1985 New Year Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, released in Petaling Jaya on 31.12.1984
1985 a crucial year in the struggle to create Malaysians with truly Malaysian nationalist spirit and commitment
After 27 years or Merdeka, a truly Malaysian people with Malaysian nationalist spirit, identity, and commitment is still struggling to be born. Such Malaysians must rise above their separate racial, cultural, linguistic and religious ties to come together with a Malaysian nationalist outlook and consciousness which recognises a common national destiny which is larger than their sectional differences.
1985 will be a crucial year in the struggle to create this new, in fact the first, Malaysians. It is the people themselves who must decide whether in 1985, progress or further setbacks to this struggle finally results.
To a large extent, the progress or setback to such a struggle will depend on the answers given in 1985 to the fundamental questions raised in 1984.
Some of these fundamental questions are:
Whether racial polarisation would be further aggravated by a flagrant insentivity to the legitimate rights of the various races, languages, cultures and religious in Malaysia, as happened in the Bukit China issue, most recently, the arbitrary reduction of Chinese language teaching period in Chinese primary schools under the 3M curriculum from 240 minutes a week to 210 minutes.
Whether religious polarisation, especially between Muslims and non-Muslims, would become the biggest single divisive factor in Malaysia, arising from the UMNO-PAS contest for the Islamic constituency – which had already resulted in the worrisome Islamisation process in a multi-religious society;
Whether the poor of all races would be given priority in national development efforts, reversing the process of ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, or whether this gap would be further expanded in the remaining NEP years under the concepts of Privatisation and Malaysia Inc.
Whether Malaysia can avoid the Mexican oath of high-national debt nations mortgaging the future of the country;
Whether Malaysia could fully exploit the most important and strategic natural resource, the human resources, which is the single most important determinant of the greatness of nations, but which had been sorely neglected in Malaysia by a system which does not cherish excellence, merit or ability.
Whether Malaysia can regain confidence in the government in its commitment to a clean, efficient and trustworthy administration, which has been badly sullied by the BMF loans scandal, the Papan radioactive waste dump issue, the manifest breakdown of public service standards as in the deplorable state of highway construction and the scandals in government agencies like the LPN;
Whether Parliament could regain a more meaningful political role with a will of its own to help decide Malaysia’s future, instead of being a automatic rubber-stamp of the Executive, as illustrated by the Civil Law Amendment Bill scandal.
Whether the government would be more responsive and respectful of the views and aspirations of the people, or whether it would seek to stamp out democratic dissent, whether by political opposition or pressure groups, by use of repressive powers like ISA arrests and by seeking to communalise non-racial issues, like BMF and Papan.