Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP 100,000 -People Save Bukit China Gathering at Pay Fong Chinese Independent Secondary School on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 1984 at 8 p.m.
DAP to organise 1,000 Save Bukit China ceramahs throughout Malaysia by 1985 to get Malaysians to understand its historic, cultural, religious, political and nation – building implications and importance
I want to pay tribute to everyone inside and outside the Party who have contributed to make the 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signature campaign, the Thousand – Mile Save Bukit China Marathon Walk, the 10,000 – People Save Bukit China Dinner in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 28, and the 10,000 – People Save Bukit China Gathering in Malacca tonight a great success.
They have made a contribution which they have every reason to be proud of, of which they could tell their children and children’s children of what they had done to defend our fundamental historic, cultural, religious, political and citizenship rights, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.
In the Save Bukit China campaign, we must get more Malaysians to come forward to contribute to the wellbeing of the community, society and nation, and not just engrossed in their personal lives and ambitions.
This is because the Save Bukit China campaign, despite the 300,000 mass signature campaign and the Thousand – Mile Marathon Walk, had not come to an end. In fact, we are still at the early stage of the campaign, which is going to be a long – standing struggle.
Encouraged by the open public support of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, will try to achieve his Bukit China plan, uaing the various tactics and strategies of how to deal with the opposition from the people, especially the Chinese community, as suggested by the Tan Koon Swan Malacca MCA leaders headed by Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang.
There is no doubt that if the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had not supported publicly the Malacca Chief Minister’s Bukit China plan, then the Malacca Chief Minister would have to explain to all Malaysians and even to the national leadership why he is jeopardising inter – racial, inter – cultural and inter – religious peace and harmony by singly trying to force his Bukit China development plans on the Chinese community.
Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has provided the Malacca Chief Minister the Multi – racial, multi – cultural and multi – lingual support for his Bukit China plan he desperately needs.
Tan Koon Swan MCA faction the biggest stumbling block in the Save Bukit China campaign
From the development of the Bukit China issue in the last few months, it is how clear for everyone to see that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction is the biggest stumbling block in the Save Bukit China campaign.
I do not think that Tan Koon Swan and the other leaders of his faction are so obtuse as not to realise that their Bukit China stand, as expounded by the Tan Koon Swan MCA Malacca faction leaders, Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang, is being cursed by the Malaysian people, in particular the Chinese community.
I do not think that Tan Koon Swan and his advisers do not know that his previous highly – respected standing among the people, who sympathised with him because of the high – handed actions of the Neo Yee Pan MCA faction, had been dissipated because of the repeated statements and actions of his faction in Malacca on Bukit China, which openly defied mainstream Chinese community aspirations and hopes.
As a result of these political blunders of Tan Koon Swan, and not because of any brilliant master – strokes of Neo Yee Pan, the Tan Koon Swan faction has forfeited public sympathy, moral support and credibility to the extent that it has raised Neo Yee Pan’s fallen stocks, and both faction are seen by the people as ‘half kati, eight tahils’.
Tan Koon Swan and his advisers know all this, for they must be credited as astute political leaders who could calculate and read trends and public opinion.
The question all Malaysians ask is why, knowing that he would be losing publicly sympathy and support in his fight against the Neo Yee Pan MCA faction, and be regarded as even worse than Neo Yee Pan on the Bukit China issue, Tan Koon Swan and his faction leaders clung on to a stand which is not only detrimental to their political support among the Chinese community, but palpably prejudicial to the historic, political, religious and cultural rights of the Chinese for all time to come?
There could only be one reason. As I said at the 10,000 – People Save Bukit China Dinner in Kuala Lumpur two days ago, apart from the individual and group motives explaining its support for the Malacca Chief Minister’s plan to level and develop Bukit China, the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has also a political ulterior motive – which is to sacrifice Bukit China to get UMNO help and support to intervene on its behalf in the Neo Yee Pan – Tan Koon Swan MCA factional power struggle.
The Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had asked why the DAP and I had concentrated our attack on Tan Koon Swan. The answer is very simple. It is because the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had exceeded the Neo Yee Pan faction in supporting the Malacca State Government’ Bukit China plan.
Although the Neo Yee Pan MCA faction cannot dissociate itself from the Barisan Nasional government’s Bukit China decision, it had publicly pretended to oppose, unlike the Tan Koon Swan faction which openly supported the Malacca Chief Minister.
Datuk Chan Siang Sun said I am more afraid of Tan Koon Swan than Neo Yee Pan. I would say yes, but not for the reason given by Datuk Chan. The reason is if Tan Koon Swan and his faction is allowed to sacrifice Bukit China for their getting UMNO assistance in the Neo – Tan MCA power struggle, the victims would be the Chinese community and our future generations.
Tan Koon Swan had broken his own solemn undertaking on Bukit China
Until the Bukit China issue, many people had high respect for Tan Koon Swan. Since then, his political stocks had taken a serious fall.
Firstly, on Bukit China, he confessed at the August 8 phantom 5,000 – People Dinner in Malacca when pressed by reporters that he did not read newspapers and did not know about the Chief Minister’s announcements about plans for Bukit China, at that time to level and develop 80 per cent of Bukit China. Yet he dared to go to Malacca to give what was described by his faction as a ‘policy speech’ on Bukit China issue.
Secondly, after giving the ‘policy speech’ of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction on Bukit China, he immediately forgot about it and allowed the policy to be violated by his representatives in Malacca, and which was subsequently ‘authorised, approved and ratified’ in the two – day policy meeting of the faction at Genting Highlands on Oct. 20 and 21.
In his policy speech, Tan Koon Swan declared that the immediate task of the Chinese community was to defend its ‘ownership right’ over Bukit China, and not to discuss support or oppose development.
But at a time when the Malacca State Government has threatened the ownership right of the Chinese community over Bukit China, who is shouting the loudest that Bukit China must be developed? Of course, the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction through its Malacca leadership.
In the same policy speech, Tan Koon Swan outlined four steps for the settlement of the Bukit China issue:
Firstly, the support of all Chinese, including clans, societies and civic organisations, for Cheng Hoon Teng Temple to defend the ownership right over Bukit China;
Secondly, after settling the ownership right problem, establishment of an advisory group headed by Cheng Hoon Teng Temple to make recommendations about the future development of Bukit China;
Thirdly, establishment of a representative Chinese organisation headed by Cheng Hoon Teng Temple to study these recommendations; and
Fourthly, the formulation of a memorandum by the Chinese representative organisation to forward to the State Government about the future of Bukit China.
But even before the first of the four steps outlined by Tan Koon Swan in his policy speech of August 8, had been achieved, the Tan Koon Swan faction had already secretly, behind the back of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community, entered into negotiations with the Malacca Chief Minister about the development of Bukit China and even submitted a development plan which was revealed by the Chief Minister on Sept. 12 and admitted by the Tan Koon Swan faction only a month later.
Has Tan Koon Swan ever explained to the Chinese community why he and his faction had abandoned the four – step solution of the Bukit China issue he propounded in Malacca on August 8?
Has Tan Koon Swan ever explained why his faction went behind the back of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community to enter into secret negotiations with the Malacca Chief Minister on the development of Bukit China, and what is worse, even submitting a development plan of Bukit China to the Malacca Chief Minister?
Or is Tan Koon Swan again going to say that he does not read newspapers and know nothing about the secret negotiations and the Tan Koon Swan faction development plan for Bukit China?
I have nothing against Tan Koon Swan personally. In fact, I had repeatedly tried to warn him publicly of the treacherous path the Malacca Tan Koon Swan MCA faction was heading, but my advice was spurned, and he gave his blessings to the activities of the Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang group at the Genting Highlands.
There is a great need for the people of Malaysia to understand clearly the historic, cultural, religious, political and nation – building implications and importance of the Bukit China issue.
For this reason, the DAP will be launching the next phase of the Save Bukit China campaign, which is to hold 1,000 Save Bukit China ceramahs throughout Malaysia by the end of 1985, so that we take the Save Bukit China message to every nook and corner of Malaysia, to enlist the support and commitment of every Malaysian.
A DAP National Save Bukit China Thousand Ceramah Committee chaired by Sdr. Chiang Heng Kai, DAP National Organising Secretary, will plan and finalise details of this programme.
The 300,000 mass signature campaign, the Thousand – Mile Marathon Walk, the 10,000 – People Dinner in Kuala Lumpur and the 10,000 – People Gathering in Malacca are a resounding demonstration of the people’s wish and will to defend and preserve Bukit China.
If the Malacca State Chief Minister , Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, is a democrat, the he must abide the wishes and the will of the people and abandon forthwith his plan to level and develop Bukit China.
After the Malacca State Government had officially announced its abandonment of its plan to forcibly develop Bukit China, and respect the ownership right of Bukit China, then it is for the Chinese community under the leadership of Cheng Hoon Teng to discuss whether and how Bukit China could become a cultural and religious site to attract tourists from all over the world.
The people, through their response to the Save Bukit China campaign, have demonstrated that they would not fall for the arguments of the spokesmen of the Malacca Chief Minister, the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, that we agree immediately with the Malacca State Government to develop Bukit China, and forget the basic and fundamental principle of our ownership right over Bukit China.
The Bukit China issue will be a test case as to whether the government, whether at Federal or State level, respect the democratic rights of the people and the different religious, cultural and racial sensitivities so that Malaysia does not slide down the slippery slope of racial polarisation, religious tension and cultural distrust.
In trying to save Bukit China, we are trying not only to save our historic, cultural, religious and political rights, we are in fact trying to save Malaysia from being torn apart from racial, religious and cultural differences and conflict. We want to save not only our historic tradition, cultural roots, political rights, and citizenship status, but also save Malaysia from being destroyed by power – crazy leaders who do not cherish multi – racial, multi – religious, multi – cultural peace and harmony.