By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 7.11.84
Lim Kit Siang challenge Tan Koon Swan to a public debate that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has betrayed the historic, religious, cultural and political rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese over the Bukit China issue for individual and group interest
I find the joint statement issued by Tan Koon Swan, Lee Kim Sai, Ling Liong Sik, Chan Teck Chan, Wong Mook Liang, and Ng Peng Huay to clarify their Bukit China stand the most remarkable political document in recent Malaysian politics, for they were trying to argue the unarguable, defend the indefensible and even lie the unlie-able!
While admitting that one of the two proposed development plans for Bukit China originated from his faction, Tan Koon Swan said that he and his colleagues were surprised when they saw the plans made public by the Malacca Chief Minister on Sept.12 because they were meant ‘purely for preliminary discussion and for our own internal reference’.
Tan Koon Swan claimed that his group certain conceptual plans for the development of Bukit China for preliminary discussions but did not submit these plans formally to anyone for consideration. He said a copy was given to the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Tamby Cik at the Chief Minister’s request.
After so many broken promises and actions which are openly against the aspirations and interests of the Chinese community, the people are entitled to doubt now every statement made by the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction. The first question they have the right to ask is whether Tan Koon Swan’s assertion that they had not formally submitted the development plan announced by the Chief Minister as coming from the private sector is true or not.
Firstly, why didn’t Tan Koon Swan and his faction protest and openly clarified that the development plan announced by the Malacca Chief Minister as coming from private sector was in fact only a ‘preliminary plan meant purely for internal discussions’ and had not been officially submitted to the Malacca State Government immediately after the Malacca Chief Minister’s announcement? Why wait until now, when one of the Malacca Tan Koon Swan MCA faction subordinates inadvertently blurted out that the plan was the work of Tan Koon Swan planning committee?
Tan Koon Swan must explain why he has hiding this important information from the entire Chinese community for these two months?
Secondly, as the Tan Koon Swan faction had not protested publicly against the Chief Minister’s breach of faith and dishonest conduct in presenting an ‘informal’ and ‘preliminary plan for internal discussions’ as an official development plan submitted to him did Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues privately protest to the Malacca Chief Minister on the matter?
Clearly, if the Malacca Chief Minister is the type of person that the Tan Koon Swan faction is now painting, a leader without scruples who is prepared to resort to the most unprincipled tactics to further his Bukit China dream, then Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues have the great responsibility to forewarn the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Committee, the Chinese community and the Malaysian people as a whole, that the Malacca Chief Minister cannot be trusted at all from the dealings of Tan Koon Swan MCA faction with him. Did Tan Koon Swan do this?
No, Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues not only failed to warn the people, and in particular the Chinese community, that the Malacca Chief Minister cannot be trusted, but went out of the way to pressurise and intimidate the Chinese community, Chinese organisations, societies and associations as well as the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Committee to ‘act rationally, positively and far-sightedly’ on the two development plans announced by the Malacca Chief Minister on Sept.12, 1984.
Chan Teck Chan had on more than one occasion even warned the Chinese community to realise who has got the ‘political and military’ power in Malaysia, and boasted that the achievement of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction in getting the 80%-20% development of Bukit China changed to 40%-60% shows their effectiveness and sincerity in dealing with the Malacca Chief Minister over the Bukit China issue.
From the train of events, even taking Tan Koon Swan at his word that the Tan Koon Swan faction had not officially submitted their development plan for Bukit China to the Malacca State Government, their subsequent action of claiming pride of authorship for the development plan tantamount to a subsequent ratifidation of the Chief Minister’s claim.
Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues cannot now claim that they have no responsibility for the second development plan, especially as at the end of October, after the so-called save the Party Genting Highlands meeting, Chan Teck Chan admitted publicly that the second development plan emanated from the Tan Koon Swan faction, and he even announced that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has represented ‘Chinese political force’ in holding discussions and negotistions with the Malacca State Government on Bukit China more than six times!
How can Tan Koon Swan expect the people to believe him when he now claims that his faction had never officially presented proposals about Bukit China to anyone as they had no right to officially represent anyone to make official representations?
Tan Koon Swan cannot be unaware that when the press reported the Malacca State Government gazette notification of intention to acquire Bukit China, Chan Teck Chan called a press conference on Oct.9 in jubilant mood, declaring that the State Government was definitely going to acquire Bukit China for making a road, and declaring full support for such acquisition. He also used the occasion to launch an attack on the 25 Chinese National Organisations which had made clear their opposition to any Malacca State Government development of Bukit China and deprivation of Cheng Hoon Teng’s ownership right over the ancient cemetry hill. He even threatened to expose the ulterior motives of thos who oppose the Chief Minister’s development idea for Bukit China.
Chan Teck Chan also revealed at this press conference that he, Ng Peng Huay, Lim Soo Kiang and twenty others were responsible for the planning committee which had been having negotiations with the Malacca State Government over Bukit China in the past four months.
Again, I must ask Tan Koon Swan: Are you bluffing the people, or are you being bluffed yourself?
The final question that must be asked about the development plan, is, why did the Chief Minister said that it was submitted by the private sector? Does it mean it was submitted by Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues in their private capacity? Or was it representing the MCA, as a component party of Barisan Nasional- in which case, it could not be described as a ‘private sector’! This also calls for answers.
I also want to ask Tan Koon Swan whether he is really unaware that his MCA faction leaders like Lim Soo Kiang, Ng Peng Huay and others have been holding Information Department talks/on Bukit China, which completely disregard Cheng Hoon Teng’s ownership right and the aspirations, rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese/in Malacca with regard to Bukit China?
I challenge Tan Koon Swan to a public debate on my allegation that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has betrayed the historic, religious, cultural and political rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese over Bukit China issue for individual and group interests.
Tan Koon Swan and his colleagues would be underestimating the political intelligence of the people, and in particular the five million Malaysian Chinese, if he thinks that with one self-serving political statement, they could wash away their sins in the issue of Cheng Hoon Teng’s ownership right of Bukit China and the erosion of the historic, political, religious, cultural and citizenship rights of the people, in particular the Malaysian Chinese.
The Chinese community would give the Tan Koon Swan faction the opportunity to repent fpr their actions, but first they must admit that what they had done was wrong and in betrayal of the rights and interests of the Chinese community.
At the Malacca State Assembly meeting beginning on Nov.20 the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction represented by Lim Soo Kiang and Ng Peng Huay must publicly and jointly make the following admissions and declarations:
1. Apology for the campaign of obstruction against the Cheng Hoon Teng Committee, the Chinese organisations, societies and associations, in the Bukit China issue and in particular apology and retraction for the slanderous remarks by Ng Peng Huay describing the Cheng Hoon Teng trustees as ‘pengkhianat bangsa’;
2. Withdrawal and apology for the second development plan for Bukit China as announced by the Malacca Chief Minister on Sept. 12;
3. Declaration that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction oppose:
a. The State Government gazette notification of September to acquire Bukit China for road purpose;
b. The three proposals for Bukit China development as outlined by the Malacca Chief Minister on July 23 in the Malacca Assembly;
c. Any State Government development of Bukit China, as this must be decided solely by Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, which includes its right to agree or to disagree to any development;
The Tan Koon Swan MCA faction has already done great damage to the historic, political, cultural and religious rights of the Malaysian Chinese in the past four months. Can the faction be trusted that it would not enter into a new collusion and conspiracy with the Malacca Chief Minister in the next few months to further the Malacca Chief Minister’s Bukit China dream?