Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, on the occasion of the launching of ‘walk or Jog to Save Bukit China’ in Penang on Sunday, 2nd Sept. 1984 at 8 p.m.
DAP challenges Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to a public debate on the Bukit China issue
I have come to launch off the first nation-wide ‘walk or Jog to Save Bukit China’ event, with the participants wearing the Save Bukit China T-shirt, to be held outside Malacca, which has three objectives:
(i) to raise the consciousness of the people about the political, historic, religious, cultural and citizenship rights and implications of the Bukit China issue;
(ii) to give the people an opportunity to participate in the nation-wide campaign to express their concern and support to the ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign; and
(iii) to send a message to the Barisan National governments, whether at State or Federal Government, that the people are solidly against any forcible government attempt to level and develop the 500-year-old national heritage that is Bukit China in Malacca.
It is proposed to hold ‘Walk or Jog to Save Bukit China’ events in all states and towns, for the campaign to save Bukit China is a national campaign, which concern Malaysians of all races and from all states.
The most ambitious ‘Save Bukit China’ programme is the 20000 ‘Save Bukit China’ Mass Signature Campaign to be to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Committee, as the trustees of Bukit China, to provide it with support and authority to stand firm against any forcible government attempt to level and develop the ancient cemetery hill.
If the 200000 ‘Save Bukit China’ mass signature campaign is a success, it would be the most successful signature campaign in Malaysian history.
In Penang, the greatest obstacle and hindrance to the ‘Save Bukit China’ campaign has come from the Gerakan Party and the Gerakan Penang State Government.
For instance, the Penang Gerakan Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, has said that the Bukit China issue is basically a land issue, when in actual fact, it has political, historic, religious, cultural and citizenship implications which are more important than the land aspects.
If the DAP had not suffered the great electoral setback in the 1982 General Elections in both Malacca State and Malaysia as a whole. I can declare with certainty that the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, would not have dared to propose the leveling and development of 80 per cent of Bukit China, with its 12500 graves, into a housing and commercial centre.
This shows that the Bukit China issue is first and foremost a political one.
I do not know why Parti Gerakan and the Gerakan State Government want to sabotage the Save Bukit China campaign. Dr. Lim Keng Yaik for instance criticized the 200000 Save Bukit China Signature Campaign as arousing only racial sensitivities, while Khor Gark Him said that it is ‘more important to look after the living than the dead.’
Dr. Lim Chong Eu said that people outside Malacca should not get involved and concern themselves with the Bukit China issue. The sole Gerakan Assemblyman for Johore, Koo Che Wat, went even further by declaring support for the leveling and development of Bukit China by denying the Chinese community their sole ownership right over Bukit China.
The DAP challenge Mr. Lim Chong Eu and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to a public debate on the Bukit China issue, for their stand is inimical to the rights, interests and future of the Chinese in Malaysia, as well as subsequent generations.
If Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik dare to have a public debate with me on the Bukit China issue, I leave to them to decide on the place, date and time!
Gerakan has misled Penang Chinese Assembly Hall to send a memorandum to Elections Commission on new electoral constituencies, when it should be directed to all MCA and Gerakan Ministers and MPs
Gerakan has now become very adept at misleading the people about fundamental issues, especially as glossing over its responsibility for the Barisan policies and measures which are highly detrimental to the people’s interests.
The Bukit China issue is one instance. Another recent example is the success with which Gerakan had misled the Penang Chinese Assembly Hall to send a memorandum to the Elections Commission on the revision of its recommendations for new electoral constituencies, when it should be directed to all MCA and Gerakan Ministers and MPs.
Following the January display of the original recommendations of the Elections Commission with regard to new Parliamentary and State Assembly Constituencies, various organizations objected and even appeared at enquiries conducted by the Elections Commission to hear reasons for the objections.
DAP leaders including myself appeared at the Election Commission inquiries. I prefaced my remark by telling the Elections Commission Chairman and other members by stating that I wondered whether I would be wasting my time, as the Elections Commission would be powerless to entertain my objections to substantive issues, such as the failure of the Elections Commission to honour the ‘one man, one vote principle’, the gross disparity in the distribution of seats whereby urban areas with large electorates get lesser seats while rural areas with smaller votes get more seats.
At the end of July, the Elections Commission published its revised recommendations, making it clear that objections could only relate to the specific constituencies where there had been revisions.
There is no point at this stage to submit objections based on democratic principles to the Elections Commission, for it just could not entertain them, as made clear by the Elections Commission officials.
The most unfair delineation of electoral constituencies whereby the Penang island with 250000 voters was allocated five Parliamentary and 15 State seats while the Province whereby with 210000 voters is allocated with six Parliamentary and 18 State Assembly seats, completely disregarding the principle of ‘one man, one vote’ and aggravating racial polarization, would not be considered by the elections Commission at this stage if at all.
This is because there has been no revision whatsoever to the original recommendations for the electoral delineations for the Penang island.
As the Elections Commission would be merely making recommendations for the new Parliamentary and State Assembly constituencies, for adoption by Parliament, the Penang Chinese Hall should be collecting signatures from the various registered Chinese organizations to send a memorandum to Gerakan and MCA Ministers and MPs urging them to reject the Elections Commission recommendations in Parliament.
But this is exactly what the Gerakan does not want the Penang Chinese Assembly Hall and the Chinese Community to realize, for it would want to give the impression that Gerakan Ministers and MPs have not deciding power on the new constituencies.
This is a complete untruth, for whether the Elections Commission’s lop-sided, undemocratic and unfair recommendations for new Parliamentary and State Assembly constituencies become law depends on the Barisan Ministers and MPs.
I suggest therefore that the Penang Chinese Assembly Hall should collect signatures from all registered Chinese organizations in Penang to petition the MCA and Gerakan Ministers and MPs to reject the Elections Commission’s recommendations in Parliament, failing which, to call for a public repudiation of the action in Parliament and MCA Ministers and MPs.