1984 Chinese New Year Message by Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka on January 1, 1984.
Malaysian Chinese must have understand the past and Have a vision of the future if the present is have any meaning or purpose
In wishing all Malaysian Chinese another happy Chinese New Year, it is appropriate for all Malaysian Chinese to pause, take stock and ask ourselves: Where are we heading to, politically, economically, educationally and culturally, and what are we doing for our future generations.
Unless Malaysian Chinese understand the past and have a vision of the future, they could give no meaning or purpose to their present endeavours, whether in the political, economic, educational or cultural fields.
For the last 21 months, the DAP had labored together with like-minded Malaysians for the reversal of a most adverse national political situation for Malaysian Chinese, because of the great landslide Barisan Nasional general elections victory in April 1982.
Through the Kepayang, Raub and Seremban by-elections, the people of Malaysia had begun to stand up and make their voice heard to the Barisan Nasional, and in particular UMNO leaders, that they cannot accept the wholesale erosion of their political, economic, educational and cultural rights at a rate faster and even more serious than the 25 years from Merdeka in 1957 to 1982.
The MCA, one of the main causes of the unprecedented erosion of the people’s basis rights in the last 21 months, has been made to understand the genuine aspirations of the people of Malaysia for a Malaysia of many languages, many cultures, many religions, and where all Malaysian talents have freedom of expression.
All Malaysian Chinese, who want to see a check and a reversal of the unprecedented erosion of their basic rights, should take heart and give greater support to this campaign for the restoration of the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The other main cause of the unprecedented erosion of the people’s basic rights since the last general elections, namely the Gerakan and the group from Tung/Chiau Chung, who professed to ‘enter Barisan Nasional to rectify Barisan Nasional had earlier rejoiced in the MCA’s triple by-election defeats, for this put the Gerakan in a better light vis-à-vis the UMNO leadership.
However, they have also become alarmed at the DAP’s triple by-election victories, regarding this as a threat to Gerakan and the Tung/Chiau Chong group which had entered the Gerakan and have embarked an a long-term strategy to attack and undermine the DAP and the campaign to oppose the ‘one language, one culture’ policy of the Barisan Nasional and for the restoration of the people’s rights.
Their first step, and first success, was to help the SUPP to defeat all the DAP candidates in the December 1983 Sarawak State General Elections, giving the campaign to oppose a ‘One Language, One Cultural’ first launched in the Kepayang by-election in October 1982 the first major setback.
It is indeed ironical that the first political archievement of the Tung/Chiau Chung group in the Barisan Nasional is to undermine the national campaign against the Barisan Nasional’s ‘One Language, One Cultural’ policy.
Although we are very hurt by this most unexpected role of the Tung/Chiau Chung group in the Barisan Nasional in the Sarawak state General Elections, we would leave in to the people of Malaysia to decide whether the DAP should persevere or abandon its campaign against the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy.
The momentum which had been painfully built up in the Kepayang, Raub and Seremban by-elections to oppose a ‘One Language. One Culture’ Policy with all its political implications had been destroyed by the DAP’s total defeat in the Sarawak State General Elections, but the DAP will not lose heart and would begin afresh after the Chinese New Year.
The long-term ill effects of this break of momentum in the movement against ?? ‘One Language, One Culture’ political policy could already be seen in the unrelenting implementation of the ‘One Language, One Culture’ policy with regard to signboards, the lion dance, and recently. The proposed redelineation of the electoral constituencies for Parliamentary and State Assembly seats.
Ever since the late 1970s, UMNO leaders had been talking about how in the next five years, the political situation would be no managed that UMNO political supremacy could be maintained into the 1980’s and 1990s, for only with such long-term political supremacy could UMNO carry out its “One Language, one culture policy.
The 1984 constituency redelineation exercise is the king-pin of this UMNO long-term political plan, which started in 1974 in the previous redelineation exercise.
If we cannot understand the past and history of constituency redelineations, and also lack a vision of what future we want for ourselves and our future generations as well as the will to work for the ?? realisation of this vision, then what we are doing at present could not have much meaning purpose or effectiveness.
It is time for the Tung Chiau Chung group in Gerakan to ask themselves and to explain to the public whether they construe their role in Barisan Nasional as one of writing long memoranda or analysis or is it to influence policy as in halting the ‘One Language, One Culture’ policy and the ever-aggravation of the political imbalance between Malays and Non-Malays.
All Malaysian Chinese must give deep thought to all these grave issues and developments in the coming New Year, and for they would have great bearing on whether we are going to continue to slide backwards or to stand up and halt the process of regression.