Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in DAP PJ Headquarters on Saturday, 18.8.1984 at 11.30 a.m.
Protest cable to Datuk Musa hitam to check the ‘May 13’ threats and irresponsible statements of Malacca Chief Minister to prevent further worsening of racial polarisation
I have never been more shocked than this morning to read in the newspapers that the Malacca Chief Minister, Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, in his determination to level and develop Bukit China, has raised the ‘May 13’ scare.
This is the most irresponsible and despicable action of any government or political leader, for in a multi-racial nation like Malaysia with its ‘May 13’ tragedy, anyone who resorts to the politics of fear and the tactics of ‘May 13’ scare and threats must be regarded as the most ‘anti-national’ elements. If anyone should be detained under the Internal Security Act, then those who play on the fear of ‘May 13’, by uttering threats and creating scare of May13, should be locked away from disturbing inter-racial harmony and peace.
Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik said there was a political party which on the Bukit China issue seems to want to see the recurrence of May 13.
I know who gave Abdul Rahim this ‘May 13’ idea. It is none other than Chan Teck Chan, as I can read his mind and his moves completely. Chan Teck Chan knows that there is nothing more sensitive to the Chinese community that the May 13 scare.
In every general elections since 1974, and in every by-election contested by the DAP, the MCA, the Gerakan and even the SUPP, had brought out this ‘May 13’ scene, by threatening that if the DAP wins, there would be May 13 troubles. So now, Chan Teck Chan has advised Abdul Rahim to bring out the May 13 scare to frighten the people on the Bukit China issue.
I want to bring this ‘May 13’ scare and threat out into the open, so that it would not be allowed to be used again to try to frighten the people. We in the DAP are not going to allow any irresponsible political leader to raise the ‘May 13’ scare and threat without impunity.
Í challenge Rahim Thamby Cik to state whether he is implying that there would be May 13 if the people, in particular the Chinese community, continue to oppose the Malacca State Government’s plan to level and develop Bukit China. In this case, let him tell Malaysians who is going to create another May 13. Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik or Chan Teck Chan?
In the Save Bukit China campaign, the first primary point we had emphasised is that Bukit China is a national heritage for all Malaysians regardless of race or religion, as it symbolises and represents the first Sino-Malay friendship and co-operation dating back to 500 years. In the Save Bukit China mass signature campaign, Malaysians of all races, including Malays, Chinese and Indians, have signed the petition calling for the preservation of Bukit China.
Bukit China is of course of special meaning to the Chinese community as well, as it is their community trust property dedicated to religious purpose for centuries. It therefore represent Chinese cultural roots in Malaysia, symbolises the contribution of Malaysian Chinese to nation-building, and the religious and citizenship rights of every Malaysian in the country.
The DAP has launched a 200,000 ‘Save Bukit China’ mass signature campaign, a peaceful and democratic manner for the people’s to express their wishes. How will this create another ‘May 13’?
Does Abdul Rahim mean that the people, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese, do not have the right to defend their community trust property and the 12,500 graves buried on Bukit China for the last 500 years?
In Kuala Lumpur recently, there was a controversy over the Muslim burial ground off Jalan Seavoy as there was a petition by the residents in the locality for the resisting of the burial ground.
According to the Malay Mail of August 7, the Federal Territory Minister, Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, finally took the decision that the Muslim burial ground would remain. The Minister was reported as having said: “The side was gazetted as a Muslim burial ground 30 years ago and it will be allowed to be utilised as originally intended. There is an acute shortage of burial grounds in the Federal Territory and re-site this would mean finding another place near the community it is meant to serve. This would be difficult.”
Why can’t the Malacca Chief Minister learn from the example of the Federal Territory Minister?
I call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, who had been issuing stern warnings against extremist expressions and activities, to curb Abdul Rahim and all other Barisan National leaders from resorting to the cheap and irresponsible tactics of ‘May 13’ scare and threats, for it would seriously worsen the racial polarisation which is already bad enough.
I am sending a strong protest cable to the Deputy Prime Minister on Abdul Rahim’s resort to the ‘May 13’ tactics of scare and threats, and to urge him to curb and restrain the Malacca Chief Minister and other Barisan leaders to stop using the May 13 scare and threats as part of their politiking.