Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary – General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, on arrival of the Thousand – Mile Save Bukit China Marathon Walkers at Bukit China, Malacca, on Tuesday, 30th Oct. 1984 at 5 p.m.
DAP to submit the 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signatures to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple on Saturday, 3rd November 1984
Today, we mark the completion of four highlights in the Save Bukit China campaign:
1. The 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signature campaign;
2. The 10,000 – People Save Bukit China Dinner in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 28;
3. The Save Bukit China Thousand Mile Marathon Walk from the northern point of Alor Star, the eastern point of Kuantan, the Southern point of Johore Bahru as well as innumerable subsidiary routes to Bukit China, Malacca; and
4. The 10,000 – People Save Bukit China Gathering in Pay Fong, Malacca tonight.
All these are public demonstration of the people’s deeply – felt commitment for the defence and preservation of Bukit China, which symbolises their historic, cultural, religious, political and citizenship rights in Malaysia.
In the 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signature campaign, Malaysians of all races, religions and cultures had responded, showing that the cause of Bukit China is not just the concern of one community but of all communities.
This is as it should be as Bukit China is not only the community trust property of the Malaysian Chinese, it is also the cultural heritage of all Malaysians.
Malaysian nation building must be based on the acceptance of the contribution of the various racial, religious and cultural groups
As a multi – racial, multi – religious and multi – cultural society, we can only build a united Malaysian people and nation if all accept the contribution of the various racial, religious and cultural groups in the past as part and parcel of Malaysian cultural heritage.
For instance, if there is any one community which regards its past heritage as the sole national heritage, denying to other communities, religions and cultures their contribution to Malaysian nation – building, then not only will national unity fail but a new divisive force of disunity and racial polarisation will threaten the stability and harmony of Malaysia.
Bukit China, therefore, must be accepted by all communities, religions and cultures as not merely the community trust property, but as the national cultural heritage which all Malaysians must be proud of.
Malaysians have enough sources of division and friction, so let us not create more issues from the distant past to divide Malaysians further along ethnic, cultural and religious lines.
Attorney – General’s opinion
On 24th Oct., I asked the Prime Minister in Parliament what are the Attorney – General’s views on the Bukit China issue as the Cabinet had referred the matter for his opinion.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, said in his reply: “ Masalah Bukit China telah dirujuk kepada Peguam Negara untuk mendapat nasihat beliau.
“Mengikut Peguam Negara, Perbadanan Kuil Cheng Hoon Teng boleh majukan tanah di Bukit China. Walaupun demikian beberapa syarat telah diadakan terhadap jenis dan skop pembangunan yang boleh dibuat. Kerajaan akan meneliti pendapat Peguam Negara dan jika perlu akan memberi nasihat kepada pihak – pihak yang terlibat.”
Clause 10 of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Incorporation) ordinance 1949, sub – clause ( c ), provides for ‘the maintenance, administration and improvement and, if necessary, the enlargement and development of all burial grounds and other property’ which clearly restrict the ‘development’ of Bukit China to the statutory objectives of the Ordinance – which is the ‘promotion, propagation and observance of the doctrines, ceremonies, rites and customs of Buddhist and other religions commonly professed or maintained by the Chinese community.
The Ordinance does not permit the ‘development’ of Bukit China to build commercial complexes and multi – storey exclusive mansions, or even a mosque, as proposed by either the Chief Minister or the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction in their development plan for Bukit China, or for any purpose to make anyone a multi – millionaire. overnight.
I call on the Prime Minister and the Malacca State Chief Minister to fully honour the spirit and letter of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Incorporation Ordinance 1949 whereby Bukit China had been consecrated for religious and burial purpose.
Tan Koon Swan MCA faction highly praised by UMNO paper for its Bukit China stand
The Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, in defying Chinese community aspiration in expressing full support for the Malacca Chief Minister’s plan to level and develop Bukit China, has earned the high praise of UMNO.
In today’s UMNO – controlled daily, Harian Nasional, which had a few months ago carried a cartoon which insulted the Chinese community over the Bukit China issue, had in its editorial, praised the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, commending Tan Koon Swan MCA faction for its ‘sincerity’ to the UMNO over the Bukit China issue, and suggesting that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction should be favoured over the Neo Yee Pan MCA faction as a result.
The people, and in particular the Chinese community, must draw their own conclusions as to the real motives of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction over the Bukit China issue.
The DAP Save Bukit China Campaign will continue to expose political groups and politicians who are prepared to sacrifice community, cultural, religious, political and national interests for their pretty personal political ends.
For this reasons, after the DAP National Save Bukit China Committee has handed over the 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signatures to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple trustees on Saturday, Nov. 3, 1984 at 11 a.m., we will embark on two new Save Bukit China programmes:
1. Holding of Thousand Save Bukit China ceramahs by end of 1985;
2. Publication of a Book on the Bukit China struggle to let every Malaysian understand the fundamental issues involved.