MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ the New Savior of Chinese rights?

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Slang,
at DAP PJ Hgrs on Tuesday, 2.4.l985 at 12.30 pm

MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ the New Savior of Chinese rights?

The establishment of the MCA-Gerakan Joint Council, after the blaze of publicity these past weeks after a bout of meetings, dinners and lunches, has given rise to two impressions:

Firstly, that the MCA and Gerakan leaders have rediscovered and found
each other after a long separation , when in actual fact, the MCA and
Gerakan leaders had never been apart where fundamental political principles and
policies are concerned. The overwhelming bulk of the Gerakan leadership and
membership originated from the MCA, and the Gerakan today is
nothing but a second MCA in another clothing. Or to put it
in another way, the Gerakan is nothing but the Opposition in MCA, who could
not find any future inside the MCA and had to establish a political life outside.

As a result of the internal power struggle in MCA and Gerakan or MCA 2,
the differences between the Neo Yee Pan establishment group and the Tan Koon
Swan challenge group on the one hand and the Lim Keng Yaik establishment
and Michael Chen challenge group on the other, are now greater than the
differences between the MCA establishment group and the Cerakan establishment.

In order to consolidate the respective positions of the two establishment
groups in MCA and Gerakan, a new re-alignment of political forces had taken
place between MCA and the Gerakan (which is nothing but a MCA No.2)
whereby the establishment groups of the two parties are ganging up against their
challenge groups, The MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ is nothing more than a
‘Greater MCA’ proposal, whereby the MCA power struggles of the last two decades
are being fought out in new forms.

Although the MCA and Gerakan leaders behaved at the establishment
of the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ as if they had never seen each other or
had rediscovered each other after decades of separation, in actual fact,
they had never been apart, In the Cabinet, Parliament, State Executive
Councils, State Assemblies and various forms of government, MCA and Gerakan
Ministers, MPs, State Excos, Assemblymen, Municipal and District Councillors
sat together and despite their differences, worked in concert and unity in
the Barisan Nasional spirit to give full support to the policies formulated
and implemented by UMNO, whether on political, economic, educational, cultural
or religious issues.

Just as the Neo Yee Pan group and the Tan Koon Swan group had
never been politically different and separate, although they are fighting cats
and dogs to wrest political power in the MCA, similarly the MCA and the Gerakan
leaders had never been politically different and separate although both
parties had been fighting cats and dogs to become the No.2 Junior Party in
the Barisan Nasional!

I find it most ironical that as Barisan Nasional is supposed to
be a vehicle of greater unity of the component Barisan NASIONAL parties,
there should be a need now a smaller unity of MCA-Gerakan in Barisan.
lt becomes more absurd when the Joint Council is being formed at a time
when both the MCA and Gerakan are completely divided – for a divided MCA plus
a divided Gerakan can only add up to a divided Joint Council!

The second impression which is meant to be created by the Joint
Council of MCA and Gerakan is that at last, for the first time in the
28 years of Malaysian political history, a new and real Savior of
Chinese rights has been found in the form of the MCA-Gerakan Joint Councils.

In the 1982 General Elections, the MCA promised a ‘political
Breakthrough’ for Chinese rights, and the Gerakan promised a ‘Attack into
the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’. In these last
three years, there was not only no ‘political breakthrough’ for Chinese
rights nor ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN’, the erosion and dimunition
of political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights was
most drastic and wholesale as to exceed the rights lost in the 25 years
from l957 to l982.

The MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ is a ruse to make the people, in
particular the Malaysian Chinese, to forget about the failures of the
1982 pledges of ‘Chinese political breakthrough’ and the ‘Attack into
the BN to rectify the BN’, and to mesmerise the Chinese community with a
new slogan and promise which is emptier than the l982 ones!

The Joint MCA-Gerakan Statement yesterday said that the Joint
Council was formed after, among other things:

• Recognising the common aspirations of Malaysians to building a
just, equitable and prosperous society in accordance with the
principles of human rights, democracy, the Federal Constitution
and the Rukunegara; and

• Recognising the urgent need to promote national unity and
national integration and to combat extremism, communalism, on
chauvinism and ‘other negative forces which have been threatening
the political stability of the nation’.

I find it shocking to say the least that 28 years after Malaysian
nationhood, the MCA and Gerakan are only now ‘recoqnising the common
aspirations of Malaysians for a just, equitable and prosperous society’
and ‘the urgent need to promote national unity and national integration’,
What have the MCA and Gerakan leaders been doing all these decades, that
they have not realised until April 1, 1985 – or is this an April fool’s joke
for Malaysians?

The record of MCA and Gerakan leaders especially in the last three
years since the 1982 general elections have not shown that they have
arrived at such a ‘realisation’. Although the MCA and Gerakan joint
statement spoke about the need to ‘combat extremism, communalism and
chauvinism’, their understanding and definition of these forces are very
different from these of the DAP, as they are moulded by the concepts of UMNO.

For instance, in the Chinese Mandarin oranges issue, despite
the earlier claim by a MCA Deputy Minister that the Chinese Mandarin oranges
controversy arose as a result of ‘deviation’ by government as part of
his attempt to get the Malaysian Chinese sell and buy Mandarin
oranges for the Chinese New Year, the Barisan Nasional Government stand
on the issue was made clear by the Prime Minister after the Chinese New
Year and the Trade and Industry Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in Parliament
last week, that there was no ‘deviation’ whatsoever in the matter.
The Malaysian Chinese were accused of ‘chauvinistic’ in their boycott
of Chinese Mandarin oranges during the Chinese New Year.

The DAP regards as ‘extremist, communalist and chauvinistic’
any attempt to compel the implementation of policies which disregards
Malaysia‘s multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious
characters. For this reason, we firmly oppose the Barisan Nasional’s
One Language, One Culture Policy, the National Culture Policy of Assimilation,
the Islamisation Policy, the redelineation of Parliamentary and State
Assembly constituencies and a whole host of other new policies and measures born
after the 1982 general elections. But both MCA and Gerakan are co-framers of such
policies and measures. Is this their way of ‘combatting extremism, communalism and
chauvinism? Let the MCA and the Gerakan explain how their ‘Joint Council’
could become the New and Real Savior of Chinese rights in Malaysia, as they
are arousing and fostering such notions and hopes among the Malaysian Chinese!