Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the official opening of the Penang DAP State Convention hela at Town House Hotel, Penang on Sunday, 12.8.1984 at 10a.m.
DAP calls on Government to enlist the help and co-operation of all political parties and groups to arrest the worsening racial polarisation as it could not solve it alone since its polices had been the great cause of the racial trend
A month ago, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, expressed concern over the present trend of worsening racial polarisation to the extent that even children have racial sentiments.
This has led to many pronouncements and statements by various personalities as if discovering the problem of racial polarisation in Malaysia for the first time.
If the Government had listened to DAP speeches in Parliament in the 1970s and 1980s, they would have found that many of the problems of racial polarisation that are being discussed now, in the schools, in the campus of the universities, in other areas of national life, had been raised by DAP MPs.
If the DAP’s concern over racial polarisation had been heeded right from the beginning, the problem of racial polarisation would not have become so aggravated as today.
If the Government is sincere in waiting to find a solution to the problem of worsening racial polarisation, then it must refrain from using this question as an opportunity for scoring political points.
The Government should bravely admit that its policies have been the main cause of the worsening racial polarisation in the country, and that it alone cannot do anything to arrest this racial trend. To check this racial trend, it needs the help, support and co-operation of all political parties and groups involving a total national effort.
It would be a futile exercise if the problem of worsening racial polarisation is raised, but there is no genuine effort to find the root causes.
Racial polarisation is indeed the single greatest threat to the unity and well-being of Malaysia. It is to be found not only in the schools and the university campuses, but also in the civil service itself.
At the end of last month, at a seminar on the ‘Changing Role of the Administrative and Diplomatic Service’ held at INTAN in Kuala Lumpur, the Deputy secretary-General of the Ministry of Finance, Datuk R.V.Navaratnan, said that there was a growing sense of alienation based on ethnic lines among government officials. He said that strong perceptions prevailed that equal treatment is not given to all civil servants regardless of race, and that this alienation is felt in areas of promotion prospects and postings to key positions, training opportunities and areas of work.
It is a fundamental pre-condition before any headway could be made to arrest the worsening racial polarisation that the government must be prepared to admit its responsibility in aggravating the racial trend. Otherwise, we would be in a situation where the doctor is the cause of the disease, and we would not be able to find the cure unless the doctor is prepared admit his responsibility.
One of the greatest causes of racial polarisation is the division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, which ensured that young children, on their first day in schools, would be impressed with ethnic distinctions rather than commonness as Malaysian citizens.
The division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras became a public doctrine in the 1970s, where every Malaysians was daily reminded that they are more bumiputras or non-bumiputras rather than as Malaysians. It is no surprise that the result is worsening racial polarisation.
The New Economic Policy, which highlights racial distinctions although it professes to eliminate racial divisions, the Education Policy which created widespread dissatisfaction because of the deprivation of non-Malay students to have higher education opportunities in their own country, the National Cultural Policy which aims at the objective of assimilation denying ti other cultures their rightful place in Malaysia – have all made racial polarisation the serious problem it is today.
I have just been informed that in the latest university intake, the university students in our local universities were separated according to their ethnic lines for orientation by the university authorities. Who is to be blamed for the worsening racial polarisation in Malaysia?
I am very concerned that some Barisan National leaders are using the problem of racial polarisation, not to find a solution to arrest and decrease it, but to achieve their political objectives even if the end result is an even greater racial polarisation.
Last week for instance, the Political Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ibrahim Saad, said that Chinese parents who send their children to Chinese primary schools are the main cause of racial polarisation. By Ibrahim’s logic, one way to check polarisation would be to close down Chinese primary schools and Chinese Independent Secondary Schools. This is completely unacceptable and must be rejected without qualification.
I am very disturbed to learn that a ton-level government agency had started a study on the effects of segregated schooling at primary school level on the creation of a united Malaysian nation.
Those who want to close down Chinese primary schools have been using all sorts of tactics to achieve this objectives, firstly by enacting Clause 21(2) of the Educational Act 1961, then the various administrative decisions with regard to teacher-training, sending of teachers and principals, then the 3M curriculum, wanting to find a solution to check racial polarisation!
The government must be more to realise of the danger of aggravating further racial polarisation if in the name of solving the problem of racial polarisation, it seeks to take steps which could only further alienate the various communities in Malaysia along ethnic lines
Last Thursday, the press reported that the Director-General of Educational, Tan Sri Haji Murad bin Mohamed Noor had issued a circular to all headmasters giving the DOs and Donts when organising any cultural show.
He said he was unhappy to note that some schools were organising activities that did not benefit the pupils or were in conflict with the principles of the National Cultural Policy.
For instance, the schools were informed that when school children perform dances, they should perform traditional dances such as inang, zapin and joget or kuda kepang. Foreign dances may only be included if they are suitable and conform to be principles of the national Cultural Policy.
In one stroke of the pen, the traditional Chinese and Indian dances, which have become part of the heritage of Malaysian Chinese and Indians, have become ‘foreign’ and which must all be subject to the test of ‘conforming to the principles of the national Cultural Policy’.
At a time when the Deputy Prime Minister is expressing concern at worsening racial polarisation, one must wonder whether the government is serious in wanting to check this racial trend, when we see one government action after another which could only aggravate this trend.
The decision by the Malacca State Government to level and develop Bukit China in Malacca, the 500 year-old Chinese community trust property for 12,500 graves, in utter disregard of the sensitivities, religious rights, cultural roots of the Malaysian Chinese is another example.
The DAP calls on the government to be serious in dealing with the problem of worsening racial polarisation, and to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate in depth into this problem. The DAP is prepared to give full co-operation to the government to help check and arrest racial polarisation by identifying its causes first, for as Malaysians, whether we are in the DAP or in the ruling parties, we will all suffer if Malaysia is beset with the problem of racial polarisation.
Dr. Mahathir should abandon the ‘Leadership by Example’ Motto if Barisan National leaders are not setting good examples
The 2M Government have come out with many slogans, but after three years in office, these slogans have become worn and tattered because the performance is far short of the promise.
One example is the slogan ‘Leadership by Example’. Many recent incidents have shown that this sloggan is meant for propaganda but not for practical implementation and action.
Thus, about three months ago, four MCA Cabinet Ministers entering Johore from Singapore crashed through the Johore Bahru causeway customs checkpoint without even stopping, showing the most undesirable example of total contempt and defiance for the laws and regulations of the country. Had the Prime Minister taken disciplinary action against these four MCA Cabinet Ministers, both from governmental and party standpoints? The least we would expect from a Government dedicated to ‘Leadership by Example’ is for these four MCA Cabinet Ministers to publicly apologise to the country for their most unexemplary conduct!
Again, recently in the July meeting of Parliament, the UMNO MP for Pasir Puteh, Wan Najib, insulted the Indian community in Malaysia by saying that if a person meets an Indian and a snake, he should hit the Indian first. Is this the ‘Leadership of Example’ that we went in Malaysia for the people and the young generation of Malaysians? Again, why haven’t the 2M leadership taken disciplinary action against Wan Najib, such as suspending or expelling from the Party, as a demonstration of the seriousness of the slogan ‘Leadership by Example’?
As a third example, I have the case of Sabah Chief minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, who had violated Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution which prohibits the Sabah Chief Minister from actively engaging in commercial enterprises. The DAP had produced documentary records from the Registry of Companies to prove that during his tenure as Sabah Chief Minister, Daatuk Harris Salleh, had been director of at least three companies – namely, Dua Bersaudara Sdn. Bhd., Empat Bersaudari Sdn. Bhd. and Sejati Sdn. Bhd.
But what action has the Prime Minister taken on the DAP’s disclosure and proof that Datuk Harris Salleh had violated the Sabah State Constitution and provided a bad leadership by example? Dr. Mahathir not only failed to live up to his own motto of ‘Leadership by Example’, but appears to be trying to help Datuk Harris Salleh to cover up his breach of the Sabah State Constitution.
I would advise Dr. Mahathir to abandon the ‘Leadership by Example’ slogan if the Barisan National leaders are not going to set good examples. This is because the slogan will lead to great harm for Malaysia, as Malaysians will be learning from the bad examples set by the Barisan Nasional leaders.
Penang DAP General Elections Committee will make Penang the front-line state in the ‘Do or Die’ political struggle in the next general elections
The 1982 General Elections landslide victory for the Barisan National and UMNO have brought about an unprecedented chain of political, economic, educational, cultural and religious developments with adverse far-reaching consequences and implications for Malaysians for the present as well as for the future.
In the 27 months since the April 1982 general elections, the Barisan National and UMNO leaders had used their landslide victory to proclaim and implement or to do the following:
1. A One-Language, One Culture Policy;
2. A National Cultural Policy with the Policy of Assimilation rather than Integration;
3. Islamisation of the government administration, the education system, the economy, the culture, and all areas of national life;
4. Proposed extension of the New Economic Policy after 1990;
5. The legalisation of illegal Indonesian immigrants and the conclusion of the Malaysia-Indonesian agreement to import Indonesian workers;
6. The 70 million new population policy;
7. The redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies to make the distribution of political power between the various racial groups even more unfair and one-sided;
8. Avoid public accountability for the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysian Finance loans scandal in Hong Kong;
9. Corruption, abuse of power, breach of trust of political leaders becoming more rampant and unchecked;
10. The decision to destroy the 500-year-old monument to the first Sino-Malay friendship, and the Chinese contribution to Malaysian nation-building, as symbolised by Bukit China of Malacca.
The DAP and the people of Malaysia cannot afford another political disaster like the April 1982 general elections. This is why the DAP had announced what the next general elections would be a ‘do and die’ battle, not only for the DAP, but for the rights of people of Malaysia. If the results of the next general elections is going to be as bad as the 1982 general elections, then I dare not envisage the future for Malaysians in the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s.
For the reason, the DAP Penang General Elections Committee, as announced by the Penang DAP State Chairman, Karpal Singh, would be responsible not only for making immediate preparations for the Penang DAP to face the general elections, but would have as its primary objections, the making of Penang as the front-line state in the ‘Do or Die’ political battle in the next general elections.