Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, Nov.22, 1984:
Call on Tan Koon Swan to resign from his MCA faction and give up his MCA political power struggle as he had failed the Bukit China test of honouring the Nov.6 pledge abiding by the final decision of Cheng Hoon Teng and Chinese community
I have never been more shocked by the speech by the Malacca MCA Tranquerah Assemblyman, Ng Peng Huay in the Malacca State Assembly yesterday reiterating the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction’s determination to press on with its collaboration with the Malacca Chief Minister to develop Bukit China.
I am shocked not because Ng Peng Huay had made the speech (which in fact, like his July 24 Malacca Assembly speech denouncing the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple trustees as ‘pengkhianat bangsa’ was written by Chan Teck Chan), but because Tan Koon Swan and the leaders of his faction had openly and blatantly broken their solemn pledge on Nov.6 that they would withdraw their open and active support of the Malacca Chief Minister and advocacy of the development of Bukit China, and would abide by the final decision of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community.
This is what Tan Koon Swan, in the name of other leaders of his faction, publicly declared on Nov.6:
“If Cheng Hoon Teng Temple takes the initiative to invite further views from Chinese organisation, political, cultural and religious bodies, we would give deep, careful and democratic discussion to find a better solution, and we will be glad to contribute our views. However, if Cheng Hoo n Teng Temple finds this not necessary, then we will clearly abide by the final decision of Cheng Hoon Teng and the Chinese community.”
Tan Koon Swan and his faction has established Malaysian political record where their solemn public pledge and undertaking does not last more than two weeks, for Ng Peng Huay, speaking for the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, had made clear in the Malacca State Assembly that the Tan Koon Swan pledge of Nov.6 is not worth a cent at all!
Ng Peng Huay’s speech has also raised another crucial question: whether in fact, Tan Koon Swan was telling the truth when he claimed that his faction had not officially submitted the second development plan for Bukit China to the Malacca Chief Minister.
It would appear that we have a situation whereby as far as the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, is concerned, the second development plan was officially submitted to him by Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay, Lim Soo Kiang and others in Malacca, and as the Malacca Chief Minister had not received the second development plan from Koon Swan he could simply ignore and dismiss Tan Koon Swan’s disavowal so long as Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang had not formally and officially protested against the official use of the second development plan.
In fact, from Ng Peng Huay’s speech, the Chief Minister could claim that there has been no protest or disavowal of the official nature of the second development plan on Bukit China submitted to him by Chan Teck Chan, Ng Peng Huay and Lim Soo Kiang, and that as far as the State Government is concerned, of there is Chinese support for the State Government’s idea of development of Bukit China.
The Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, could not have a better spokesman than Ng Peng Huay on his Bukit China development plan, as for instance, in dismissing the representations of 553 Chinese organisations, societies and associations to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the 300,000 Save Bukit China mass signature campaign launched by the DAP by claiming that 4,000 of the 4,5000 Chinese organisation (or 90%) and 4.7 million Malaysian Chinese (or 98%) have not given their views!
The Malacca Chief Minister must have been very pleased indeed that he has found MCA leaders who are even more UMNO than UMNO to serve the Bukit China development objectives of the Malacca State Government.
It is very clear from Ng Peng Huay’s speech that the Tan Koon Swan MCA Malacca faction has no intention of respecting the mainstream of Chinese aspiration with regard to the future of Bukit China, but on the contrary, they are reaffirming:
1. Their campaign supporting the Malacca Chief Minister’s development objective of Bukit China, including their campaign of intimidation against Cheng Hoon Teng Committee and the Chinese community
2. Their second development plan for Bukit China as announced by the Malacca Chief Minister on Sept.12
3. Their support for the Malacca Chief Minister’s July 23 Assembly speech on his ‘optionless’ three proposals for the development of Bukit China.
That the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction is giving every aid and support to the Malacca State Government on its plans for Bukit China, including the acquisition of 10 per cent purportedly for road development, could be seen by Ng Peng Huay’s behaviour in the Malacca Assembly yesterday.
Thus, when the Malacca Chief Minister, in reply to DAP Assembly for Durian Daun, Sdr. Lai Keun Ban, said that the government plans to acquire 10 per cent of Bukit China for road development, Ng Peng Huay asked the supplemantary question on the breakdown of graves which had previously been acquired by the State Government.
The Malacca Chief Minister’s answer was that in the last 10 years since 1975, 3,450 graves had been shifted, comprising Indians 37 or 1%, Chinese 223 or 6% and Malays 3,200 or 93%.
Ng Peng Huay asked this supplemantary question, having known the answer in advance, in order to help the Malacca Chief Minister to make the point that the Chinese community should not object too strongly if the Malacca State Government wants to desecrate and resite the 12,500 graves which are to be found on Bukit China.
Clearly, Ng Peng Huay and his other colleagues have a great bright future in the Malacca under the Chief Ministership of Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik.
I find Ng Peng Huay’s statement that the Tan Koon Swan faction, for the Chinese, is prepared to fight a battle with the worst calculations and to pave the last line of defence’ as most intriguing, for this is being done with close collaboration and collusion with the UMNO Chief Minister! What type of a ‘last battle’ and ‘last line of defence’ is this?
If the Malaysian Chinese, to use his words, must fight ‘the last battle and the last line of defence’ which is determined by UMNO, then there is in fact no more last battle or last line of defence!
I do not propose to refer to the other childist and immature statements of Ng Peng Huay reading out the speech prepared by Chan Teck Chan, expect to stress that Ng Peng Huay’s speech is the greatest tragedy and betrayal in the struggle of the Chinese community for their religious, cultural, religious and political rights as symbolised by Bukit China.
This is because with one speech, the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had given the Malacca Chief Minister excuse to proceed with the Bukit China development plan, and in fact to show a hard line by declaring the State Government’s intention to acquire 10 per cent of the ancient hill for road development, and to dismiss with comtempt the 553 Chinese organisations’ views and the 300,000 mass signature campaigns.
Tan Koon Swan has failed his test of political leadership, for he had failed to honour his Nov.6 pledge that the final decision on Bukit China would be left in the hands of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community, that the Malacca Tan Koon Swan faction had been told not to issue any statements or make any speeches but to leave the issue to be handle solely by the national leadership, and that the Tan Koon Swan faction would stop obstructing the campaign of the Chinese community to oppose the Malacca State Government’s plan to forcibly develop Bukit China.
Tan Koon Swan has failed the Bukit China test, and he should resign from the leadership position of his faction, and in fact, give up his MCA political power struggle, for how could he claim to have the qualities to lead the Malaysian Chinese when in a matter of two weeks, his solemn undertaking and pledge is publicly dishonoured?