Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Official Opening of the Wanita DAP National Convention held at the new DAP National Building at Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 14th July 1984 at 3 pm
Dr.Mahathir Mohamed should direct all government leaders to be more people-oriented and responsive as well as respectful of the people’s wishes and views, and not to adopt ‘anti-people’ attitudes as illustrated in the Bukit China issue in Malacca, Papan radioactive waste dump issue in Perak and the College General issue in Penang
The events of the past few months have shown that the Barisan Nasional Government is increasingly intolerant of the legitimate views and wishes of the people, which is cutting it further and further from the people.
This is a most unhealthy and undesirable development in a country practicing parliamentary democracy, for it deviates from the fundamental parliamentary principle that the elected government is a “servant” and not “master” of the people.
I call on the Prime Minister, Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, especially on the occasion of the reshuffle of his Cabinet, to direct all government leaders whether at Federal or State level to be more people-oriented, and must be responsive as well as respectful of the views and wishes of the people, and stop the increasingly anti-people attitude as illustrated in the Bukit China issue in Malacca, the Papan radioactive waste dump issue in Perak and the College General issue in Penang.
In the Bukit China issue, the Malacca State Government have decided to level and develop Bukit China, a 500 year-year-old historic, religious and cultural monument of the Chinese community, although it has no support whatsoever from the Chinese community at large, whether in Malacca or Malaysia.
In the Papan radioactive waste dump issue, both the Ministry of Environment and the Perak State Government have failed to convince the people in Papan and surrounding areas that the dump would be safe. The stand by Datuk Stephen Yong that it is the people’s responsibility to prove that the dump is unsafe is a clear abdication of his Ministerial responsibility.
In the college General issue in Penang, the Penang Chief Minister, Dr.Lim Chong Eu, has become conspicuously silent as to why he publicly misled the people on May 25 that the State Exco had not approved the rezoning of College General, when in fact, the State Exco had approve it.
Either Dr.Lim had publicly lied on the matter, and was caught in the act later; or he had been taken for a ride by the Acting Chief Minister Khor Gark Kim who rushed through the rezoning approval when this was a decision to be taken only on Dr.Lim’s return from medical leave.
All these three issues raise a pile of question crying out to be answered, and demonstrates that the government leaders are acting and conducting themselves as if they do not have to account to the people.
Both these three issues should help to raise greater public awareness that they need not and must not be passive agents in important decisions affecting their future, whether locally in their neighbourhood, or long-term affecting basic rights of future generations.
The DAP wants to establish the important principle that the people must have the final say in important political, economic, educational, cultural, religious and social issues, and the Government is merely a steward, who must at all times be prepared to account for their actions and decisions.
Once we have more Malaysians taking part in wanting to influence decision-making affecting their lives, then we are moving towards a meaningful from of democracy, a participatory democracy, and away from a guided democracy.