Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Oppostion Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya DAP Hqrs on Saturday, 24.11.1984 at 12.30pm
Lim Kit Siang confirms debate with Tan Koon Swan on Bukit China, but it must be held immediately and not after February, and not connected with Tan Koon Swan’s power struggle with Neo Yee Pan and Mok Hon Kam
On 7th Nov 1984, before I left for Tokyo for a Socialist International conference, I challenged Tan Koon Swan to a public debate on my allegation that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had betrayed the historic, religious, cultural abd political rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese over Bukit China issue for individual and group interests.
Yesterday, at his press conference, Tan Koon Swan said he accepted my challenge to a public debate on Bukit China, but he wanted to drag in Neo Yee Pan and Mak Hon Kam, and wanted the debate to focus on four issues:
1. Tan Koon Swan has derived ‘personal finance benefit’ from the Bukit China issue;
2. Tan Koon Swan committee’s Bukit China development plan is a plot to betray the dignity of the Chinese race and the political historic and cultural tradition of the Chinese;
3. Tan Koon Swan had openly or secretly advocated the levelling of Bukit China
4. The preservation of Bukit China, without touching a blade of grass or stone, is more beneficial to the interest of the Chinese community than the establishment of a Chinese historic and cultural city on Bukit China
The four items are more properly the subject matter between Tan Koon Swan and the Neo Yee Pan faction, and has nothing to do with me.
In his press conference yesterday, Tan Koon Swan also made personal attacks on me, but I will not reply to them. For I am not interested in a personal quarrel with Tan Koon Swan, but only with the actions of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction with the regard to their Bukit China activities, which are prejudicial to the historic, political, cultural, religious rights of the Malaysian Chinese.
I hope that Tan Koon Swan, by dragging in Neo Yee Pan and Mak Hon Kam into his debate with me, is not finding an excuse to back out of the debate. The MCA Headquarters had already replied to Tan Koon Swan that the question of a debate does not arise. Does this mean that Tan Koon Swan’s acceptance of my debate challenge also lapses?
I hope that Tan Koon Swan will not back out, for I am confirming the public debate with Tan Koon Swan on the subject I spelt out on Nov 7:
“That the Tan Koon Swan 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.”
The debate however must be held immediately, and not after Feb.1 Tan Koon Swan said that he would be too busy there two months on ‘official and personal’ business for the debate. I find this unacceptable, for if he finds that he is too busy to debate on a matter which have such a critical and far-reaching consequence for Malaysian Chinese and future generation, then clearly, he could not genuinely have the interests and future welfare of the Malaysian Chinese at heart, and it is doubtful it is worthwhile having a debate with a person who put personal interests above public interests-especially in the case of Bukit China, where his faction’s actions had plunged the Chinese position in Malaysia into the greatest crisis and dilemma in Malaysian history!
I want to ask Tan Koon Swan whether in his eyes, Bukit China issue takes fourth or fifth position, well after his own ‘personal and official’ business? Or does he want more than two months to prepare for this debate with me?
To summarise, I confirm the public debate with Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had betrayed the historic, religious, cultural and political rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese over Bukit China issue for individual and group interests, but it must be held immediately and not after Feb 1, and it must have no connection with his own power struggle with Neo Yee Pan and Mak Hon Kam in MCA.
I hope for a prompt answer from Tan Koon Swan in which event, I would arrange for DAP officials to finalise the debate details with Koon Swan’s representatives.
I do not know when Tan Koon Swan is going overseas, but this debate must be held before he leaves, for I do not see why he could not delay his departure if necessary, for an issue of such importance to the Chinese community and even the Malaysian nation.
DAP accuses Tan Koon Swan faction of playing a double-game in Bukit China issue
In fact, since I issued my debate challenge on Nov 7, I am now even more convinced that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction is playing a double-game detrimental to the rights and interests of the Chinese community on the Bukit China issue.
Although in his policy statement on Nov 6, Tan Koon Swan said that his MCA faction would not pursue the Bukit China issue any further, that they would abide by the final decision of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community, and that his Malacca faction leaders had been instructed not to issue any more statements or make any speeches on Bukit China, the people was presented with an entirely different spectacle in Malacca in the last three days.
On 21st Nov, Tan Koon Swan MCA faction Assembly in Malacca, Ng Peng Huay, swore in the Malacca State Assembly that they would continue with their Bukit China stand which is directly contrary so the mainstream Chinese community opinion. Ng Peng Huay went further by casting doubt and legitimacy on the 553 Chinese organisation which made representations to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the 300,000 signatories who responded to the DAP Save Bukit China mass signature campaign, so as to prepare the ground for the Malacca Chief Minister to announce the next day that he would not consider the position of the 553 organisations and 300,000 signatories.
Let me tell Tan Koon Swan in advance that this would be one powerful proof that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had betrayed the historic, political, cultural and religious rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese over the Bukit China issue for individual and group interests, I can give Tan Koon Swan another proof from the events of these few days in Malacca.
Yesterday, The Malacca Tan Koon Swan MCA faction’s so-called ‘Working Committee to Defend the Development Rights of Bukit China’ presented a new development plan for Bukit China to the Malacca Chief Minister, and all the 30-odd member delegation led by Chan Teck Chan and Ng Peng Huay were threated as VIPs by the Malacca Chief Minister.
They were even allowed to hold a so-called ‘peaceful demonstration’ purportedly against the State Government’s decision to acquire Bukit China for road development.
This is the first time in Malaysian history that any State Government had sanctioned any demonstration against itself, within the precincts of the protected and guarded government grounds, and after the demonstration, treating the demonstrators as ‘VIPs’ with the Chief Minister himself praising the demonstrators.
In actual fact, although Chan Teck Chan may be the script-writer, director, main actor of the little drama at the Malacca Chief Minister’s office yesterday, the producer of the drama was clearly none other than the Malacca Chief Minister himself!
In presenting officially a development plan to the Malacca Chief Minister, the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had in fact given the Malacca Chief Minister the excuse to claim that the government’s Bukit China development plan had support of the Chinese community and the justification to ignore the representations of the 553 Chinese organisations and 300,000 signatories.
Is this not a further action by the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction which is antithetical to the historic, cultural, religious and political rights of the Malaysian Chinese?
Tan Koon Swan, in his press conference yesterday, when asked about Ng Peng Huay’s speech in the Assembly, clearly had given his approval. The drama at the Malacca Chief Minister’s office in Malacca yesterday where his Malacca MCA faction leaders presented the development plan on Bukit China would not be disapproved by him either.
If this is not double game, what is? Nationally, to the Malaysian Chinese, Tan Koon Swan declare that his faction will stand one hundred percent by the Cheng Hoon Teng and the Chinese community in the fight for integral ownership right over Bukit China to be recognised and respected. On the other hand, he allowed his Malacca MCA faction to say and do things which help the Malacca Chief Minister to deny this ownership right of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Chinese community over Bukit China.
Tan Koon Swan MCA faction leaders now trying to use their tears to drwon drown the rights of the Chinese.
The press reported that in the Malacca Assembly yesterday, Ng Peng Huay wept while speaking on the Bukit China issue. I understand that it is now becoming quite usual for Ng Peng Huay, Chan Teck Chan and others to publicly weep when talking about Bukit China, claiming that they wanted to do good for the Chinese community. In fact, Chan Teck Chan had gone to top Tan Koon Swan MCA faction leaders weeping about how he had been wronged.
I for one could not be moved by such ‘tactic of tears’ by Chan Teck Chan, for I first experienced it when Chan Teck Chan was in DAP. When he was doing his utmost to wreak and destroy the DAP from inside he could come to me when I asked him to explain his actions and weep until he could not speak bout how loyal he was to DAP, and how all his actions was for my good and for the DAP’s good.
I must congratulate Chan Teck Chan however for clearly he had perfected his ‘tactics of tears’ into a a public episode which is emulated by his disciples as well.
Ng Peng Huay and Chan Teck Chan said yesterday that they would be making their last public statement on Bukit China. In fact, they need not make any more public statements, for they have done enough damage to the entire campaign to save Bukit China by their official submission of another development plan to the Malacca Chief Minister. All that the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had to say to the Malacca Chief Minister on Bukit China in future could be communicated in private, away from the prying eyes and listening ears of the Chinese community!