Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Socialist Youth Dinner held in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, July 14, 1984 at 9 pm
The DAP National Save Bukit China Committee will launch a nation-wide campaign to mobilise national opposition to any Government plan to level and develop Bukit China if the Chief Minister announces it on July 23
Malaysians are now waiting for the Malacca State Assembly meeting on July 23 to ascertain whether the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby cik, would respect the wishes of the Chinese community about whether to develop or not to develop Bukit China, the 500-year-old historic, religious and cultural symbol of Chinese contribution to Malaysian nation-building, or whether he would ride roughshod over their views and opinions by confirming the Government’s stand that the question is not “whether to develop, but how to develop.”
The Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, is reported to give the assurance to various groups, such as the rebel MCA branches’ delegation in Malacca, that he would respect the wishes and decisions of the Chinese community on the future of Bukit China. I hope he would confirm this in the Malacca State Assembly and make it very clear that should the Chinese community decide against the levelling and development of Bukit China, the State Government would not force its ^ the people.
The Malacca MCA leaders, whether of the Neo Yee Pan or Tan Koon Swan faction, are also very keen that the Chinese community should immediately discuss and decide the question whether Bukit China should be levelled and developed.
This must be regarded as a trap, for the Chinese community should only discuss the question as to the future of Bukit China under conditions where there is total freedom and where all constraints have been removed. This is not the case at present, for the Malacca State Government is virtually holding Bukit China to ransom, with its letter to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (trustees of Bukit China) on Oct.5, 1983 declaring the State Government’s intention to level and develop Bukit China, and the $2 million quit rent demand for Bukit China for 16 years.
Unless the State Government withdraws its letter of Oct.5,1983 and the $2 million quit rent demand, it would in effect be declaring that the Chinese community would only be free to decide to agree to government development, failing which the State Government would proceed with its original plan to level and develop, and to demand the $2 million quit rent.
I had previously called on the Chinese community to take a firm and united stand to oppose three issues: (1) Oppose Government Levelling of Bukit China; (2) Oppose Government Acquisition of Bukit China; and (3) Oppose Government’s $2 million demand of quit rent on Bukit China. There must now be fourth opposition: (4) Oppose Government forcing the Chinese community to agree to the levelling and development of Bukit China.
If the Malacca Chief Minister flouts the views of the people and in particular the Chinese community on the Bukit China issue, and announces in the Malacca State Assembly on July 23 that it would proceed to level and develop it, the DAP National Save Bukit China Committee would launch a nation-wide campaign to mobilise national support to save and preserve Bukit China.
The future of Bukit China is not an economic or a development question, but a political and cultural issue. It is for this reason that all Malaysians must adopt the Save Bukit China campaign as his own campaign, to ensure that out cultural roots are not chopped off, that our contribution to Malaysian nation building are not denied, and that our freedom of worship is not restricted.