I propose to visit China this year and will write to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed for government clearance.

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Selangor DAP State Convention held at DAP Building at Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 24.3.1985 at 10 am.

I propose to visit China this year and will write to Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed for government clearance.

Although Malaysia and China established diplomatic relations ten years ago, Malaysian government leaders and strategists are still guided by the doctrine that it is China, and not Soviet Union, which is more of a military threat in South East Asia.

The relentless Soviet military build-up in the Asia-Pacific region,
from the early l960s when it lacked an ocean-going navy, sea-based airpower,
to the present when its military power in Indo-China has the potential to
reach every Asean capital and even the Australian cities, and to disrupt
shipping in the Malaysian and Indonesian straits – does not seem to have dented
this doctrinal thinking.

Even more important, this doctrine had influenced internal
government policies and attitudes which had the undesirable effect of undermining
nation-building efforts. For instance, the government has taken the hard line
that Malaysian Chinese who had visited China illegally, even out of curiosity
because of persuasions by Hong Kong travel agents, had committed the capital crime
of removal of their Malaysian citizenship, when the same treatment is not meted
out to Malaysians who had illegally visited other countries prohibited by the

I have no doubt that there are Malaysian leaders whose thinking
on Malaysia-China’s relations are influenced by a certain distrust of the loyalty
of Malaysian Chinese to Malaysia, In fact, there had been UMNO leaders who had
not hidden their distrust of the loyalty of Malaysian Chinese to Malaysia,
even using the emigration of professionals to Australia, New Zealand, United
Kingdom and United States for the sake of their children’s educational future
as proof of the disloyalty of Malaysian Chinese.

There is also the fear and suspicion that Malaysian Chinese are
potential ‘fifth columnists’ for the People s Republic of China, which partly
explained the restriction on free travel for Malaysians to China despite the
decade-long establishment of diplomatic relations.

These are gross misconceptions which, if persisted, would undermine
national integration efforts, for it reflects a distrust of a substantial
section of Malaysians which could only result in division and disunity.

It is no secret that the Malaysian Chinese, just as Malaysian
Indians and Malays, have considerable grievances about the present system
of government, but their disaffection and discontent stem from internal
government policies and measures and must be resolved in the Malaysian context,
and has nothing to do whatsoever with another foreign country, whether with
China, India or Indonesia.

In fact the socio-economic systems and experiences of the Chinese
in Malaysia are so different from the Chinese in China that I am convinced
that Malaysian Chinese who visit China would return reinforced in their
Malaysian consciousness and identity.

It is for this reason that the DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional
Government to show trust to Malaysian Chinese as Malaysian citizens, fully
normalise relations between Malaysia and China, so that there is not only
free travel for Malaysians to China, but also full encouragement to Malaysians
to participate in China’s modernisation programmes which would result
in Malaysia’s economic benefits.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, has announced
that he would be visiting China at the end of the year. Such official visits
should be made strictly from the country’s interest to normalise relations
between the two countries, and no attempt should be made to use the China visit
as a ‘China card‘ for the Barisan Nasional general elections, as happened
with Tun Razak‘s visit to China l974. This is because such a playing of the
‘China card’ for party political purposes would degrade Malaysia’s national
honour and would be most unhealthy for the development or a distinct Malaysian
identity and consciousness.

I also propose to visit China this year, and I will be writing to
the Prime Minister to get government approval, to demonstrate that Malaysian
Chinese are Malaysians first and last although they share cultural affinity
with the Chinese in China.

MCA-Gerakan ‘Grand Council’ an opportunistic arrangement to fight the DAP
and consolidate the position of the ‘establishment‘ Groups in the two parties.

Both MCA Acting President, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan and Gerakan President,
Dr. Lim Kang Yaik, have indicated that a ‘Grand Council’ for MCA and Gerakan
would be finalised, probably by the end of the month.

As Both MCA and Gerakan are already ‘united’ under the Barisan Nasional
banner, what is their ‘Grand Council’ unity about? In December last year,
both MCA and Gerakan Ministers and MPs ‘united’ in Cabinet and Parliament to
support the UMNO to redelineate Parliamentary and State Assembly constituencies
which violated the democratic principle of ‘one man, one vote’ and aggravated
the political inequality between Malays and non-Malays.

Could Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan and Drs Lim Keng Yaik explain what
difference such a ‘Grand Council’ unity between MCA and Gerakan would have
made to their stands on the new parliamentary and state assembly constituencies?

In fact, could Datuk Dr. Neo and Dr. Lim in all sincerity claim that
if they had a ‘Grand Council’ immediately after the 1982 general elections,
the government would not have carried out the wholesale erosion of the
political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights as illustrated
by the One Language, One Culture Policy; the National Culture Policy of
Assimilation; the Islamisation Policy; Unchecked influx of illegal Indonesian
immigrants and their criminal activities; etc?

It is interesting that the Tan Koon Swan faction is opposed to the
‘merger’ of MCA and Gerakan, for it is clear that the MCA-Gerakan ‘Grand
Council’ or ‘merger‘ idea is meant to be an opportunistic arrangement to
fight the DAP, as well as to consolidate the position of the ‘establishment’
factions in the two parties.

Both Dr. Neo and Dr. Lim would do the Malaysian Chinese greater good
and service if, instead of trying to rig up a new election gimmick to deceive
the people in the nest general elections, they concentrate their time, energies
and resources to fulful their respective promises of MCA’s ‘political breakthrough’
for the Chinese, and the Gerakan’s ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’ pledge.

Or is the MCA-Gerakan ‘Grand Council’ or ‘merger’ what MCA meant
by ‘political breakthrough’ and what the Gerakan meant by ‘Attack into the BN
to rectify the BN’? If so, then we have seen the ‘Grand Unity’ of the two
slogans of the MCA and Gerakan in the 1982 general elections!