Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Nibong Tebal Branch Solidarity Dinner held at Pai Teik Union School, Nibong Tebal, on Friday, 6.9.1985 at 8pm
Gerakan is greedy for MCA’s Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts although its policies and principles are the same as MCA’s
The day after the MCA was given three months’ grace by the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council on August 17, 1985 to solve its ‘Three Kingdom’ power struggle, the Gerakan President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik showed the Gerakan’s impatience and greediness for the MCA’s Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial’ posts.
Speaking at the opening of the Gerakan Kuala Lumpur- Federal Territory division annual general meeting on August 18, 1985, Dr. Lim declared that the Gerakan will assume the role of the MCA if the party could not end its crisis in three months’ time and have to leave the Barisan Nasional.
It is clear that Dr. Lim and the Gerakan could only be thinking of taking over the MCA’s Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts, as well as the State Exco seats of the MCA in the various states, and nothing else.
After all, Gerakan is already in the Barisan Nasional and have representation in the Cabinet, Parliament and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council, and apart from the MCA’s Ministerial, Deputy Ministerial posts and other perks of office, there is nothing else for the Gerakan to take over should MCA leave the Barisan Nasional for its inability to resolve its party conflict.
As Gerakan cannot just blame the MCA for the political, economic, educational, cultural deprivation of the Malaysian Chinese, because the Gerakan is as guilty as MCA in giving support in the Cabinet., Parliament and the Barisan Nasional for policies resulting in such a situation.
Last week, the Gerakan Deputy Agriculture Minister, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik, speaking in Penang, said that the Malaysian Chinese had suffered continued erosion of their ‘political, economic and many other rights’ for the last 28 years.
This is exactly what Dr. Lim Keng Yaik said in his New Year Message on January 1, 1985, where he said that ‘ill all fields, the Chinese community’s rights have suffered unprecedented erosion’.
Would the position, status and rights of the Malaysian Chinese be saved if the Gerakan take over MCA’s role with Gerakan leaders occupying the Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts presently held by MCA?
I cannot see any change for the better. On the other hand, it could be worse. The Bukit China case is a good example. Instead of supporting the DAP in our nation- wide campaign to preserve and defend the histories, cultural, religious, political rights of the Malaysian Chinese as symbolised by the Bukit China issue, the Gerakan leaders like Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik tried to help the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik and subvert the DAP’s Save Bukit China campaign. If the Gerakan at that time had more Cabinet ministers, the campaign to save Bukit China would have been rendered very much more difficult!
I will give another example as to why I say that Gerakan taking over the MCA’s Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts could be worse for the Malaysian Chinese rather than better.
In July’s Parliamentary meeting, I moved a motion to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to report on 25 year of operation of parliamentary democracy, as over the last two and half decades, there had been a continuous erosion of democratic freedoms and fundamental liberties of the people.
The MCA Ministers and MPs at least kept quiet, unlike the Gerakan whose Deputy Minister, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik and MP, D. Koh Tsu Koon, spoke up to curry the favour UMNO by attacking the DAP’s motion.
Dr. Goh Cheng Teik went so far as to declare that Parliament should not be a place for what he called ‘sensitive’ questions like nation- building policies to be raised and debated. What Dr. Goh wanted MPs, in particular DAP MPs, to do is to raise issues like garbage not removed, or drains clogged, or roads not repaired!
I am very surprised by the conduct of Dr. Goh, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, and all the Gerakan leaders. Outside Parliament and Cabinet, they could all make brave speeches about ‘unprecedented erosion of the political, economic, educational, cultural rights of the Malaysian Chinese’, but in Cabinet and Parliament they could also declare that the status, rights and position of the Malaysian Chinese had never been better, and if there are any problems, they should not be raised in Parliament anyway as they are ‘sensitive’!
If even before the Gerakan takes over MCA’s Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts in the Barisan Nasional, Gerakan leaders are already behaving in so unprincipled and hypocritical a manner, what could the people of Penang and Malaysia expect of Gerakan should it indeed, one day, really take over MCA’s role in the Barisan Nasional?
The Gerakan is holding its national conference in Penang next week. It is hoping that the Penang Bridge will cover up the Gerakan’s dismal political record of over 10 years in the Barisan Nasional.
Let Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Dr. Goh Cheng Teik and the entire Gerakan leadership explain to the people of Malaysia at the Gerakan national conference why after over 10 years in Barisan Nasional, in their own words, the Chinese in Malaysia faced an unprecedented erosion of their political, economic, educational, cultural rights?
DAP calls for at least 30 per cent of Malaysian students sent abroad by government or government agencies should be non- Malays
The Gerakan, for instance, should be aware that there is great injustice and disparity in many fields. For instance, for the five years from 1980 to 1984, out of 27,331 students sent abroad for higher studies on government sponsorship, less than four per cent are non- Malay students.
I have here the detailed figures for Malaysian students sent abroad during this period on government scholarship for higher studies:
Year Bumiputera Non-bumiputera Total
1980 8,350(96.8%) 275(3.2%) 8,625
1981 3,551(95.8%) 153(4.2%) 3,704
1982 6,696(95.2%) 335(4.75) 7,031
1983 4,890(99.5%) 26(0.5%) 4,916
1984 2,767(90.5%) 288(9.5%) 3,055
26,254(96.1%) 1,077(3.9%) 27,331
The Barisan Nasional promulgate the New Economic Policy to rectify injustices and imbalances. Surely, the Gerakan as a member of Barisan Nasional, should have ensured that at least 30 per. cent of government sponsored students sent overseas for higher studies should be non-Malays to provide a balanced and just distribution of government scholarships.
The lack of higher educational opportunities for non—Malay students in their own country is one of the biggest grievances in the country, which is the result of the Barisan Nasional higher education policies which is fully supported by the Gerakan
The restriction on higher education opportunities in the local universities could be seen from the following figures of university student intake by the six Malaysian universities for 1983/1984 and 1984/1985:
Local University Student Intake (1983/84)
University B C I LL J
Univeristy Malaya 1065 838 200 29 2132
(49.95%) (39.3%) (9.38%) (1.36%)
U. Kebangsaan 1098 532 144 18 1792
(61.3%) (29.7%) (8.0%) (1.0%)
U. Sains M 707 541 119 19 1386
(51.0%) (39.0%) (8.6%) (1.4%)
U.Pertanian 693 312 96 29 1130
(61.3%) (27.6%) (8.5%) (2.6%)
U.Teknologi 316 99 25 10 450
(70.2%) (22%) (5.6%) (2.2%)
_______ _______ ______ ______ ____
3879 2322 584 105 6890
(56.3%) (33.7%) (8.5%) (1.5%) _______ _______ ______ ______ ____
Local University Students Intake (1984/85)
B C I LL J
U. Malaya 1077 802 169 18 2066
(52.1%) (38.8%) (8.2%) (0.9%)
U.K.M. 988 660 131 18 1797
(55%) (36.7%) (7.3%) (1.0%)
U.S.M 738 540 99 43 1420
(52%) (38%) (7%) (3%)
U.P.M 558 325 102 30 1015
(55%) (32%) (10%) (30%)
U.T.M 363 137 55 3 558
(65%) (24.6%) (9.9%) (0.5%)
U.Utara M 236 79 21 336
(70.2%) (23.5%) (6.3%)
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____
3960 2543 577 112 7192
(55.1%) (35.4%) (8%) (1.7%)
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____
It is because of the restriction on local higher education opportunities chat the people, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese and the over 4,000 Chinese societies, organisations and associations wanted to have the Merdeka University established. Unfortunately, the Gerakan joined the UMNO in killing the Merdeka University project, on the ground that the use of Mandarin and English as medium of instruction would be contrary to the National Language Policy.
Yet in December 1982, the Gerakan again supported UMNO in Parliament to establish Islamic International University which uses English end Arabic and medium of instruction!
It is for the above reasons that during discussions with Tuna/Chiau Chung representatives before the 1982 genera1 elections, Mr.Ljm Fong Seng, the President of Tong Chung, commented that the Gerakan had no political principles and was only interested in seeking by all possible manners to replace MCA as the ‘favourite’ of UMNO!
The Tunq/Chiau Chung representatives decided to join Gerakan in the 1982 general elections probably in the belief that they could change the character of Gerakan and instill into it a principled political approach and direction. The Gerakan’s record of the last 40 months however have shown that the Gerakan had not bared characters If anybody had changed, it is the Tung/Chiau Chung elements who had been ‘Gerakanised , for the Gerakan had not been Tung/Chiau Chung—ised!