Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, when launching the DAP ‘One Person, One Dollar’ $2 million Bukit China Quit Rent Protest Campaign for the Pahang State in Kuantan on Friday, Dec. 14 at 10 am
DAP suggests a round-table conference with both Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan MCA factions and Gerakan to take a common united stand to get the $2 million Bukit China quit rent demand and ultimatum cancelled by before Dec. 28
The launching of the DAP ‘One Person, One Dollar’ Bukit China $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum protest campaign in Pahang, after Malacca, Federal Territory, Perak, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, is to demonstrate that the Save Bukit China issue is an issue which should concern every Malaysian who cherish their historic, political, religious and cultural rights.
This is because if the 500-year ancient cemetry hill of Bukit China in Malacca, which has been the community trust property of the Chinese community for religious purpose, could be forcibly taken away, then it symbolises that there is not a single inch of land or a single right which we now have which is safe from encroachment today or tomorrow.
If we cannot preserve the historic, religious and cultural legacy of our ancestors, then we have also lost the right and capability to assure for our children a better place for them in Malaysia.
The $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum issued by the Malacca a month, which expires on Dec. 28, is no different from ‘daylight robbery’ – for way back in 1968, the Malacca State Government had in an official letter informed Cheng Hoon Teng Trustees that Bukit China is exempted from quit rent as it was used for burial purposes.
The Bukit China issue is not strictly a quit rent issue, or a land matter (as Dr. Lim Chong Eu of Gerakan claims), but it symbolises our political, religious and cultural rights as Malaysian citizens, whether we have sensitivities which even the Government must respect like our ancient cemetry hill.
This is why we have launched the ‘One Person, One Dollar’ Protest campaign against the threat of forfeiture of Bukit China if $2 million is not paid within a month, to make every Malaysian aware that they must stand up to protect their rights and protest against all injustices. Otherwise, after the $2 million quit rent of Bukit China, all other cemetries in Malaysia will also face similar demand and ultimatum that has been issued by the Malacca State Government.
The MCA whether of Neo Yee Pan or Tan Koon Swan faction and the Gerakan are all playing a double-game on the Bukit China issue. I call on them to stop this irresponsible politicking at this crucial time when there are only less than two weeks left to the Chief Minister of Malacca’s one-month ultimatum.
The DAP is prepared, and I hereby suggest, a round-table conference with both the Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan MCA factions and the Gerakan to put aside our party political difference for the moment, and on the $2 million Bukit China quit rent demand and ultimatum issue, take a common united stand to get the $2 million Bukit China quit rent demand and ultimatum cancelled by before Dec. 28, 1984.
This common united stand would involve a two-phase operation, involving the role of the Barisan Nasional component parties inside the government and the DAP outside the government. This united common stand will not be affected by the legal action to be initiated by Cheng Hoon Teng Trustees, for even if the action is filed, there is nothing to stop the Malacca State Government from withdrawing the $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum. All it meant would be that the legal case would lapse.
I will wait until Monday’s newspaper for the response from the Neo and Tan MCA factions and Gerakan to a common united stand to get the $2 million quit rent demand and ultimatum cancelled for, if by then there is no response, then clearly they are not prepared to put the interest of the community and country above their petty party interests.