherish their conscience, conviction and commitment to the rights of the people. I call on MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, Berjaya Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs who are prepared and courageous enough to support such a parliamentary motion in the current meeting to save the lion dance from rejection as part of Malaysian culture to contact me or make public their position within 48 hours, so that a strategy could be planned out as to how to make it very clear in Parliament that Adib Adam’s policy stand on the lion dance in Parliament last Friday could not be accepted at all.