Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Ten Thousand-People DAP Seventh National Congress Dinner held at Esplanade, Penang on Saturday, April 20, 1985 at 9pm.
Dr Lim Chong Eu and Gerakan had short-changed the People of Penang with Komtar and the Penang bridge in exchange for the drastic erosion of their political, ecomonic, educational, cultural and religious rights.
The Penang Gerakan had started a campaign among Chinese guilds, associations and societies to get them to jointly appeal to Dr. Lim Chong Eu to remain as Penang Chief Minister and to lead the Gerakan in Penang in the next general elections.
The reasons given by Gerakan is that Dr. Lim Chong Eu’s leadership in
Penang was needed even more urgently because the Malaysian Chinese are
faced with the unprecedented erosion of their political, economic, educational,
cultural and religious rights.
To the gullible, these reasons are quite convincing. But to thinking Malaysians,
these are completely unacceptable reasons, for they would know that it is precisely
because Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Gerakan’s political deal with UMNO to maintain
temporary control of the Penang State Government that the Malaysian Chinese
are faced with such an unprecedented erosion of their political, economic,
educational, cultural and religious rights.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Gerakan had short-changed the people of Penang these
last 16 years, for in exchange for Komtar and a Penang Bridge, he and the
Gerakan had given full support to UMNO and its nation-building policies,
which are best summed up by its bumiputra policy, the One-Language, One-Culture Policy,
the National Culture Policy of Assimilation, the Islamisation process and the denial of
political rights and equality of Malaysians of non-Malay origin and the
National Education Policy with its denial of higher education oppurtunities for
Malaysian students and discrimination against mother-tongue education.
The people of Penang must ask the stark question as to what is the use of having
Komtar and the Penang Bridge when the price is that they and the people of
Malaysia must lose their political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights,
and become second class citizens in their own country?
The theme of the Seventh DAP National Congress is to end the Political Dark Age
of the last three years, for after the April 1982 General Elections landslide victory
of the Barisan Nasional, the people suffered the most severe erosion of the fundamental political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights than the 25 years from 1957 to 1982.
Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Gerakan are the co-authors of this Political Dark Age,
for without their unstinting support and allegiance to the basic wishes of UMNO,
there would not have been a Political Dark Age.
It is precisely because the Gerakan realizes that it would find it difficult to
defend its role and responsibility for bringing about the Political Dark Age
in the last three years that it is now prepared to resort to any electoral tactics
to get public support.
Recently, the Gerakan formed a ‘Joint Council’ with
MCA, giving the Malaysian Chinese the belief that the Malaysian
Chinese have now a real saviour for their rights.
Gerakan leaders would privately admit that the Gerakan-MCA
‘Joint Council’ is nothing but an electoral gimmick,
for Gerakan and MCA leaders are trying opportunistically to
make use of each other to serve their petty personal and
party ends. Both Neo Yee Pan and Lip Kong Yaik hope that
the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ would strengthen their
respective positions in their own party against the challenges
mounted by their contenders, in the case of MCA, Tan Koon Swan,
and in the case of Gerakan, Michael Chen.
What great unity the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’ can
do when the MCA, for instance, is so divided that it had to
be repeatedly warned to get out of Barisan Nasional? Undoubtedly,
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik hopes that MCA would be driven out of Barisan
by UMNO, so that Cerakan could take over the MCA’s Cabinet,
Parliament, State Exco and State Assembly seats. Of course,
when that happens, Dr.Lim Keng Yaik would be the first
to pronounce the death of the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’.
I am sure Dr.Lim Kong Yaik could not deny that Gerakan
is hoping that the MCA would be driven out of BN, despite
the formation of the MCA-Gerakan ‘Joint Council’. I challenge
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to publicly declare that the Gerakan,
having formed the ‘Joint Council’ with MCA, would ‘sink or swim’
with the MCA, and would stand united with MCA against any
UMNO action against MCA; Let Dr. Lim Keng Yaik also declare
that the Gerakan would join MCA to leave Barisan Nasional should
the MCA be asked to leave Barisan Nasional.
It is the greatest shame to the MCA, and to be the
five million Malaysian Chinese whom it claims to represent,
that the MCA should be told by the UMNO to leave the Barisan
Nasional. Not a single person either in MCA, whether in
the Neo Yee Pan or Tan Koen Swan faction, dare to tell Detuk
Musa Hitam that he had no business to interfere in MCA affairs.
I was the only one to speak up to tell Datuk Musa Hitam
That the UMNO was wrong to interfere in MCA affairs.
If UMNO could tell MCA to get out of Barisan because of internal
party power struggle in MCA then could MCA also tell UMNO to get out of
Barisan when there is internal power struggle in UMNO?
The MCA has reached a stage where it has lost all
semblance of independent will and judgement. The January
agreement between the Neo and Tan factions in MCA has brought
about as a result of UMNO pressure. In fact, when the short-lived
peace pact between the Neo and Tan MCA factions were signed
in January, it was done in the presence of the UMNO President and Vice-President.
At the rate things are going in MCA, it would soon make no difference if the
MCA changes its party constitution to make th UMNO President automatically
the President of MCA!