Speech by Parliamentary opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kedah State DAP Save Bukit China Committee meeting held in Alor Star on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.
The Bukit China issue will be symbolic and test as to whether the authorities accet and respect the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural basis of Malaysian nation and the democratic system
The nation-wide campaign to Save Bukit China is a test of whether the Barisan Nasional, both at state and national level, accept and respect the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural basis of Malaysia and the democratic system.
If the government accepts and respects the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural basis of Malaysia, then it should accept the principle that in the interests of national harmony and unity, the government would not force through any policy, measure or decision which tramples on the cultural or religious sensitivities of any community, and especially if such policy, measure or decision is unable to carry the mainstream community support as in the case of Bukit China.
Over the past three months, it has been shown without a shadow of doubt that the mainstream Chinese community opinion, not only in Malacca but throughout Malaysia, is opposed to any forcible government leveling and development of the ancient cemetery hill in Malacca into a housing and commercial centre.
Any government move, therefore, in utter disregard of the mainstream Chinese community aspiration in Malacca as well as in Malaysia over the Bukit China in Malacca would result in the worsening of racial polarization in the country and seriously damage the inter-racial harmony and co-operation in the country.
This is why for the interests of Malaysia, the Malacca State Government must be made to understand that it must not disregard larger national and long-term interests of the people.
The Bukit China issue is not an ordinary issue, in that it is not confined to the struggle to preserve an ancient cemetery hill in Malacca. In actual fact, if the 500-year-old symbol of cultural roots, contribution of Chinese to Malaysian nation building, and religious and political freedoms as symbolized by Bukit China could not be preserved, then in all the states in Malaysia, there is not a single right or interest which would be safe.
This is why the people, in particular the Malaysian Chinese, is fully conscious of the national and long-term implications and importance of the Bukit China issue.
The Bukit china issue is also a test as to whether the government of the day really practises parliamentary democracy – i.e. accept the principle that the government is based on the consent of the governed.
As the people throughout the country, from all racial and religious groups, are united in their support for the cause of Bukit China, then the government which believes in democracy must accede to public opinion and abandon the plan to level and develop Bukit China.
The DAP’s 300000 Save Bukit China Mass Signature Campaign is therefore a campaign not merely to save Bukit China in Malacca, but to save the historic, religious, cultural, political and citizenship rights of all Malaysians, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese.
I call on the people of Kedah and Peris to come forward to sign the 300000 Save Bukit China Mass Signature Petition to make this mass signature campaign the most successful, historic and momentous in Malaysian history.