DAP reiterate its support for immigration autonomy for Sarawak and Sabah but opposes abuses of immigration power

Speech by Parliamentary opposition Leaer, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Stampin DAP Branch Anniversary Geramah held on Tuesday, 11.9.1984 at 9 pm

DAP reiterate its support for immigration autonomy for Sarawak and Sabah but opposes abuses of immigration power

Recently, the ban on my entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu has sparked off a new controversy over the abuse of immigration autonomy powers for Sabah and Sarawak.

There are those say that if I win my legal suit against the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk harris Salleh, for banning my entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu, then Sarawak and Sabah would lose the state immigration autonomy powers which it negotiated 21 years ago as one of the terms of entry into Malaysia.

People who spread these fears are either ignorant or deliberately trying to create fear in the people’s mind, knowing that what they are saying is completely untrue.

My legal suit against Datuk Harris Salleh for banning me from entry into Sabah has nothing whatsoever to do with Sarawak and Sabah immigration autonomy powers.

I want to reiterate that the DAP’s national policy is to fully support the immigration autonomy powers for Sarawak and Sabah as decided under the original terms of entry into Malaysia. We in the DAP respect this as a solemn agreement which Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia have no fight or power to alter even by a comma.

My legal suit against Datuk harris Salleh is against abuse of powers on immigration. The Immigration Act 1959/63 made it clear that despite the state immigrantion autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysians who enter Sarawak or Sabah for ‘legitimate political activity’ could not be restricted from entry.

Otherwise, if Sarawak or Sabah should fall into Opposition party control, the Chief mInister in anyone of them could ban the Prime Minister of Malaysia who wanted to come into carry out ‘legitimate political activity’! This is clearly unthinkable. Similarly, as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and MP, it is within my right to enter Sarawak for political activity.

If I win my legal suit against Datuk Harris Salleh, these would not be any change whatsoever to the state immigration autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah – as only abuses of powers by the Chief Minister would be stopped.

I know that the Federal Territory DAP Legal Adviser, Sdr. K. C. Cheah, had issued a statement in the height of the DAP’s controversy with Datuk Harris Salleh urging a review of the immigration laws, giving the impression that he was advocating the removal of the state autonomy immigration powers of Sarawak and Sabah.

I had called up Sdr. K. C. Cheah for explanation, and the clarified that what he was opposing was the abuse of powers of the Sabah Chief Minister. To avoid any further misunderstanding arising from my legal suit against Datuk Harris Salleh, I will send out a directive to all party leaders, members and branches explaining the DAP’s full support for state immigration autonomy powers for Sarawak and Sabah, and that the purpose of my legal suit was to put a stop to the abuse of such immigration powers.

Over 100000 Malaysians have signed the Save Bukit China Mass Signature Memorandum

Ever since the official nation-wide launching of the 200000-Save Bukit China Mass Signature Campaign on August 15 from weeks ago, over 100000 signatures had been collected to date.

The response from Malaysians of all races had been every encouraging, for the preservation of Bukit China as a national heritage must be the responsibility of Malaysians from all races from all territories.

There may be people in Sarawak who regard Bukit China as a basically Malacca or Peninsular Malaysia issue. They cannot be more wrong. These are also those who regard the campaign s aimed at saving a Chinese cemetery in Malacca. Again, they cannot be more wrong.

The battle of save Bukit China in Malacca is not merely to save a Chinese cemetery hill. This is because Bukit China is not an ordinary cemetery hill. It symbolizes the first Sino-Malay friendship and co-operation in Malaysia dating back to 500 years ago.

It also symbolizes the Chinese cultural roots and the Chinese contribution to Malaysian nation building. A people without roots is a people without a soul. There are extremists who question the loyalty of the Chinese to Malaysia, or belittled the contribution of the Chinese in the making of present-day Malaysia. I tell these people to go to Bukit China in Malacca and see for themselves the 12500 Chinese graves whose sacrifice and every drop of sweat, tears and blood had been given to the building of present-day Malaysia for as long as 400 to 500 years.

There are people, like the Japanese, who want to rewrite history by revising Japanese school textbooks to state that the Japanese did not commit any aggression, atrocities or barbarities during the Japanese Occupation. China, Korea and the people in South East Asia protested, for we cannot allow the Japanese to rewrite history, but want the Japanese to be always aware of the blood debt they owed the people they massacred and brutalized from 1941 to 1945 in South East Asia.

The Bukit China issue represents the present political rights, citizenship status and the future of our children and children’s children. Bukit China is community ftrust property handed down by our ancestors for centuries for religious worship. If present-day Malaysian Chinese could not protect and safeguard the community trust property entrusted to us by our ancestors, hot can we protect the future rights and status of our children and children’s children?

If what had belonged to the Malaysian Chinese for 400 to 500 years could be taken away, not only would all Chinese cemetery hills in Malaysia be unsafe (including Sarawak), no single inch of land guaranteed, there is no single right or interest which would be safe!

The Bukit China issue therefore encompasses the entire historic, religious, cultural, political, citizenship and future rights of Malaysian Chinese. It represents our past, our present and our future.

This is why we want all Malaysians, particularly the Chinese, all over the country, including Sarawak and Sabah, to understand the far-reaching implications of the Bukit China issue. If we don’t stand united for our long-term rights, then we would be hung separately, one at a time – probably with Sarawak last, but if all other states are affected, Sarawak could not escape from it.

This is why we in the DAP advocate a Malaysian Malaysia concept, that what affects Sarawakians is of direct interest and concern to Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, and vice versa, for we are in one country, for good or ill.

I call on the people of Sarawak to come forward to respond to the DAP’s 200000 Save Bukit China mass signature campaign, to show to the Malacca Chief Minister that it is not merely the people in Peninsular Malaysia, but also in Sarawak as well who are opposed the government’s levelling of the ancient cemetery hill of Bukit China in Makacca.

Rise of racial extremists and religious fanatics the greatest threat national unity in Malaysia

The rise of racial extremists and religious fanatics is he greatest threat to national unity and stability in Malaysia. The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, said in July that the problem of racial polarisation is very grave as even school children are having racial feelings.

If the Barisan Nasional leaders had listened to the DAP in the 1970s, they would have found that DAP MPs had given ample warning of the grave problem of racial polarization.

Undoubtedly, the greatest cause of racial polarization is the unequal treatment of Malaysian citizens, and their division into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras.

I would be the first to applaud if the Barisan Nasional leaders had realized although late in the day the grave problem of racial polarization, and taken steps to check this dangerous trend.

Unfortunately, I can see o such sign. On the contrary, the talk by government leaders about the grave problem of racial polarization is in fact being used by extremists to demand more extremist policies.

Thus, last month, the Dr. Ibrahim Saad, the Political Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (Anwar Ibrahim) said one great single cause of racial polarization is parents sending their children to Chinese schools.

The implication is very clear – that to solve the problem of racial polarization, Chinese primary schools and Independent Chinese Secondary Schools should be closed.

On 1st June 1984, the Director-General of Education, Tan Sri Dato Haji Murad Mohd. Noor, sent out a circular to all schools, including Sarawak, giving guidelines which should be followed in the organization of cultural shows. For dances, for instance, schools were told that traditional national dances like inang, zapin and joget should be performed, as well as others of the regional cultural like kuda kepang, canggung, sumazau and datum julud. All programmes should conform with the National Cultural Policy. There was no mention whatsoever of Chinese cultural dances.

This guideline applies to all states and all schools. Although it may not be implemented immediately, but like Clause 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, the axe is ready and only waits for the time to fall on one’s neck.

Recently, there has been a lot of report about religious fanaticiam and the Prime Minister’s National Day message of people who wanted to use democracy to destroy democracy to set up a mullah system of government.

The DAP is opposed to a mullah system of government or any form of Islamic State. Ever since the 1982 general elections victory of Barisan National, and the DAP’s electoral disaster, the government had embarked on the policy of Islamisation in administration, economy, education and the different areas of national life.

This Islamisation process of the government has driven religious fanatics to even greater extremes. The DAP calls on the government to halt the process of Islamisation in the government administration, education, economy, culture and the different areas, so that Malaysia would adhere to our founding principles of a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia.

The future of Malaysia is full of foreboding unless there are more Malaysians who are prepared to come forward to speak out against the various unhealthy trends developing in Malaysia.