Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the launching of the 200,000 ‘Save Bukit China’ Mass Signature Campaign in Penang on Saturday, August 11, 1984 at 7.30 p.m.
Warning to Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Gerakan not to put obstacles to block the people’s campaign to save Bukit China from destruction
I am here to launch the 200,00 ‘Save Bukit China’ Mass Signature Campaign in Penang – the fourth state after Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Federal Territory.
If we can get 200,000 Malaysians of all religions and races to come forward to sign the petition expressing the people’s desire to preserve Bukit China as a symbol of the first Sino-Malay friendship and co-operation dating back to 500 years ago, the cultural roots of Malaysian Chinese, the symbol of Chinese contribution to Malaysian nation building, as well as the religious freedom in the country, a democratic government must yield to the people’s wishes.
The 200,000 mass signature memorandum would be submitted to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the trustees of Bukit China, as a guide and authority for it to stand firm against any government encroachment of the ownership rights over centuries of the Chinese community with regard to Bukit China.
Last week, the Gerakan Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, accused the DAP of using the Bukit China issue to rouse the sensitivities of the public by playing on emotion rather than carefully and rationally assessing the fact involved. He also warned the DAP leaders that this was not the time for polarised sensitive issues to be exploited.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu and his Gerakan colleagues are very brave to warn the DAP leaders this or that, but I have never seen them warning any UMNO leader, regardless of however extremist they had been in their utterances.
Dr. Lim and the Gerakan are therefore only good to act on behalf of UMNO to give waarning to the DAP.
I want to warn Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakan to stop putting obstacles in the way of the people’s campaign to save Bukit China and to preserve it as a national heritage.
Dr. Lim’s statement is most mischievous, for it is calculated to try to create a case for the Ministry of Home Affairs to stop the DAP’s campaign to save Bukit China. If the nation-wide campaign to save Bukit China is stopped by the Government, then Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakan must bear full responsibility.
Dr. Lim’s statement is also mischievous for a second reason, in that he accuses the DAP of raising a sensitive issue in wanting to save Bukit China. If anyone is to be responsible for raising a sensitive issue in the Bukit China affair, it is none other than the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, who wanted to be a UMNO hero overnight by being the person to level and develop Bukit China. If Dr. Lim is really concerned about the sensitivities being raised by the Bukit China issue, then he should warn the Malacca Chief Ministry not to touch Bukit China. But he warned DAP, which merely wanted to protect Bukit China, instead!
From his statement last week, Dr. Lim Chong Eu was in fact calling on the people of Penang and Malaysia to boycott the ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign launched by the DAP. I would advise Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakan that if for their own political interests, they could not support the ‘Save Bukit China’ Campaign, they should at least shut up and not try to destroy and undermine the Save Bukit China campaign.