Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Slang at the Seventh DAP National Congress at Penang Chinese Assembly Hall on Saturday, April 20, 1985 at 10 am.
DAP calls for the Fifth Malaysia Plan 1986-1990 to be formulated with the primary aim to remedy and rectify the gross deviationof the overriding objective of the NEP to achieve national unity.
When the government announced the New Economic Policy, and the subsequent Malaysia Five-Year Plans, it made clear that the overriding objective of the NEP and the various Plans was to achieve national unity.
We have now reached the three-quarter mark of the 20-year New Economic
Policy, and the government is preparing and formulating the final
Plan – the Fifth Malaysia Plan l986-l990.
Looking back at the 15 year operation of the New Economic Policy,
whatever the sectoral gains and achievements, we must conclude that the NEP
had failed in its overriding objective in achieving national unity. In fact,
national unity seem to be even further away than when the NEP was launched
The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, conceded ,
this when last year he expressed concern that racial polarisation had reached
such a serious state as to affect the sentiments of children in schools.
At that time, as if it was a new discovery, everyone started
talking and expressing concern about racial polarization. Speeches were
made, articles were written, and various proposals made to deal with the problem.
Schools were told to set up committees comprising teachers to
deal with the problem of racial polarisation among students – when the first
problem should be the racial polarisation among the teachers!
But as suddenly as the national spotlight was focused on the problem
of racial polarisation, there was an equally sudden halt to public discussion
on the problem of racial polarisation, as if the problem had been overcome.
It would appear that someone was operating the switch controlling
public discussion of issues. When this person turns on the switch,
everyone discusses racial polarisation or whatever subject it may be;
and when he turns off the switch, everybody stops the discussion,
regardless of whether there had been any solution to the problem.
Although the problem of racial polarisation has again been swept
under the carpet, this does not mean that it ceases to be one of the biggest
problems confronting Malaysia.
All Malaysians who love and cherish Malaysia must ask why after
15 years of NEP, with national unity as its proclaimed
overriding objective, Malaysians are more divided and disunited than before.
The national divisions along class, race and religious lines have
become more accentuated in the last l5 years, and for this, the NEP must bear
the chief responsibility.
Although the NEP has the two-prong objective of eliminating poverty
and restructuring Malaysian society , the net result is the emergence of a
small group of very wealthy Malays who could accumulate hundreds of millions
of dollars of fortune in a matter of years, while the mass of the Malay
peasants and fishermen wallow in poverty, together with the non-Malay poor
in the towns, new villages and estates.
The symbols of NEP success like the Dayabumi, UMNO Building
and other NEP Buildings are meaningless to the ordinary rakyat whose
problems are cheap housing or land.
Racial polarisation has been aggravated by the institutionalisation
of the division of Malaysians into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras, and
the resentment felt by non-Malay Malaysians that although they
are totally loyal to Malaysia, and have been in the country for
several generations, they are less than equal to the illegal Indonesian
immigrants who have just settled in the country.
Religion as a factor of national disunity is a new
phenomenon, which ironically, emerged as a grave problem following
the Barisan Nasional landslide general elections victory in April 1982
following the launching of the government’s Islamisation
programme to try to compete with PAS as to who could out-Islamise the
The DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional government to bravely
recognise that in its l5-year implementation of the NEP, it had
grossly deviated from the NEP’s overriding objective of achieving
The government should formulate and finalise the Fifth
Malaysia Plan l986-l990 with the primary aim to remedy and rectify
the gross deviation of the overriding objective of the NEP to achieve
Malaysia’s human resources is the most precious resources
we have, which are more important than any other natural or man-made
resources. But we could not fully exploit Malaysia’s human resources
unless we remove the negative conditions which frustrate their
full flowering, such as nation-building policies
which deny the full development of these human potential.
In this major restructuring of the directions of the NEP
for the next five years, special attention must be given to removing
education, in particular higher education, from being the single most
divisive factor in Malaysia.
For instance, under the government’s new ‘twinning universities’
concept, where overseas-bound students would receive the first two years
of their overseas education at home so that they could enter the third-year
university level in foreign universities, the entire programme is
conceived to benefit the students of one racial group only.
The first of such ‘twinning’ programmes is expected
to begin in June, where some 20 to 25 Mid-Western University professors
would conduct the first batch of the two-year courses to prepare Malaysian
students for third-year university studies in America.
Eventually, the ‘twinning’ programme, which would
involve American, British, Irish and other universities, could
provide courses to as many as 5,000 to l0,000 students.
The DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional government to
demonstrate its sincerity in wanting to create a united multi-racial
nation and to take concrete steps to check racial polarisation by
giving a clear public assurance that Malaysian students in such ‘twinning’
university programmes would not be confined to one racial group, but would
reflect Malaysia’s multi-racial compositions.
The DAP must condemn the MCA and Gerakan in the strongest
possible terms for providing Cabinet support to such university ‘twinning’
programmes which are conceived for the students for one racial group only.