Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Perak DAP anniversary dinner held in Ipoh on Sunday, 4.9.1983 at 8 p.m.
DAP to write to MCA, Gerakan, SUPP Ministers and MPs to ascertain whether they are prepared, in the spirit of ‘triple unity’ to work with DAP to ensure that the Government, in Parliament and Cabinet, accept the Cultural Memorandum of 15 Chinese national organisation and Tung/Chiau Chung
On August 7, I announced at the DAP Bukit Mertajam Branch Anniversary Dinner that the DAP is prepared to accept the concept of ‘triple unity’ and work with the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, the Chinese national organisations and Tung/Chiau Chung to ensure that the Government, in Parliament and Cabinet, accept the Cultural Memorandum of the 15 Chinese national organisations and Tung/Chiau Chung. Unfortunately, up till now, there has been no response from any other quarter to put the concept of ‘triple unity’ into action, in the interests of ensuring that the Malaysian culture that is being created includes all cultural element to be found in Malaysia.
The categorical rejection of the Cultural Memorandum by the Barisan Nasional Government as announced by the Minister of Cultural, Youth and Sports, Anwar Ibrahim, in Parliament on July 29 and August 12 made it clear that the Government is not prepared to entertain any proposal which deviated from the 1971 National Cultural Congress principles, although the 1971 National Cultural Congress was not representative of all racial groups in the country.
As Encik Anwar said in Parliament, the National Cultural Policy that the Government cannot be questioned, and that ‘cultural pluralism’ and ‘cultural parallelism’ are detrimental to the process of nation-building in Malaysia. Encik Anwar said that the government wants to create a new Malaysian identity by the process of ‘assimilation’.
Although Encik Anwar made it clear that the cultural policy that he was enunciating represented not merely himself or even UMNO, but of all component Barisan Nasional parties, some MCA leaders try to give the impression that they disagree with Anwar’s ‘assimilation’ position, although the MCA had never opposed the earlier policy announcement in Parliament of a ‘one language, one culture’ policy.
We will leave these contradictions aside for the moment, in the hope that the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, being component Barisan party members, would be prepared to put aside all self interest, whether of the leaders themselves or of the parties concerned, and for the future of the people and country, could be prepared to take a stand to ensure that in parliament and Cabinet, the Barisan Government reverses its cultural position by withdrawing the rejection of the Cultural Memorandum of the 15 Chinese national organizations, and acceptance of the policy proposals of the Cultural Memorandum. Let us show that the ‘triple unity’ concept can be put into practice, and nit just a meaningless slogan for the 1982 general elections to confuse the electorate.
If the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP ministers and MPs are prepared to join hands with the DAP to put the ‘triple unity’ concept into practice, by seeking to ensure that the Barisan Government in Parliament and Cabinet, accept the Cultural Memorandum of the Chinese national organisations, then all the Ministers and MPs of these parties should hold a meeting before the next Parliamentary meeting beginning on Oct. 10 and lasting till Dec. 2 to work out the strategy of the ‘triple unity’ struggle for government acceptance of the Cultural Memorandum.
Among the first steps which such a ‘triple unity’ programme for the Cultural Memorandum should formulate would be a clear-cut public commitment by all the Ministers and MPs of the parties concerned to give full support to the Cultural Memorandum, whether in public, or in Parliament or in Cabinet. The next step would be a joint motion in Parliament to call on the Cabinet to accept the Cultural Memorandum as a basis for the creation of a Malaysian cultural policy.
Another step would be for the Ministers who support the ‘ triple unity’ programme for the Cultural Memorandum to demand in Cabinet for a policy reversal in the official repudiation of the Cultural Memorandum.
All Malaysians must show a deep concern for the cultural directions in the country, for it would affect every facet of our life. For instance, at a recent Eighth Educational Convention officially opened by the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, at Sultan Idris Teachers’ Training College at Tanjung Malim, one paper on ‘Education and Nationalism’ by a Universiti Kebangsaan adademician proposed that the National Cultural Policy should not be allowed tobe challenged any more. This is exactly the same sentiment expressed by Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament.
It would be too late for Malaysians to complain and grumble if the National Cultural Policy takes final shape and what is worse, placed beyond any public questioning or challenge, like four entrenched ‘sensitive’ subjects of the Constitution.
This is the time when Malaysians who want to see the emergence of a Malaysian national identity by the process of ‘integration’ to make their voice heard and their opposition to the process of ‘assimilation’ clear. A neighbouring country espoused the policy of ‘integration by assimilation’, which is nothing but ‘assimilation’.
I would not be surprised if in not too distant a future, this approach of ‘Integration by assimilation’ would be advocated to argue the ‘integrationist’ character of the cultural policy. But we will be able to recognize that this approach is just using the word of ‘ integration ‘ to try to conceal the ‘assimilationist’ core of the policy.