Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the launching of the
Mass Signature Protest campaign against the New Economic Policy injustices and inequalities held at Sitiawan, Perak, on Thursday, July 4, l985 at 12 noon.
DAP calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to identify and rectify the New Economic Policy injustices and inequalities which have become the chief source of national disunity.
The DAP is launching today a mass signature protest campaign against the New Economic Policy injustices and inequalities which have not only caused the NEP to fail in its two objectives, but have also made it the chief cause of national disunity in Malaysia.
When the New Economic Policy was promulgated in 1970, it was announced
that it had a two-prong objective of eradicating poverty, irrespective of race,
and the restructuring of Malaysian society to eliminate the identification of race
with vocation or locations. But even more important than these two objectives
is the overriding purpose of the New Economic Policy to achieve national unity
which had eluded Malaysia since Merdeka in l957.
The New Economic Policy, which had a time-span of twenty years
from 1970-1990, had failed in its overriding objective of being the primary
instrument of welding Malaysians of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions
into one Malaysian people with common identity, consciousness and sense of purpose
although it had been in operation for l5 years.
This is best illustrated by the admission of Barisan Nasional leaders,
in particular by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam in July last year,
that racial polarisation in Malaysia had become so serious that it had affected
The New Economic Policy has not only failed to achieve national unity,
it had become the most divisive force in the country creating even greater alienation
and antagonism among the peoples.
No Malaysian opposes the two proclaimed objectives of the NEP to
eradicate poverty irrespective of race and the restructuring of Malaysian society
to eliminate the identification of race with vocation or locations.
After fifteen years of implementation of the NEP, it could be said without fear
of contradiction that the NEP had failed on both prongs. Hard core poverty,
whether among Malays or non-Malays, had remained an intractable problem,
with the gap between the rich and poor growing ever-wider under the NEP. Although
the Barisan Nasional government made great play about the magnitude of the problem
of Malay poverty, the problem of the disparity between the Malay poor and the
small class of NEP Malay rich has become most acute under the NEP.
The second prong objective of restructuring Malaysian society had
been implemented in a most discriminatory and selective manner that instead of
creating national unity, great division had resulted.
The Barisan Nasional government should have realised that if the
restructuring process is confined to certain sectors, groups or to affect certain
races only, then it runs counter to the NEP’s overriding objective of creating
national unity, because it would be spawning new injustices and inequalities
among Malaysians in the country. The civil service, where even the MIC President
Datuk Samy Velu had at last finally admitted is polarised by discriminatory
policies with regard to recruitment and promotion opportunities to non-Malay
public servants; the police and armed forces; the virtual dominance of Felda schemes
by one racial group, are some of the examples of how the NEP through its new injustices
and inequalities had caused national disunity.
When the New Economic Policy was launched in l970, one Prime Minister after another had
pledged that in its implementation, the government would ensure that no patticular group
experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation. But this cardinal pledge and principle
of the NEP seemed to have been ignored so often during implementation stage that one is
entitled to wonder whether it had become a policy decision.
The case of the Boon Brothers petrol station in Sitiawan is a very good case of NEP
injustice and inequality. The Boon Brothers had been operating a petrol station business
for sixty years, but after the expiry of the lease of the petrol station, the Perak State Government
refused to renew the lease to enable Boon Brothers to continue its long-standing traditional
petrol station business.
Instead, the Perak State Government gave the lease to a bumiputra company,
Manjung Development Sdn Bhd which only had a $4 paid-up capital, to carry out exactly
the same petrol station business.
If this is not NEP causing loss or depriving Malaysians of their rights and traiditonal livelihoods,
I do not know what is;
It is still not too late for the Perak State Government to honour the cardinal NEP pledge not to deprive Boon Brothers of its rights. It should call up Manjong Development Sdn Bhd and get the company directors to agree to surrender the lease back to the government so that it could be renewed to
enable Boon Brothers to continue its petrol station business while the State government could alienate another piece of land in Sitiawan to Manjung Development Sdn Bhd. In this manner, the rights and interests of all parties under the NEP would be looked after.
If the Perak State Government and Manjung Development Sdn Bhd are not prepared the spirit and letter of the NEP pledge, then the people must make their views heard and displeasure known. If there is no satisfactory, solution to this problem, the DAP reserves the right to call for a boycott
by the people against the petrol station business to be carried out by Manjung Development
Sdn Bhd because it had violated the NEP cardinal pledge of not causing any loss or deprivation to anyone.
The DAP is launching this mass signature protest campaign against NEP injustices and inequalities because the Boon Brothers petrol station affair is ‘not an isolated incident’. In the last l5 years,
throughout Malaysia, NEP injustices and inequalities abound.
The DAP believes that so long as the NEP injustices and inequalities are allowed to
multiply unchecked, the overriding objective of NEP to achieve national unity would
not only fail, the NEP would be the chief instrument of national disunity.
The DAP campaign of mass signature protest against NEP injustices
and inequalities would begin in Sitiawan and Perak in the initial stage,
and would be extended to the rest of Malaysia during the second stage of the
I call on all Malaysians to come forward to support this mass signature campaign as is
within their democratic right to make their voice heard by the authorities concerned.
The Save Bukit China campaign launched by the DAP last year is a good example of how the mobilization of the people in the their basic citizenship rights is effective to check the
attempts by those who wish to cause further erosion of the people’s constitutional, political,
economic, cultural, educational and citizenship rights.
Finally, I call on the government to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to identify and rectify
the New Economic Policy injustices and inequalities as they have become the chief source of national disunity and threaten the stability and success of Malaysian nation building.