Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the meeting of the Johore DAP Save Bukit China Committee to review the progress of the campaign in Johore held at Pantei DAP Branch premises, Batu Pahat on Sunday, 16.9.1984 at 10 a.m.
The preparation and announcement of the two plan for development of Bukit China without consultation with Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and relevant Chinese organizations is utter disrespect of the sensitivities of the Chinese community
Four days ago, on 12th Sept. 1984, the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, announced two plans – one government and one ‘private sector’ – for the development of Bukit China which involves the leveling of at least 40 per cent of the ancient cemetery hill into a housing and commercial centre.
The preparation and announcement of the two development plans for Bukit China without consulting or seeking the views of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and other representative Chinese organizations is a contempt and disregard for the sensitivities of the Chinese community with regard to the special historic, religious, cultural significance of Bukit China.
This should never happen in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society like Malaysia, for government leaders, like the Chief Minister of Malacca, should set an example that he respects the religious, cultural sensitivities of the various different races, languages, cultures and religions in the country.
If a top government leader like a Chief Minister in a state would not set a good example publicly demonstrating his respect and sensitivities for the different races, religions, cultures in Malaysia, how could the government leaders expect Malaysian people to also respect each other’s religious and cultural sensitivities.
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, and other Cabinet Ministers have recently expressed their grave concern at the worsening racial polarisation in the country, to the extent that school children also have racial sentiments. One Minister said that a Malay pupil would find it difficult to name who is his Chinese best friends, or a Chinese pupil hard to name who is his Malay best friend.
Government leaders, like the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, should therefore set a good example of respecting, and not trampling, on the religious, cultural and historic sensitivities of the different religious and cultural groups, as he is doing in Malacca over the Bukit China issue.
I would therefore call on Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik to withdraw both the plans for Bukit China development which he announced last Tuesday.
The government’s plan for development for Bukit China includes a mosque. I find this most shocking. I want to ask the Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO what would be the reaction if there is a proposal to demolish a Muslim cemetery and it is proposed to build temples and churches on the site?
The Tan Koon Swan MCA faction led by Chan Teck Chan in Malacca is asking the Chinese community to give views and suggestions about the two Bukit China development plans displayed by the Malacca Chief Minister. The Chinese community should refuse to look at the two development plans, because they are being forced on the Chinese community, in utter disregard of the ownership rights of the Chinese community over Bukit China for 500 years!
If an outsider comes to our house to tell us he has two plans to redesign the house, threatening that he would do so even if we do not agree what would be our reaction? Look at the two plans or tell the outside to get out of our house?
This is the same situation in Bukit China!