Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Melaka on Thursday, 17.1.1985 at 11am.
Call for a national crusade and war against political corruption and immorality in Malaysia.
I went into a five day political seclusion and contemplation from January 12-16 as a personal moral and political protest against the
dirtiness and treachery of Malaysian politics as highlighted by the Yong Wee Yoke betrayal of the party and public.
I had said at the Jan 11 press conference that the Yong Wee Yoke
betrayal had made me even more tempted to retire from politics and get away
from the immorality, treachery and dirtiness of politics to do something else,
and that I felt disenchanted and disillusioned, even weary, because of the
treachery of man.
Next year, l986, I would have spent 20 years of my life in political
work. I had never regretted my political involvement and commitment, for I believe
that if Malaysians are not prepared to take a firm political stand, then they
themselves are partly responsible for the continuing erosion of their political,
economic, educational, cultural and religious rights and those of future generations.
I am convinced that I have not wasted my I9 years in politics and that
the DAP had played a crucial political role in Malaysian nation-building.
Detractors of DAP are fond of challenging the DAP to spell out what the Party
has achieved in our political struggle.
Not being a government party, the DAP cannot point to the expenditures
of public funds either for the public welfare or for corruption, misuse or
waste; or to the government legislation or measures which further or undermine
the rights and interests of the people.
As an opposition party, our role is different than that of a government
party. By our very presence, and the public support behind us, we are a
constant reminder to the ruling parties that we represent a substantial body
of Malaysian opinion, aspirations and rights which the government must take
into account, and could only ignore, not only to the r peril of the ruling parties
but to the well-being of Malaysia as well.
The effectiveness of our role depends on the support given bythe Malaysians.
The April 1982 general elections is a very good illustration of this.
When the DAP suffered electoral reverses in the general elections, the Barisan
Nasional government fully exploited the opportunity to implement policies
and measures which it would otherwise not do so, as in the One Language-One Culture
Policy, the accelerated implementation of the National Culture Policy of assimilation,
the process of Islamisation, the 70 million people population policy, the
pressure to extend NEP till after 1990, the redelineation of parliamentary
and state assembly constituencies, etc.
One good way to answer the question as to what the DAP has done
is to ask the question what would have been the position today if the DAP had
not been around in the past 19 years. I think Malaysia 1985 in a Malaysia
without a DAP would be a very different country, with political, economic,
educational, cultural and religious dimensions many dread and fear.
In the final analysis, the DAP has played a great moderating role
To try to drag Malaysian nation-building back to the path
of multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious
direction, and the degree of the DAP’s success will depend on the
degree of public support for us.
While I am convinced that I have fully and usefully spent the 19
years in political struggle, it does not mean that I have not thought of
doing something else if possible, as in spending five years to start my legal
practice – especially as when there are countless ‘cultural assassins’ who
allege that I depend on the political rice-bowl for a living.
But Malaysia, the people and the DAP, are now at a critical juncture
for the next general elections will decide whether the people could arrest
and even reverse the present process of continuing erosion of their political,
economic, educational, cultural and religious rights, and this as a time for
everyone to make a full and total commitment to seek to bring about political
change before it is too late. This is why I had described the next general
elections as a ‘Do or Die’ battle, not only for the DAP, but for the people’s
I want to thank Malaysians who have expressed concern that
I might ‘call it quits’ I am not calling it quits as yet. The ‘Do or
Die’ Battle of the next general elections must be fought first.
During my five day political seclusion and contemplation, I have given
considerable thought to the Malaysian disease of political corruption and
A I find it the biggest mockery of the Barisan Nasional government
that it should profess a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government and to
inculcate Islamic values of honesty, fairness, clean conduct that it should
be a party to the politics of corruption and immorality as in the Yong Wee Yoke
I challenge the Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Chairman Datuk Seri
Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, to deny that he was not responsible for the drafting
of Yong Wee Yoke’s betrayal statement, that he knew Yong Wee Yoke was forced
to say and do things against his conscience which would bring shame to himself,
his family and the people of Malacca and Malaysia.
It has been said that in corruption, the taker is as guilty as the
giver. The same holds true for political immorality and corruption for ” both the
taker and giver have shown that they are equally without moral values and standards.
How can Malaysians expect political leaders without ‘moral values and standards’
to lead a clean, efficient and trustworthy government?
I call on the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik,
To resign so that a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ government and inculcation
of Islamic values is given true meaning, for he had in the Yong Wee Yoke affair
shown that he is morally unfit for high political office!
The DAP also calls for a people’s national crusade and war against
Political corruption and immorality which,, if unchecked, will bring about Malaysia’s
I find that the people of Malaysia have not given sufficient attention
and seriousness to the problem of political corruption and immorality.
The Chan Teck Chan.case is a good illustration here. Although he
had betrayed the DAP and the people for 31.25 acres of housing land, he is
still highly-regarded in some circles, and was until the Bukit China affair, .
influential director in the Malacca Chinese Charter of Commerce. A top
UMNO leader had admitted to me about Chan Teck Chan’s 31.25 acre scandal.
This is also public knowledge. Yet he could still talk and act as if he is
the very embodiment of moral authority and righteousness.
This is not Chan Teck Chan’s fault, but the fault of the people and in particular
the Chinese in Malaysia, who are unable to summon up a repudiation of such
immoral and despicable deeds.
The Yong Wee Yoke betrayal has brought shame to Malaysians who
abhor political corruption and immorality, but also the Malaysian Chinese,
for the dishonour he had brought Malaysian Chinese.
Yong Wee Yoke typifies the Chinese Saying, “When sketching a tiger, ‘
it is easy to draw the skin but not the bones. You can know a man by his face
but never know what lies within his heart”.
DAP‘s detractors have tried to use the Yong Wee Yoke betrayal to
undermine public confidence and credibility for the DAP, by suggesting that
the DAP is the only political party with the most defections and betrayals.
They ignore the fact that although the DAP had defectors and traitors,
the Party as a whole had remain steadfast end true to our political principles
and objectives. The DAP could probably have a record of no defections and
traitors if we had followed the example of Gerakan in 1971 to defect and betray
as a party in toto.
They ignore the fact that other political parties in Opposition had
probably more defections end betrayals than the DAP. PAS, for instance, in its
history, would show more defection end betrayal of its party leaders
and members than DAP. How many Labour Party leaders are now in MCA, Gerakan?
Even the Malayan Communist Party had the Lai Teck incident where its party
Secretary-General from 1939 to l947 turned out to be a double-agent, if not
triple agent, caused top party lenders to be massacred by the Japanese in
the Batu Caves Conference on Sept, l 1942 and absconded with all the MCP
funds in March l947.
The DAP will show to all Malaysians that although there are
people who could be bought or intimidated, even among our ranks as shown in
the past, the DAP as a whole cannot be corrupted or intimidated or browbeaten.
DAP leaders will vindicate the Chinese saying of:
“Submit not to intimidation;
Debaunch not by riches and honours;
Change not under humble circumstance”
The people must give support and encouragement to DAP lenders who
Are demonstrating these virtues, instead of falling into the trap of the DAP’s
political enemies who want to destroy the people’s confidence in the DAP by
harping on the defectors and traitors.
I expect the immoral and unscrupulous Rahim Thamby Cik in Barisan
Nasional to try to net some more ‘Yong Wee Yokes’ and ‘Chan Teck Chans’ in the
run-up to the next general elections, I would commend to all party
comrades the two Chinese sayings:
“Distance tests a horse‘s strength;
Time reveals a man‘s character” and
“Money and wealth are like filthy earth.
Benevolence and integrity are worth a thousand pieces of gold”.
The DAP will summon a notional meeting of national and state
leaders, including MPs and Assemblymen, in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 2 and 3 to
discuss the challenges to the Party and the people in this crucial period
leading up to the next general elections.
From a notional point of view the DAP calls on all political parties
to take a stand against political corruption and immorality, because it would
destroy Malaysia‘s moral fibre.
The Tambunan scandal shows the disturbing situation where more and
more political leaders are without basic moral values and concepts.
It is regrettable that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed,
is unable to take firm action to put out a public halt to the politics of blackmail
practised by Datuk Harris Salleh and Berjaya Sabah state Government against
the Tambunan voters, probably because of the impending Padang Terap parliamentary
by-election this weekend.
Thinking Malaysians must be concerned about the recent unhealthy
trends in Malaysian national life – the growing corruption, blatant display
of political immorality and blackmail, racial polarisation, the danger of
religious polarisation emerging as a new and most potent divisive factor in
I propose seeking an appointment with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir, to discuss these problems, for they concern, not only political
parties, but even more important, all Malaysians and future generations.
The DAP is a Malaysian nationalist party of Malaysian patriots whose
leaders and members love Malaysia, and want the best for Malaysians of all ‘
races, religions and cultures. On this common objective, we are prepared to
co-operate with the Barisan Nasional government. We are not an
Opposition for Opposition’s sake. But with the people’s support, we are prepared to
remain an Opposition as long as the people want us to be. If the people do
not want the DAP to be around, then we will also not hesitate to disappear from
the political scenes.