Speech by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the one-day Malacca State DAP Seminar for state and branch leaders help at Tan Kim Hock Restaurant on Sunday, 29.4.1984 at 10.a.m.
Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan fight is a power struggle of personalities and not a policy dispute and whoever wins would bring no political, economic, educational or cultural change or benefits to Malaysia Chinese.
For the last one year since the political retirement of Datuk Lee San Choon, and the appointment of Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan as Acting
MCA president, the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan power struggle, and in particular in the last three months, had so dominated public attention that important political and economic developments which would have far-reaching consequences on the people’s rights and that of future generations had been relegated to peripheral position.
Thus, the redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies which would strengthen the UMNO stranglehold on political power in Malaysia, the mid-term review of the Fourth Malaysia Plan laying the basic for the extension of the New Economic Policy 1990, the relentless process of Islamisation in disregard of the sensitivities of the other religious groups, the implementation of the National Cultural Policy which aims at the objective of assimilation, have all been sidetracked.
This is a great tragedy for the precious time that is lost to check the erosion of the political, economic, educational and cultural rights of the people would never be regained.
The situation would have been different if the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan fight is a battle over the wide-ranging political, economic, educational, cultural policies of the Barisan Nasional. Although there is an attempt to portray the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan fight by the Koon Swan faction as a policy dispute, the fact s that it is nothing but a power struggle of personalities for the top MCA leadership.
The political, economic, educational, cultural dilemma faced by the Malaysian Chinese did not come about because of Neo Yee Pan’s Acting Presidency of MCA, but because of the MCA support for UMNO policies all these year, including the seventies when all the leader of the Koon Swan faction fully backed Datuk Lee San Choon on these policies.
Whether it is the Yee Pan or Koon Swan faction, they fully supported in the seventies and eighties the New Economic Policy, the National Education Policy, the National Cultural Policy, the Islamisation process. I understand that Koon Swan faction supporters are claiming that if Koon Swan and Kim Sai had been the top MCA leader, the problem over signboards for instance would have never arisen.
This seems to be a fairly compelling argument, except that the Setapak incident when Federal Territory enforcement officers took down and stamped on Chinese signboards and the various by-laws which resulted in signboards crisis, all took place during the time when Datuk Lee San Choon was MCA President.
I do not want to get involved in the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan power struggle, as this is strictly internal MCA matter, but we must make Malaysians, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese realize that whoever winner in the MCA power struggle would not bring political, economic, educational or cultural change or benefits for the Malaysian Chinese. They must not be distracted from the important task at hand, which is to mobilize public cultural rights which suffered their most serious erosion as a result of the so-called MCA political breakthrough in the 1982 general elections.
The great victories secured by the police in the Kepayang, Raub and Seremban by-elections after the disastrous 1982 general elections must not be nullified by distractions created by the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan struggle. These three by-election victories signified the realization of the people that they must unite to halt the unprecedented erosion of their political, economic, educational and cultural rights. In all the three by elections, the Koon Swan faction leaders stood against the people’s cause. Are they now prepared to renounce their MCA past and take up the banner unfurled in the Kepayang, Raub and Seremban by-elections to oppose a ‘one language, one culture’ Malaysia and to restore political, economic and racial equality in Malaysia?
Two years have passed since the MCA’s 1982 general elections breakthrough. Every month, the people see the bitter fruits of such ‘breakthrough’ of which both the Yee Pan and Koon Swan factions are fully identified and associated.
The latest butter fruits of the MCA’s 1982 general elections victory and breakthrough is the Malacca State Government’s announced intention to level the Bukit Chine in utter disregard of the religions, cultural and historic sensitivities of the Malacca Chinese in particular, and the Malaysia Chinese in general.
The Dap is fully opposed to the Malacca State Government’s plan to level Bukit China for development purpose. As the oldest historic site for the Malaysian Chinese, the use of Bukit China must be decided solely by the Chinese themselves.
I have no doubt that if not for the MCA’s political breakthrough in 1982 general elections, where the MCA won two state assembly seat from the DAP, the Malacca State Government would not have dared to openly spout the sensitive of the Malacca Chinese on the Bukit China question.
The DAP is following closely the Malacca State Government’s intention with regard Bukit China, and call on the Malacca Chief Minister to abandon all government plan on Bukit China and leave the future of Bukit China solely in the hands for the Malacca Chinese, as the Bukit China is a historic community trust for the Chinese.
The DAP is following closely the Malacca State Government’s intention with regard to Bukit China, and call on the Malacca Chief Minister to abandon all government plan on Bukit China and to leave the future of Bukit China solely in the hands for the Malacca Chinese, as the Bukit China is a historic community trust for the Chinese.
If the Malacca State Government persists in its Bukit China plans, then the DAP would mobilize opposition not on in the state of Malacca, but throughout the nation.