Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the National Conference of national state officials of ‘Save Bukit China’ DAP Committees held in Malacca on Sunday, 19.8.1984 at 11 a.m.
DAP offers to halt the ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign immediately once the Malacca State Chief Minister renounces the State Government’s plan to forcibly level and develop Bukit China, and fully respect the Chinese community’s decision on whether and how to develop
The DAP has been accused by many quarters, including the Gerakan Penang State Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu and the Gerakn President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, of arousing ‘racial feelings’ in the Save Bukit China campaign, but nobody dared to point a finger at the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, for trampling on the sensitivities of the people, and in particular the Chinese community, in wanting to forcibly level and develop Bukit China.
The DAP is as patriotic and nationalistic as any other political party in Malaysia, and we want a united, harmonious and peaceful Malaysia where all Malaysians regardless of race and religion could work together to create a prosperous and progressive society, fully respecting each other’s sensitivities, cultures, religion and way of life.
In fact, even before the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, spoke of the grave problem of the worsening racial polarisation in Malaysia, the DAP had tried to draw the government and the public’s attention to the problem in Parliament in the 1970s.
The DAP is prepared to work with the Government leaders to check and arrest the worsening racial polarisation in the country, but government leaders must stop taking measures or announcing policies which would only worsen racial polarisation even further.
The Bukit China issue is one excellent example. It is now clearly established that the entire Chinese community, except for the Chan Teck Chan-Ng Peng Huay-Lim Soo Kiang group who are leading the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction in Malacca, are opposed to the government’s forcible levelling and development of Bukit China.
Surely, even a elementary student would be able to tell the Malacca Chief Minister that for a government to forcibly level and develop the community trust property of the Chinese handed down by the ancestors for centuries for religious purposes, without support of the Chinese community, the Government would be trampling on the rights, feelings and sensitivities of the Chinese which could only lead to a very polarised situation.
We in the DAP do not want to see the Bukit China issue become the latest cause for further worsening racial polarisation in Malaysia.
In the national interest of Malaysia, to help nurture forces which unite rather than divide Malaysians, I hereby announce that the DAP is prepared to immediately halt its ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign if the Malacca Chief Minister renounces the Malacca State Government’s plan to forcibly level and develop Bukit China, and fully respect the Chinese community’s decision as to whether and how to develop Bukit China.
The Chief Minister should withdraw his three proposals on the development of Bukit China announced in the Malacca State Assembly on July 23, for they represented no option for the Chinese community to decide on the future of Bukit China.
Bukit China is not only a national heritage, it is mankind’s heritage which all human beings should unite to preserve
In the absence of any announcement by the Malacca Chief Minister of his readiness to respond to the DAP’s offer to halt Save Bukit China campaign immediately, the 200,000 mass signature campaign and other activities would proceed as scheduled.
This is because Bukit China, which represents and symbolises the first Sino-Malay friendship and co-operation dating back to 500 years, the cultural roots of Malaysian Chinese in Malaysia, the contribution of Malaysian Chinese over the centuries to the building of the Malaysian nation, religious freedom, is not merely the heritage of any one community, but a national heritage for all Malaysians regardless of race or religion.
In fact, I would go further and declare that Bukit China is mankind’s heritage, and just as UNESCO assisted the Indonesian Government to restore Borobudur, there is also a case for UNESCO to assist in ensuring that Bukit China in Malacca become a world heritage!
I want to make a second important announcement today. If the Malacca State Government perists in wanting to level and destroy the 500-year-old historic, cultural and religious monument and heritage as symbolised by Bukit China, then the DAP will launch an international campaign to get world support for the preservation of Bukit China as a world heritage for mankind.
I know that there would be people who would accuse the DAP of being disloyal if we launch an international campaign to Save Bukit China as a World Heritage. I want to tell these people that mankind’s legacies belong to all mankind, and not just to one community or even one nation.
However, before we launch such an international campaign, we want Malaysians to make it unmistakably clear that they want to Save Bukit China as a national heritage, by their response to the 200,000 ‘Save Bukit China’ Mass Signature Campaign.
Once we have passed the half-way mark of over 100,000 signatures, which would make it already as the most successful signature campaign I Malaysian history, then we will begin to seriously plan for the launching of an international campaign to Save Bukit China as Mankind’s Heritage for the World.
Call on Malaysians to be alert for a conspiracy of forces out to undermine and defeat the Save Bukit China Mass Signature Campaign
I have sufficient evidence to show that there is a conspiracy of political forces in the country out to undermine and defeat the 200,000 ‘Save Bukit China’ Mass Signature Campaign.
I will publicly exposing these anti-Save Bukit China 200,000 signature campaign elements in the near future, so that the people can see and judge for themselves about the preservation of Bukit China, but are in fact actively working hand-in-glove with the Malacca State Government to forcibly level and develop Bukit China into a housing and commercial centre.
I have also received information that in the next several days, there would be a campaign to discredit those who oppose the levelling of Bukit China.
The ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign is not to threaten or to deprive the rights of any community or person in Malaysia, but to safeguard the traditional community rights of the Chinese over the centuries. It is to save not only the cultural heritage of the Chinese in Malaysia, but also the national heritage of all Malaysians as well as the world heritage of all mankind.
It is a worthy cause for all Malaysians as well as for all mankind!