Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, when launching off the ‘Save Bukit China walk or jog’ in Batu Pahat on Sunday, 16.9.1984 at 8 a.m.
Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahi Thamby Cik, told any force by Malacca State Government to level and develop Bukit China is completely unacceptable
On Friday, at the Official Opening of the Pusat Serenti Tampin, by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, I had a few words with the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik.
I told him that any force by the Malacca State Government to level and develop Bukit China is completely unacceptable. The two Bukit China development plans which he revealed on Tuesday, for instance, were presented to the people and the Chinese community as a high-handed government decision, without getting the views of the people and in particular the owners of Bukit China, the Cheng Hoon Cheng Temple trustees, and as such unacceptable. I told the Malacca Chief Minister that regardless of what is in the plan, the presence of force precludes and acceptance or discussion of the plans.
The Malacca Chief Minister should realize that we are not in the feudal times when the power-that-be decide what is good for the people, who have no views or rights of their own. We are now practicing a parliamentary democracy where the power of the government is derived from the people, and where the government must respect the rights of the people.
The Malacca State Chief Minister said he would not be bound by the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Opinion Poll or the 300000 Save Bukit China Mass Signature Campaign launched by the DAP. This is only shows that Datuk Andul Rahim Thamby Cik is undemocratic and is not fit to be an elected leader of the people.
I am confident that if the people are united in their opposition to any government plan to forcibly level and develop Bukit China, no government could afford to disregard or ignore the expressed wishes of the people.
The Save Bukit China campaign will be a test of:
1. Whether in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society the government respects the sensitivities of the various racial, religious and cultural groups, rights and practices in Malaysia;
2. Whether Malaysia practises a democratic system of government where the government respect the wishes of the people, or an autocratic government where the people have no rights except to obey; and
3. Whether the people, in particular the five million Malaysian Chinese are prepared to stand up for their cultural, religious, historic, political and citizenship rights as symbolized by the ancient cemetery hill or Bukit China in Malacca.
I am very surprised that the Gerakan Johore Chairman and sole Gerakan Assemblyman in Johore, Khoo Che Wat, had declared public support for the Malacca Sate Government’s plan for the second proposal of Bukit China, which is to deny the ownership rights of the Chinese community over Bukit China, and to have it leveled and developed by joint Chinese-community: State Government venture.
Even the Tan Koon Swan Malacca MCA faction headed by Chan Teck Chan had not dared to go beyond the first proposal of the three proposals of the Malacca Chief Minister, but the Gerakan probably wanted to send a signal tto UMNO that the Gerakan could be more dependable in matters close to UMNO leaders’ heart. Parti Gerakan Johore should demand that its State Chairman, Khoo Che Wat, apologise for his public support for the leveling of bukit China, failing which the Gerakan Johore State ust be regarded as backing Khoo Che Wat’s stand. In this case, Gerakan in Johore should be condemned.