Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the
1985 Penang DAP State Convention in Penang on Sunday, 10th March, l985 at 10am.
Call on Malaysian Chinese to be aware of new election gimmicks like ‘merger’ or ‘Joint Councils’ to bring about a repeat of the 1982 General Elections Results.
Recently, the Chinese press have been abuzz with reports about the 2 ‘merger’ possibility between the MCA and Gerakan, the proposed ‘Joint Council’ of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP’, giving the Chinese the impression that these are the latest magic formulas for the salvation of Chinese rights and interests in Malaysia.
Malaysians, in particular the Malaysian Chinese, must be particularly
careful and aware of new election gimmicks like ‘merger’ or ‘Joint Councils’
whose only objective is to bring about a repeat of the 1982 General Elections
Results, where the UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional won a landslide electoral
victory while the DAP suffered a disastrous electoral defeat.
The people will remember that in the l982 general elections, the MCA’s
election gimmick was its call for a ‘Political breakthrough’
while the Gerakan, boosted by Tung/Chiau Chung infusion, had as its election
cry: ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’!
The MCA won its greatest electoral victory in the general elections
while the Gerakan also had its most number of Parliamentary victories in its history.
But what have both MCA and Gerakan to show for their ‘political breakthrough’
and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’ in the last three
years since the 1982 general elections?
If the MCA and Gerakan had not achieved anything, it would not have
been that bad, for at least the status quo would have been maintained.
Unfortunately, the MCA and Gerakan had not only nothing to show for their
‘political breakthrough’ and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’, their
unprecedented 1982 general elections victory were marked by 35 months of the
most rapid and wideranging erosion of the political, economic, educational,
cultural and religious rights of the peoples.
As a result of the MCA and Gerakan victories in the elections on
their slogan of ‘political breakthrough’ and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify
the BN’, the following far-reaching events, policies and measures took place:
• the official promulgation at the first opening of Parliament on
Oct 12, 1982 of the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy;
• the accelerated implementation of the National Culture Policy
which has as its objective assimilation;
• the introduction and acceleration of the process of Islamisation
which violate both the spirit and word of the Constitutional
guarantee that Malaysia shall be a multi-religious nation;
• the confirmation of the Barisan Nasional higher education policy
in rejecting the establishment of Merdeka University while
approving the Islamic University, even though the latter uses
Arabic and English as medium of instruction;
• the redelineation of parliamentary and state assembly constituencies
which aggravated the political inequality between the Malays and
non-Malays, in open violation of the government’s professed policy
of restructuring of Malaysian society;
• growing rampant lawlessness of the illegal Indonesian immigrants
without government will to stop their entry and to repatriate them,
to the extent that Penang had recently become the latest state where
illegal Indonesian immigrants could commit crimes at will.
• the attempt to demolish Bukit China in Malacca, with all its
historic, religious, cultural and political significance;
and most recently,
• the Chinese Mandarin oranges scandal.
The above events took place precisely because of the success of the
election gimmicks of MCA and Gerakan in their ‘political breakthrough’ and
‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’ slogans.
MCA, Gerakan, and most important of all, UMNO political strategists
realise that in the next general elections, they could not rely on their 1982
general elections gimmick of ‘political breakthrough’ for MCA and ‘attack
into the BN to rectify the BN’. In fact, if the the three by-elections in
Kepayang, Raub and Seremban are any guide, the MCA and Gerakan are likely to
suffer severe electoral losses.
This is why there is a need for a new election gimmick for the
next general elections to enable the MMA and Gerakan to perform with flying
colours. This is the ‘proposed merger’ of MCA and Gerakan and the ‘Joint
Council of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP’
The MCA, Gerakan and SUPP would be selling the ‘merger’ and ‘Joint
Council’ ideas in the same way as the ‘political breakthrough’ and ‘Attack
into the BN to rectify the BN’ were sold in the 1982 general elections, and
hopefully, with the same good results for MCA and Gerakan candidates. But
we can be certain that in such an event, the consequences for the people,
in particular the Malaysian Chinese to whom these election gimmicks are
directed, would be worse than the last 35 months!
When the MCA and Gerakan scored their electoral victories in 1982
with their ‘political breakthrough’ and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the
BN’ pledges, the Malaysian Chinese would have been legitimate to expect that –
they would be able to take fire at least five steps forward. Instead, in
the last three years, they retreated some 10 steps!
Similarly, the new election gimmicks of ‘merger’ and ‘Joint Council’
are not magic formulas for the protection or salvation of the rights
and interests of Malaysian Chinese, but like their previous ‘political breakthrough’
and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify BN’ formulas, calculated
to enable an even greater erosion of their rights, interests and status in the country.
If the ‘Merger’ and ‘Joint Council’ discussions between MCA
and Gerakan currently going on are prompted by the realisation that in the
last three years after the 1982 general elections, the Chinese in Malaysia
had suffered the most drastic and wide-ranging erosion of their rights and
interests since Merdeka in l957, there may be some purpose in such discussions.
This is not so, because the MCA and Gerakan leaders would not admit that
their ‘political breakthrough’ and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’
election gimmicks in 1982 had been disastrous for the rights and
interests of the Malaysian Chinese.
The prime motive for the ‘merger’ and ‘joint council’
election gimmicks are three:
l. A mutually self-serving attempt by the ‘establishment’
groups in MCA and Gerakan to fortify their party positions
from challengers, the Neo Yee Pan group from Tan Koon Swan
faction; and Lim Keng Yaik group from Michael Chen/Goh
Cheng Teik factions;
2. As a new election gimmick to win Chinese support in the
next general elections, to replace the ‘political breakthrough’
and ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’ slogans of l982;
3. Pressure by the UMNO leadership, in particular by the
Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
What can the ‘merger’ of MCA and Gerakan or the ‘Joint Council of
MCA, Gerakan and SUPP’ achieve that the MCA, Gerakan and
SUPP Barisan Nasional component parties could not do?
If MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers, Mps and Assemblymen in their separate
Capacities cannot be depended on to oppose the One Language, One Culture Poilicy,
the National Culture Policy of Assimilation the Islamnisation process,
the rejection of Merdeka University proposal while approving the
establishment of Islamic University. The undemocratic redelineation of parliamentary
and state assembly constituencies which violate the principle of ‘one man, one vote’;
the unchecked entry of illegal Indonesian immigrants and their criminal activities,
who will believe that their ‘merger’ or formation of a ‘Joint Council’
would make any difference?
If over these fundamental issues, MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers and
MPs had taken a stand in Cabinet and Parliament, their so called ‘merger’
of ‘Joint Council’ would be more credible.
MCA former Cabinet Minister Michael Chen had revealed that according to
cabinet practice, if there is a minister who opposes any new policy, measure or
action, then such a proposed policy, measure or action could not be adopted.
This means that in all the policy measures which so drastically erode the
people’s rights since April 1982 general elections, it was the support and
consent of the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers which made them possible.
This means that the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers must bear the greatest
responsibility for the wholesale erosion of the rights and status of the people since the
1982 general elections, because it is because of their acquiescence to the UMNO
wishes that made these policies and measures possible.
How would a ‘merger’ or ‘Joint Council’ undo the harm that the MCA, Gerakan and
SUPP Ministers had done since 1982, let alone the damages they had done before that period!
It is an open secret that the MCA settlement between the two contending Neo Yeo Pan
and Tan Koon Swan factions were forced on them by top UMNO leadership.
It is another open secret that the driving force for current talks about ‘merger’ and
‘Joint Council’ of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP is again the top UMNO leadership.
Both these actions, together with the end-of-year China trip of the Prime Minister,
Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, are orchestrated with an eye to the next
general elections which is expected to be held within the next 12 months, to give
the Barisan Nasional another landslide victory as in the 1982 gereral elections.
But just as the DAP had warned in the 1982 general elections, and which had amply
proved by events, a great electoral victory by the Barisan Nasional is finally a great
victory for UMNO policies, for it would be regarded as the people’s affirmation of
support for the UMNO-dominated nation-building policies!
The ‘Merger’ or ‘Joint Council’ gambits are nothing more than the latest
election-gimmicks inspired by UMNO to re-create the euphoria and high e
xpectation generated in the 1982 general elections, to try to deal a death blow to
the DAP in the next general elections.
The Dap leadership is aware that Barisan Nasional strategists have also mounted
a special operation to try to create a division inside the DAP, by stirring up
internal party dissensions and differences if not at the national at least at state levels.
This is a time of test for the people and the DAP: for the people to see through
the new election gimmicks of the MCA, Gerakan, SUPP and UMNO and not to
allow themselves to be deluded and misled as happened in the 1982 general elections:
for the DAP, it is a test as to whether in the face of the most serious attempt to
create party dissension among national and state leaders, DAP leaders and
rank and file could remain solid, united, disciplined, cohesive and purposive.