Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Raub DAP by election victory dinner held in Raub on Saturday, 25th June 1983 at 8p.m.
DAP’s Raub-by-election victory shows that the DAP not only can regain seats lost in April 1982 general elections as in Kepayang, but also capture seats never won by DAP before.
The DAP’s contention that the Barisan Nasional and in particulars, the MCA’s unprecedented victories in the April 1982 general elections, was most abnormal has been confirmed in a matter of 14 months.
In October last year, the DAP won the Kepayang by- election with a stunning near- 10,000 majority, although the MCA had expected to win the Kepayang seat. But the DAP’s victory in the Raub by- election on June 4, 1983 with a great majority of 1,846 votes in a hitherto impregnable MCA stronghold was even more significant.
For while the DAP’s victory in the Kepayang by- election showed that the DAP could regain the seats which the DAP had previously won but lost in the April 1982 general election, the DAP’s victory in Raub by- election showed that the DAP could win new seats which it had never won before, and strike out into new frontiers of the Malaysian political arena.
But the meaning and significance of the Kepayang and Raub by- election transcend the DAP’s own future. They are a pointer to the future, that the people of Malaysia could be mobilized into one powerful force to fight for their basic constitutional rights to help shape Malaysia’s future and destiny as a multi- racial, multi- lingual, multi- religious and multi- cultural nation.
When the DAP won the Kepayang by- election with a near- 10,000 majority, the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, said that the DAP won because of the ‘pity’ and ’sympathy’ votes of the people of Kinta who did not want to see the DAP and Opposition completely wiped out of the Kinta Valley in Perak. The Prime Minister, at the instigation of the MCA leaders, refused to acknowledge and accept that the people of Kepayang voted solidly for one political purpose- to demand the withdrawal of Barisan Nasional’s ‘one language, one culture’ policy as promulgated in Parliament by the Barisan Nasional Government on Oct. 11,1982.
It would appear that the Barisan Nasional government has again refused to acknowledge and accept that the people of Raub, in voting for a DAP victory, had voted deliberately and purposefully for one political purpose to endorse the political choice of the people of Kepayang that there could be no place in a multi- racial society like Malaysia for a ‘one language, one culture’ policy.
This is because this time, it is the new MCA leader, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan, who is claiming that the DAP won the Raub by- election because of the ‘sympathy’ votes of the Raub voters.
Clearly, the UMNO leadership would not admit that the people oppose a ‘one language, one culture’ policy, unless the MCA leaders admit it first.
Similarly, it would be naïve to expect the UMNO leaders to agree to the establishment of the Merdeka University, for instance, unless the MCA leaders themselves are prepared to support the Merdeka University proposal.
I would call on the MCA leadership, and in particular Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan, not to stand against the mainstream aspiration and hopes of the five million Malaysian Chinese in the country, which is to urge the Barisan Nasional government to withdraw its ‘one language, on culture’ nation building policy for the 1980s, and to substitute instead a nation- building policy of ‘many language, many cultures’.
MCA won Seremban on ‘phantom votes’, resulting in a phantom ‘MP’ and a phatom ‘MCA President’.
That the MCA hnew that it won its victories in the April 1982 general elections under ‘false pretences’ could be seen by its attitude towards the Seremban Parliamentary Constituency, where the date of a by- election is now dependent on the new MCA leader, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan.
It is now public knowledge that the MCA won the Seremban Parliamentary constituency through, among other things, ‘phantom votes’ which the MCA had earlier imported into the Seremban constituency from other states. The phantom votes had produced a ‘phantom MP’ and before one year is completed, Datuk Lee an Choon had quit as MCA President despite his general elections call to the Malaysian Chinese to give the MCA a ‘political breakthrough’.
But the ‘phatom votes’ had not only produced a ‘phantom Seremban MP’ it has also produced a ‘phantom MCA Acting President’, for Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan dared not have an immediate by- election to submit to the judgemnent of the Seremban voters.
It is indeed shocking that within a matter of a year, the MCA leader has been transmuted from one who claimed to have the mandate of the Malaysian Chinese to represent them politically, into one who is afraid to return to the Malaysian Chinese for their verdict.
Call on Dr. Tan Bong Hong not to neglect the needs of the people of Raub
Ever since the Raub by- election, the Raub MP and Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Tan Tiong Hong, has been spending his time explaining why the DAP won Raub State Assembly, giving all sorts of reasons except the real ones.
However, I would urge Dr. Tan Tiong Hong to discharge his duty to the people of Raub and not to neglect their needs. During the Raub by- election, Dr. Tan Tiong Hong even went to the extent of doubling up as a District Council worker to help sweep drains and roads. Surely, the people of Raub have a right to expect from Dr. Tan Tiong Hong the type of service he was prepared to perform during the by- election for the rest of his Parliamentary term.
DAP calls for restoration and upgrading of POL provisions to honour Constitutional guarantee of free study and learning of mother- tongue
Dr. Tan has failed Chinese education, and in particular mother- tongue learning, as Deputy Education Minister with the drastic slash in the financial provision of POL (Pupil’s Own Language) Classes.
Mother- tongue study, in the form of POL, had never been given the constitutional status that
it deserved, and this explains for the pathetic condition of POL instruction in government schools.
Thus in 1981, only 28,937 students sat for the Chinese language paper for SRP (Sijil Rendah Pelajaran), out of which only 15,209 passed or 52.6 per cent passed; while 15,816 sat for the Chinese language paper for SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malayisa) out of which 12,747 or 80.6 pre cent passed; but only 53 sat for the Chinese language paper for STP/HSC, out of which 42 or 79.2 per cent passed.
These figures of Malaysia Chinese students sitting for the Chinese language paper, whether for SRP, SPM or STPM examinations, are most unsatisfactory and a reflection of the abysmal failure or POL (Pupil’s Own Language) cases to give Malaysian Chinese a healthy grounding in mother- tongue instruction.
There must be an overall review of POL instruction in the national education system to ensure that every Malaysian is master of his or her own mother- tongue after completion of the education system, so that he or she would not grow up to be a rootless or decultured Malaysian. It is therefore all the more tragic that with Dr. Tan Tiong Hong as Deputy Education Minister, the government is not considering as to how to make mother- tongue instruction a successful feature of the national education system; but instead, we are engrossed in cutting down alloances for POL teachers seriously affecting the POL programme which is characterized by its failures than success.
I call on the Government to restore and upgrade POL provisions to honour the Constitutional status of mother – tongue learning and study in Malaysia.