Call to Tan Koon Swan to fix a date for the debate on Bukit China before the Chinese New year on Feb 20

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Pantai Remis Branch Anniversary Dinner held at Pantai Remis, Perak on Saturday, 19.1.1985 at 8 pm.

Call to Tan Koon Swan to fix a date for the debate on Bukit China before the Chinese New year on Feb 20.

In early November, Tan Koon Swan said he accepted my challenge to a debate on the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction’s stand on Bukit China, but that he was unable to debate with me until he had returned from overseas in February.

I had urged him to have a debate before he left for overseas in January, for Tan Koon Swan
could not give any credible explanation why he could not spare three hours in two months
to debate on Bukit China, especially as the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction had done so much
to defy and undermine the mainstream Chinese community aspiration on the preservation
of the 500-year-old symbol of the cultural roots, religious freedom and historic contribution
to nation-building Malaysian Chinese.

But Tan Koon Swan kept evading the issue until he went abroad for personal and business reasons.

Now that Tan Koon Swan has returned from overseas, and have even time to go to the
Padang Terap parliamentary by-election, I call on him to fix a date for the debate on Bukit China.
I am giving him one full month to select a date, so that the public debate on Bukit China for him
to justify the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction’s stand on Bukit China, in particular the secret
submission of a development blueprint for Bukit China to the Malacca Chief Minister could
be held before the Chinese New Year on Feb 20.

I hope Tan Koon Swan will not run away again this time, and that he would be able to give a
clear-cut answer in the next 48-hours. Once he is prepared to fix a date for the Bukit China
debate to be held before the Chinese New Year on Feb 20, then the other details of the debate
could be finalized by both sides through our respective representatives.

If Tan Koon Swan dare not have a debate on Bukit China to justify what his MCA faction had
done in the last eight months on the Bukit China question, then let him admit it frankly and
truthfully instead of being on the run all the time.

Call on Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to direct the Malacca Chief Minister
to withdraw the $2 Million quit rent demand.

The Malacca high-court fixed Feb 7 for the hearing on the legality of the $2 million Bukit China
Quit Rent demand of the Malacca State Government, which is demanding 16-years of arrears and
late-payment fines. I do not want to pre-judge the decision of the Malacca High-Court, but the
Malacca State Government has shown bad faith in refusing to recognize a Malacca State
Government letter of 1968 exempting the Bukit China from having to pay quit rent because
of its use as a burial ground.

In 1984, the Bukit China issue had undermined national unity because of the Malacca State
Government’s contempt for the insensitivities of the various communities and religions
about cultural, historic and religious rights.

The government should make a clean start for nation building in 1985. As a first step,
I call on Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to direct the Malacca State
Government to withdraw the $2 million quit rent demand so that there would be no need
for the Feb 7 High-Court hearing, and also to withdraw all government forcible plan to
develop Bukit China, or to acquire Bukit China for road development purposes. The future
of Bukit China must be decided by the Chinese community, through the Chang Hoon Teng
trustees, in circumstances where there is no coercion, blackmail or intimidation.

3. Immigrant Department should let Malaysians know whether Lorraine Osman is in or
out of country.

The press, in the last few days were full of reports about the legal actions taken by Bank Bumiputra against the BMF six, in particular the former BMF Chairman, Lorraine Osman, freezing
their assets in connection with the $2.5 billion BMF loans scandal in Hong Kong.

But the mysterious questions is whether Lorraine Osman is in Malaysia. These were reports
that he was seen in a Malaysian bank a few days ago, and other reports that he had left for London.

The Malaysian people are entitled to know from Immigration authorities whether Lorraine Osman
is in the country or outside. If Lorraine Osman has left Malaysia, when was the last time he did so,
and why no action was to ensure that he would be easily available to answer proceedings that would be instituted in connection with his role in the $ 2.5 billion BMF scandal.

If Lorraine Osman was in Malaysia in recent weeks, especially after the publication of the
fourth brief of the Ahmad Nordin BMF committee of inquiry, proposing the persecution of
the BMF six, then someone had been failing in his duty in allowing Lorraine Osman to leave
Malaysia as during that entire period, the police were supposed to be investigating into criminal
aspects of the BMF loans scandal.

I call on immigration authorities to make public the number of times and periods Lorraine Osman
was in Malaysia in the last six months.

If the immigration authorites are not prepared to make this public disclosure in the public interest,
then I will pose a parliamentary question on it in the March meeting of Parliament, and I hope
that Finance Mimister Daim Zanuddin, and the Minister of Home Affairs. Musa Hitam, would
not evade a direct reply.