Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca DAP State Convention 1984 held at Malacca DAP State Premises, Jalan Kilang, on Sunday, 24.6.1984
DAP calls for the establishment of a University in Malacca, and for a 1990-objective of one-university for every State
In justifying the 70 million people new population policy of the government as announced in the mid-term review of the Fourth Malaysia Plan, the Minister of Information, Datuk Seri Adib Adam, said that the nation’s most important asset is its people and its natural resources.
He said that the people, particularly Malays, need not be concerned by the population increase as it was the key to solving problems like poverty and shortage of quality of labour.
By Datuk Seri Adib Adam’s reasoning, then countries with large populations should be the richest countries in the world, but the facts are very different, as the example of India, Bangladesh and Indonesia highlight, with their grinding and soulless poverty.
Datuk Seri Adi Adam should realize that it is not the quantity but the quality of a people which decides a country’s greatness and standard of living.
Before Datuk Seri Adib and other Barisan Nasional leaders go round preaching the new gospel of increased population, they should pay greater attention in raising the quality of the Malaysian people.
The 2M government calls on the people of Malaysia to emulate the East, and in particular, Japan but is the government emulating the essence of what made Japan an economic power today? For instance, in Japan, there are 400 universities and some 2 million students at university level. Taking into account that Japan is 10 times Malaysia’s population, we should have in proportion 40 universities and 200,000 university students in the country.
The 2M Government places great emphasis on Malaysia’s pride in the international arena, but we should be rather ashamed of ourselves that in educating the future leaders of Malaysia, we are still so over-dependent on overseas countries.
As of 1984, even after 14 years the implementation of the New Economic Policy, there are more Malaysian students in universities abroad than in Malaysian universities locally. When we cannot be largely self-reliant in developing the potentials of our own people, to talk about increasing more people in Malaysia to resolve the problems of poverty is to put the cart before the horse.
The recent announcement by the University Utara Malaysia, the newest Malaysian university, that its first batch of university student intake this year would be 350 students, comprising 70% bumiputeras and 30% non-bumiputeras, has highlighted the other aspect of gross injustice and inequality in the provision of higher education opportunities for all races in the country.
With over 50,000 Malaysian students abroad pursuing various levels of education, Malaysia is losing about $1,000 million a year, which could be used to fund local universities.
The DAP calls on the Malaysian government to develop a new higher education policy which would reduce Malaysia’s reliance on foreign countries to educate our children at university level, and to save scarce foreign exchange, by aiming by 1990 that there would be a university in every state in the country. Malacca, with the longest history in Malaysia, should have her own university just like other states, and I hope that this proposal would get the support of all quarters.
DAP calls on government to review its 70 million people population policy
The government announced the new population policy of 70 million people completely out of the blue, without giving the people an opportunity to give their views and opinions.
In fact, the Barisan Nasional government had at first tried to implement the 70 million people slyly and by surreptious means. This happened when the government introduced an amendment to the Family Planning Board Act before the Mid-Term Review of the Fourth Malaysia Plan to amend the Board to National Population and Family Development Board.
The DAP was the only voice in Parliament to demand to know whether this reflected a new population policy, from population control to population increase, and to express out gravest reservations about any 70 million people policy.
I can still remember that in the early Seventies, I had occasion in Parliament to criticize the former UMNO ‘Lion’, Syed Jaffar Albar, who attacked the Family Planning Board efforts in the rural areas, on the rural areas, on the ground that this would reduce the Malay population and therefore undermine Malay political power.
A top UMNO Minister today, when attending a Seminar on Population held at the end of the 1980s, admitted that political and religious leaders in rural areas had attacked and opposed family planning, especially on the ground of its influence on racial voting strength.
One religios attitude to family planning could be seen in an article entitled ‘Kenapa Umat Islam perlu ramai anak’ which appeared in the Berita Harian on 3rd January 1984, which argued:
“Anggapan setengah keluarga Islam yang mengatakan bahawan sukar untuk menbiayai hidup anak yang ramai, sewajarnya janganlah dijadikan satu factor kerana setiap hamba Allah yang hidup di dunia ini telah ditetapkan rezekinya, saperti firman Allah dalam ayat 31 Surah Al-Isra yang bermaksud “ dan janganlah kamu menbunuh anak-anak kamu kerana takut kepapaan. Kamilah yang memberi rezeki kapada mereka dan kepada kamu.”
This article called for increase of population among the Muslims to protect their political power.
It would now appear that the Barisan Nasional government has now bowed down to this group of political and religious pressure, and have abandoned the traditional family planning policy to plan for an increase of population.
What is the MCA, Gerakan, MTC, SUPP and the other component parties’ stand on this? Or do they have no right or status to give any views on policy making questions, which is reserved solely to UMNO?
The new 70 million population policy has vast implications for the political, economic, educational, social and cultural rights of all Malaysia, and the DAP calls on the government to review this new 70 million population policy before wholesale implementation.
The people have also a right to know whether the legalisation of the illegal Indonesian immigrants is part of this strategy to achieve the 70 million population policy.
Already, the presence of the 300,000 illegal Indonesian immigrants have imposed a high social and economic costs for all Malaysians, as in health and medical costs which deprive poor Malaysians of being given the attention they would otherwise get, whether in terms of medicine, hospital beds, etc. There will be other costs, in future, as in schooling, housing, etc, not to mention the grave law and social order problems they have continued to pose to Malaysians.
Have all these aspects been fully studied by the government before legalising illegal Indonesian immigrants?
3. DAP calls for nation-wide opposition and protests against the Malacca State Government’s intention to forcibly level and develop Bukit China, in utter defiance of the people’s wishes and ancestral trusts.
The future of the Bukit China, the 500-year-old historic, religion and cultural site marking the Chinese contribution to Malacca and Malaysia, has become the centre of attention and concern not only to Chinese in Malacca but also in Malaysia.
Ever since the shock announcement early this year by the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, that the Malacca State Government had decided to level and develop Bukit China, the Chinese in Malacca and Malaysia have made explicit their objections.
From the latest press report, it would appear that the Barisan Nasional State Government and its Executive Council, which comprised both Datuk Tee Cheng York of the Neo Yee Pan camp and Datuk Lim Soo Kiang of Tan Koon Swan camp in MCA, have decided to disregard the legitimate wishes and sensitivities of the Chinese in Malacca and Malaysia and to go ahead with its plan to level and develop Bukit China.
Bukit China hill has 104 acres, and has some 12,500 graves some dating back to the 17th century. Ever since Merdeka, it is open secret that UMNO and MCA leaders have cast covetous eyes on Bukit China and dreamt of acquiring the right to develop Bukit China, for they would virtually have the power to mint money, by turning Bukit China into a modern housing and commercial complex.
Centred in the heart of Malacca town, at the price of over $30.00 per sq. ft., the 104 acres of Bukit China hill would be able to fetch the fabulous sum of $150 million when fully developed, creating a whole trice of millionaires and multi-millionaires lasting several generations!
But this would be in open defiance of the legitimate wishes and sensitivities of the Chinese in Malacca and Malaysia, was well as in betrayal of the ancestral trust for which Bukit China had been dedicated through the centuries.
This is why until now, there were only people who dreamt of making fortunes from Bukit China, but nobody who dares to defy public opinion and ancestral trust.
But the April 1982 general elections, where the Barisan Nasional scored a landslide victory through the so-called MCA ‘breakthrough’ and the Gerakan and some Tung/ Chian Chung elements’ ‘ Attack into BN to rectify BN’ strategy, has changed them entire situation.
Even the Bukit China is no more sancrosanct.
Some Chinese community and youth leaders have leapt into the picture pledging support to the Malacca State Government to level and develop Bukit China. One community leader even asked for permission from the Malacca Chief Minister to allow the Chinese business community to participate in the development of Bukit China.
I want to make it very clear that the question of the State Government leveling or developing the Bukit China does not arise at all. If the Chinese community asks for permission to participate in the development of Bukit China, the Chinese community is giving up its right to Bukit China. I want to ask those who accepted the State Government’ right to forcibly develop Bukit China, who gave them the mandate to surrender the Chinese community’s historic, religious and cultural claims on Bukit China.
The purpose for which the Bukit Chia was dedicates by ancestral trust was embodied in the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Incorporation) Ordinance, 1949, which made it very clear that Bukit China could only be used in keeping with the statutory objects and purpose of the Corporations, which are five, namely:
to promote, propagate and observe the doctrines, ceremonies, rites and customs of the Buddhist and other religions (including Confucianism and Taoism, but not including the Christian or Mohammedan Religions) commonly professed or maintained in Malacca by the Chinese community.
to maintain, administer and improve, and if necessary, to enlarge and rebuild the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and other Temples acquired or under the care of the Corporation.
to maintain, administer and improve, and if necessary, to enlarge and develop all burial grounds and other property of the Corporation;
to establish a register of Chinese marriages and to provide a maintain a place to solemnise marriages in accordance with Buddhist or Chinese practice; and establish and maintain a crematorium for Buddhists and other religions commonly professed by Chinese community in Malacca; and
such other humanitarian and religious purposes or object for the benefit of the Chinese community of the Federation of Malaya.
Thus, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Incorporation) Ordinance1949, under which the Bukit China is administerd, does not provide for any legal powers for the trustees to discuss or very the use of Bukit China by executing the grave to build modern housing or commercial complexes.
Similarly, out of respect for the ancestral and traditional trust of Bukit China, the State Government has no business or right to decide on leveling and developing Bukit China through forcible means.
In fact, before Cheng Hoon Teng Temple trustees could respond and discuss with anyone about the development of Bukit China for other uses than those embodied in the Incorporation Act, Parliament must amend the Ordinance to give the trustees the powers first.
Before the Bukit China issue become more confused and muddled, the Chinese community must establish the following principles:
Firstly, Bukit China is a historic, religious and cultural trust of the Chinese community and no State Government should deprive the community of the trust property.
Secondly, the Chinese community cannot accept that the State Government has the right to develop Bukit China, which, if it is to take place, must be left with the Chinese community alone.
Thirdly, whether Bukit China should be developed or not, must decide finally on the Chinese community, and there must be no compulsion or forcible imposition of its will by the State Government.
Fourthly, if the Chinese community agrees on the development of Bukit China without deviating from the traditional trusts, them Parliament must pass an amendment to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temples (Incorporation) Ordinance 1949 to provide such new powers.
In the meantime, the DAP calls for a nation-wide opposition and protect if the Malacca State Government defies the public opinion of Chinese community and ancestral trust, and wants to forcibly level and develop.