Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at DAP PJ Headquarters on Thursday 12.7.1984 at 12 noon
Call on Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce to clarify press reports that it has agreed to the government’s plan to develop Bukit China as continued silence would be construed agreement
The Cheng Hoon Temple, the trustees of Bukit China, have denied press reports emanating from official government sources that they had agreed to the Malacca State Government’s plans to develop the largest Chinese cemetery outside China.
The Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which had also been reported to have agreed to the government’s plans after studying the details of the government plan, has however continued to keep silent. I would urge the Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce to come out with a clear-cut public stand on the press report, as the Malacca CCC’s continued silence would be construed as agreement.
When the 52 rebel Malacca MCA branches sent a delegation comprising MCA State Exco Member, Lim Soo Kiang, and State Assemblymen Ng Peng Huay and Gan Boon Leong and others, to see the Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik last Thursday on the Bukit China question, the Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce was very quick in publicly responding to the delegation’s subsequent claim that the Chief Minister had assured them that the State Government would respect the Chinese community’s wishes on the future of Bukit China.
Now, there is very grave doubt whether the Chief Minister had ever given such an assurance, as official sources (which could only be the Chief Minister himself) asserts that the question now is no more ‘whether Bukit China should be developed, but how to develop’.
In view of the intention of the Chief Minister’s to announce the government’s plans on Bukit China at the Malacca State Assembly on July 23, the Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce must make it very clear to both the Chief Minister as well as to public as to its stand on press reports that it had agreed to the government’s plans on development of Bukit China. Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce officials must also explain whether they had been given the details of the government’s plans on Bukit China as reported, and if so, to explain why they had hidden information from the Chinese community.
I call on the Malacca Chinese Chamber of Commerce to make it clear to the Chief Minister that the State Government is very wrong to maintain that the question of Bukit China is not ‘whether to develop, but how to develop’, and to convey the Chinese community’s opposition to the State Government’s plan to acquire, to level and to demand $2 million quit rent on Bukit China.
The Malacca Chief Minister should respect the wishes of the Chinese community on the future of Bukit China, as it is community trust property handed down by the ancestors for the specific purpose of religious worship. He should not try to use the Bukit China to enhance his political standing in UMNO, sacrificing the 500-year-old historic, cultural and religious monument in the process.
I am calling this process conference to announce the formation of the Selangor DAP State Dave Bukit China Committee, for there is an urgent need to get every Malaysian to understand the implications of the Bukit China issue, so that every Malaysian would regard it as his or her personal duty to join the campaign to save Bukit China.
One of the measures National DAP Save Bukit China Committee has decided is to launch a nation-wide poster campaign to explain the issue.
DAP calls on Government to put the three PAS leaders on trial
The Government’s use of the Internal Security Act to detain three PAS youth leaders marks a new phase of the 2M Government, and the end of the earlier phase which started the mass release of ISA detainess.
The DAP calls on the Government to put the three PAS youth leaders on trial to satisfy the public that its charges against them are not frivolous or politically-motivated, as had happened in the past in the use of ISA powers.
In December 1982, Parliament amended the Criminal Procedure Code and Penal Code to deal with religious extremists who used religion to incite disaffection and hatred, and if the government’s charges against the three PAS youth leaders are true, then they have ample powers to charge them in court.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, said that the government will issue a White Paper on the activities of the three PAS leaders, and if the report is ready in time, it would be presented at the coming meeting of Parliament.
As Parliament meets from July 16 to July, there is surely ample time for a White paper to be presented, unless the authorities concerned need more time to frame up charges against the trio. If the Government could not presented a White Paper in time for tabling in the coming meeting of Parliament, then it must mean that the Government still needs time to have invoked the ISA without the full facts.
There is no use of just tabling a White Paper in Parliament, unless time is allocated for a Parliamentary debate. I therefore call on Datuk Musa to make sure hat there would be opportunity for MPs to debate the White Paper on the PAS youth leaders.