Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the launching of the DAP ‘One Person, One Dollar’ $2 million Bukit China Quit Rent Protest Campaign in Johore in Batu Pahat on Sunday, Dec. 16, 1984 at 10 a.m.
I am prepared to meet Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, to discuss the Bukit China issue in the interest of preventing the aggravation of racial polarisation
The Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik, has said that he is prepared to meet me to discuss the Bukit China issue in the interest of the State. I am prepared to meet Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik to discuss the Bukit China issue to ensure that racial polarisation is not aggravated because of the Bukit China issue.
I have not asked to meet the Malacca Chief Minister up till now because of unpleasant experiences in the past, when all sorts of obstacles and difficulties were created when DAP leaders wanted to discuss the people’s problems with the Malacca Chief Minister.
I am prepared to put all this aside, for we in the DAP do not believe in ‘confrontation’ to solve problems, but in discussion and consultation as befits a democratic system where the government is elected by the people.
I have asked the DAP State Secretary for Malacca and Assemblyman for Durian Daun, Sdr. Lai Keun Ban, to set up an appointment with the Malacca Chief Minister.
The Malacca Chief Minister was very happy to accept and recognise the 20,000 signatures presented to him by Gerakan Belia Bersatu which claimed to support the Malacca Chief Minister’s development of Bukit China, and ordered the Malacca State Government monthly, Suara Melaka, to give it front-page coverage. But when the Gerakan Belia Bersatu later clarified that the 20,000 signatures were not in support of the State Government’s development of Bukit China, Suara Melaka refused to publish a correction.
When the DAP collected 300,000 signatures to oppose the Malacca State Government’s Bukit China development, the Malacca Chief Minister refuse to recognise it and arranged for Ng Peng Huay, the Tan Koon Swan spokesman in the Malacca State Assembly, to declare that there are still 4.7 million Malaysian Chinese who had not signed the mass-signature petition!
It would appear that Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik would only want to hear ‘yes’ and not voices of ‘no’. This is not the act or conduct of a political leader in a democratic system.
We in the DAP do not want to have a showdown or a confrontation with the Malacca Chief Minister, or with anybody, but we want the authorities responsible over the people to respect the rights and sensitivities of the people, especially on religious and cultural matters like Bukit China.
Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik had often claimed that it was Cheng Hoon Teng trustees who first suggested the idea of development of Bukit China, which had repeatedly been denied by the trustees. But for argument’s sake, if as the Chief Minister claimed, it was his intention to help the trustees to develop Bukit China, now that it is clear that the Cheng Hoon Teng trustees are opposed to the development of Bukti China, why is the Malacca Chief Minister obdurately wanting to have a showdown on the development of Bukit China?
The Malacca Chief Minister probably fears a ‘loss of face’ if he now abandons the development of Bukit China. There is no ‘loss of face’ at all. On the contrary, it would show him as a leader of political maturity who is prepared to accept the views of the people as the guide for his policies and actions.