Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-general and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca Dap Three-Thousand People Anniversary Dinner held at Pay Fong Chinese Secondary School on Sunday, 21.7.1985 at 8 pm.
The latest campaign to character-assassinate me is now in full swing. Before every general elections, there would be a campaign to try to destroy the DAP to undermine its election chances, either by formenting party disunity or by trying to destroy the image, reputation and credibility of DAP leaders.
Before the 1978 general elections, I was accused of being a Special Branch agent. The tactics changed before the 1982 general elections, when I was accused in a systematic campaign of being a KGB agent as well as a ‘killer’ of the Chinese educated, to the extent of being condemned as not being fit to be Chinese – ‘that I did not possess the blood of the descendents of Huang Ti’
Now, as a run-up to the next general elections which I expect to be held in a matter of months,
I am accused of being corrupt, of having sold out my soul to American capital after being
paid several millions of dollars to agree to an out-of-court settlement on the ESSO case.
Very soon, I would be accused of being a CIA agent!
When I accepted the challenge of the UMNO MP for Ulu Muda, Othman bin Abdul, to explain in Parliament last Tuesday why the Esso case was settled out of court, I had said that there were
at least five political groups or parties involved in the latest character-assassination campaign
against me. Those involved in the unholy alliance in the smear campaign against me includes
leaders UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and in particular the Tung/Chiau Chung faction of Gerakan.
The leaders of the barisan component parties have one common objective in this smear campaign
against me – to distract the people’s minds from the great issues and problems of the loyal people
which have arisen since the landslide victory of the Barisan in the 1982 general elections, and the
disarray in the various Barisan Nasional component parties.
This smear campaign, for instance, is the Barisan Nasional’s counter to DAP campaign for a full and complete disclosure of the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal and demand that all BMF ‘culprits’ should be severely punished.
It is also Barisan Nasional’s answer to the mass signature campaign that the Dap launched in
Perak to protest against the New Economic Policy injustices and inequalities which had failed to
honour the government pledge that its implementation, the NEP would not cause anyone to lose
any right or suffer any loss.
This smear campaign is also a reply by the Barisan Nasional leaders to the DAP’s campaign
last year throughout the country to save Bukit China.
In short, it is a Barisan Nasional plot to try to get Malaysians to forget about the great political,
economic, educational, cultural and religious problems confronting the people, by spreading
rumours to attack the political credibility and integrity of DAP leaders, that I became a millionaire
from Esso case or that I misappropriated the Save Bukit China One-Dollar One-Person Campaign.
The Barisan Nasional plotters hope that their character-assassination campaign would destroy
the people’s support for the DAP and cause the DAP to support another electoral disaster as
happened in the 1982 general elections. They have another objective which is to conduct a
psychological war against me to make me so frustrated and disgusted with dirty tactics in politics
that I might either quit politics altogether or pre-occupy myself with their vicious campaign,
that I would have no time or heart to deal with the great political issues of the country.
I am not going to fall into the trap of those who master-minded this latest character-assassinations campaign against me. At least until the next general elections, the question of my quitting politics
does not arise. I will also not please them by being pre-occupied with their unprincipled and
malicious smear campaign against me that we in the DAP are deflected from our objective to
create greater political consciousness among the people to take a stand for their political rights in
the next general elections.
This is why apart from my parliamentary speech last week, I had not earlier commented on this character-assassination campaign against me, and why, after tonight, I will not talk about it again,
for we must not allow those who want the people to de distracted from the great issues of the people
DAP National Publicity Secretary, Sdr. Liew Ah Kim, has explained just now that there was no truth
or basis whatsoever in the accusations made by the irresponsible political oppurtunists who alleged the DAP of having misappropriated the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign collections. In fact, even before the Chinese New Year on Feb 20, 1985, we had approached the Cheng Hoon Teng trustees chairman, Mr. Ee Yew Lin, to make arrangements to hand over the collections
but as Mr ee had confirmed, the trustees was of the view that we should retain the money for the moment.
It is noteworthy that the people who made such baseless accusations against the DAP are those from the MCA who were prepared to accuse the Cheng Hoon Teng trustees as ‘traitors of the race’, fully supported the Malacca Chief Minister’s proposal to demolish and develop Bukit China, and those from the
Gerakan who tried to obstruct the DAP’s save Bukit China campaign by claiming that the
Bukit China issue should concern the people of Malacca only! Do these people have the genuine
interests of Bukit China at heart?
Even now, DAP leaders and members are still being hauled before the courts in Malacca and Alor Star
for their role in the save Bukit China campaign.But their sacrifice and hardships had not been in vain,
for they had contributed to the preservation of the integrity of Bukit China, which symbolized the cultural roots, the historic contribution to nation building and religious freedom of Malaysian Chinese.
If in the 1982 general elections, the MCA had won the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat, the story of
Bukit China would today be a very different one. If in the next general elections, the MCA should
win the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat, the treat to the integrity of Bukit China could resurface again.
While I am on the subject of Bukit China, I want to stress that the Malacca State government and
Chief Minister had taken too long a time to announce full settlement of the Bukit China issue,
by announcing the withdrawal of the government’s $2 million quit rent demand, arrears and late payment fines, as well as giving concrete assurance that no part of Bukit China would be acquired by government in future, and the fullest respect of rights of Malaysian Chinese to Bukit China for all time in future.
Last year, the Malacca Chief Minister’s Bukit China plan was the most divisive issue in the country,
and as a result of the people’s strong stand in supporting DAP’s Save Bukit China campaign,
good sense had prevailed. The Malacca Chief Minister, Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, had backed
down his earlier ‘uncompromising’ stand to demolish and develop Bukit China to dump the earth into the sea for land reclamation.
However, the delay in accounting full settlement of the Bukit China controversy has stuck like a
bone in the throat, and should not be allowed to drag on. Malacca has been picked up the state for
this year’s National Day celebrations on August 31. I call on the Malacca Chief Minister to announce
the government’s withdrawal of its 42 million quit rent demand, late payment fines, arrears and exemption of the Bukit China from all future quit rent; the categorical assurance that Bukit China would not be acquired by the government for any future purpose latest before August 31. This will make the national Day celebrations in Malacca on August 31 even more memorable, for it would marked the complete removal of the issue which had divided Malaysians and created public alienation.
If I had received a single cent from Esso, the Barisan Nasional leaders would have made a public expose and ended my political life.
The Barisan Nasional leaders are going all out to character-assassinate me on the Esso case throughout the country. Although government are generally inefficient, the Special branch is very competent and efficient, and I have no doubt that if I had been paid millions of dollars for settling the Esso case out of court, the Special branch and the Barisan Nasional leaders would have all the information.
In fact, if I had received a single cent from Esso, the Barisan Nasional leaders would have made
a public expose and ended my political life.
Those who make and spread the allegations that I have been paid a few million dollars by Esso in the
out-of-court settlement are people who think of politics and public service in terms of money and monetary gain. Because they are prepared to sell their political princilples and convictions for money
and material gain, they believe everyone is like them who could always be baught with money and material offer.
If I am in politics for money or material gain, I could have become a millionaire as well as received various titles long ago. Why should I wait for 19 years in politics?
I had said in parliament that the main reason for my agreeing to out-of-court settlement was because my informant, an American project engineer with EPMI in 1979 was fearlful of his life and dared not return to Malaysia to testify. I have nothing to hide from the Esso case. I have not received a single cent, nor have any of my family members received a single cent, from esso. I am unlike Barisan Nasional leaders who are very smart in acquiring ill-gotten gains through their wife or family members.
I dare publicly declare that I I and any of my family members had received a single cent from Esso,
I deserve the worst punishment even to the extent of the Chinese saying, ‘Tien Chu Ti Miek’.
But if I am guiltless, then those who make up and spread the lie should be exposed to the worst possible punishment, of ‘Chui See Wan Tuan’!