Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Friday, 10.8.1984 at 11 a.m
Call on Tan Koon Swan to apologise to the Chinese community for his own irresponsibility as well as the anti-Chinese community stand of the Tan Koon Swan MCA Malacca faction over the entire Bukit China issue
All Malaysian Chinese must be shocked by the press interview given by Tan Koon Swan after his speech at the so-called August 8 ‘5,000-People’ dinner at Pay Fong Chinese Independent Secondary School in Malacca on Wednesday night.
In response to a battery of press questions, what Tan Koon Swan revealed was the frightening picture of a political leader, who profess to be the ‘Chinese savior’, who actually knew very little about the problem he spoke about: who had been misled and deceived by his own lieutenants, and what is worse, who did not take the trouble to check out the facts which are available to any interested public.
Just a day before the so-called 5,000-People August 8 dinner, the whole town of Malacca was plastered with at least 100,000 posters calling on the people to attend the dinner because Tan Koon Swan was coming, and would be making a definitive and authoritative speech and stand on the Bukit China issue.
But what has happened. Tan Koon Swan, under press questioning, has admitted that he did not know that the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, had announced the State Government’s firm decision to level and develop Bukit China into a housing and commercial centre, and use the earth for land reclamation.
The whole controversy over the Bukit China issue for the past months, and in particular since the Chief Minister’s policy speech in the Malacca State Assembly on July 23, had been over the Chief Minister’s statement that 80% of Bukit China would be developed into housing and commercial centre – that the question is no more whether to develop Bukit China but how to develop!
Yet Tan Koon Swan in his speech spoke airily about ‘development’ as meant by the government could mean ‘planting two trees’ or ‘opening a few drains’ – making all wonder whether Tan Koon Swan is in Malaysia or living in a world of his own with no relation to reality.
And now he has admitted that he was hearing for the first time from the Malacca press after his dinner speech that what the Chief Minister of Malacca meant by ‘development’ was the levelling and developing 80 per cent of Bukit China into housing and commercial centre.
He said that in his discussions with Chan Teck Chan, Teck Chan never told him that 80 per cent of Bukit China was to be levelled and developed into a housing and commercial centre.
Clearly, Tan Koon Swan had not only been misled, they had been blatantly deceived, by his lieutenants in Malacca, in particular Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang.
His lieutenants had not only failed to inform him of the State Government’s decision to level and develop 80 per cent of Bukit China, they had also declared full support in their own name, as well as in the name of 52 MCA branches for the Malacca Chief Minister’s Bukit China plan. In fact, Ng Peng Huay, in a prepared text, declared in the Malacca State Assembly that in the name of MCA, he was fully supporting the Malacca Chief Minister’s proposal, and that a national movement led by Tan Koon Swan and Lee Kim Sai would be launched to get all the Chinese to support the Malacca Chief Minister’s plan to level and develop 80 per cent of Bukit China.
When questioned by the press, Tan Koon Swan denied that he was leading any national campaign on Bukit China as announced by Ng Peng Huay and Chan Teck Chan, and said that Ng Peng Huay’s speech in the State Assembly did not represent his views.
Ng Peng Huay’s speech was given national prominence in the Chinese newspapers, and there is no reason or excuse for Tan Koon Swan to miss it. The question is why Tan Koon Swan has to take 15 days to realise that Ng Peng Huay and Chan Teck Chan was using his name without authority?
This brings us to Tan Koon Swan’s direct responsibility for this shocking state of affairs. Accepting that Tan Koon Swan was the victim of the deception of his lieutenants in Malacca like Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang, the question is how could a national political leader be ignorant of the deception of his subordinates, especially as I had repeatedly tried to warn him, and even worse, ignorant of the basic issues involved in the Bukit China controversy, which had rocked the Chinese community and the nation for the last few months?
If the facts of the Bukit China issue, in particular the Chief Minister’s announcement to level and develop 80 per cent of Bukit China, are available only in secret documents and achieves, this would be understandable. But for the past month or so, any concerned Malaysian who take the trouble to keep abreast with national developments would know about the facts of the Bukit China issue.
Tan Koon Swan’s confession that he did not know that the State Government’s decision to level and develop 80 per cent of Bukit China is therefore even more shocking that the deception of his lieutenants, Ng Peng Huay, Chan Teck Chan and Lim Soo Kiang. It would appear that Tan Koon Swan never read newspapers.
In his August 8 dinner speech, Tan Koon Swan called on the Chinese to be rational, to analyse and understand the issues concerned before reacting. He had proved that he is the leading Chinese political leader who has failed to do this!
I for one find it very difficult to believe that on August 8 Tan Koon Swan was hearing for the first time that the Chief Minister’s plan for Bukit China was to level and develop 80 per cent into a housing and commercial centre, for a person who is so ignorant is not only not fit to be a political leader, let alone ‘the Chinese saviour’, such a person is also not fit to be considered as a responsible citizen of Malaysia and a responsible Chinese in Malaysia.
What Tan Koon Swan is seeking to do is to ‘cover-up’ for Chan Teck Chan and Ng Peng Huay for their role in supporting the Chief Minister to develop 80 per cent of Bukit China, by first trying to discredit and destroy the authority, credibility and legitimacy of Cheng Hoon Teng trustees as the guardian of Bukit China.
Whatever the motives and purposes of Tan Koon Swan, Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang and others in the Koon Swan MCA faction over the Bukit China issue, they cannot expect the Chinese to have great confidence in the political leadership whether of the community or nation as a result of their handling of the Bukit China issue.
If Tan Koon Swan’s handling of Bukit China issue is an example of how he would handle the great crisis of political, economical, educational, cultural, religious’ rights and status of the Malaysian Chinese, if he become MCA President, then the Chinese in Malaysia are condemned to a very dark age indeed!
Tan Koon Swan and his faction had acted most irresponsibly and had failed the entire Chinese community and Malaysian nation in the Bukit China issue. I call on Tan Koon Swan to apologise to the Chinese community stand of his MCA faction in Malacca over the Bukit China question.
DAP rejects Tan Koon Swan’s theory of ‘development right’ of Bukit China not in the hands of the Chinese community
What I find also shocking is that Tan Koon Swan has fallen into almost total influence of Chan Teck Chan, who made him advance the theory at the August 8 dinner that the Chinese community does not have ‘development right’ of Bukit China, but only ‘burial right’.
I have not heard more arrant nonsense from a political leader! The ownership right of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, on behalf of the Chinese community, over Bukit China, encompasses all rights, whether burial, development, or what have you.
I would expect the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, to advance that argument – that the Chinese community does not have ‘development right’ over Bukit China, but only ‘burial right’. The success of the Malacca Chief Minister’s secret alliance with certain MCA leaders could now be seen from the fact that such a theory need not come from him, but is presented by none other that the person who is aspiring to be MCA president!
This is again another success of Chan Teck Chan. This make me think of the saying that you can take the horse to the river but you cannot force it to drink.
I want to reject totally Tan Koon Swan’s theory that the Chinese community does not have ‘development right’ over Bukit China. For this means that at present the ‘development right’ of Bukit China is in the Government’s hands, and we must beg for mercy to ask for the Government to be charitable enough to give the Chinese community this ‘development right’.
If Tan Koon Swan and the MCA leaders believe in such ‘development right’ theory, then they would jeopardise not only the proprietory right of the Chinese community over Bukit China, it would jeopardise the private proprietary property rights of all Malaysian Chinese as well of all Malaysians in the country.
By his theory, a person who owns 20 acres of rubber estate would have ‘agricultural right’, and when he wants to convert the area into a housing estate, he would have no ‘development right’ – and the government would be fully at liberty to take over the 20-acres of rubber estate for government development! This is terrifying indeed! Proprietary right must include development right. The owner of the 20 acres of rubber estate for instance is fully entitled under the law to apply for change of land use from agricultural to commercial use. Of course this application is subject to government approval, but this is very different from saying that the owner has no ‘development right’s that the government can just take over its development.
I call on Tan Koon Swan to fully and without reservation repudiate his theory of ‘development rights’ presented at the August 8 dinner, not only for the sake of Bukit China, but for the sake of all proprietary rights in Malaysia.