Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the DAP Chinese Education and Culture Seminar in Tambun Inn, Ipoh on Sunday, 8.9.1985 at 9a.m.
Malaysian Chinese and Indians born and bred and will die in Malaysia have cased to be ‘immigrants’ but are fully- fledged Malaysians
When opening the Barisan Nasional Youth work camp in Luok Antu last month in the Sarawak Second Division, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed said the Government did not stop the ‘immigrants’ from keeping their own language arid culture nor did it force them to change their names as had been done in several countries. He called on the “immigrants’ to accept the fact that this country had an official language which could be the foundation to further strengthen unity.
The Prime Minister’s speech was most shocking for he should realise that there are no more ‘immigrants’ in Malaysia, for Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians born and bred and will die in Malaysia have ceased to be ‘immigrants’ but are fully—fledged Malaysians as the Malays.
If 28 years after Merdeka, Malaysians continue to be divided into ‘immigrants’ and “non—immigrants” or between “bumiputeras” and “non—bumiputeras”, then there could be no national unity even if there is a common national language, and the National Day Theme of ‘Nationalisme Teras Perpaduan’ is used every year!
It is most unfortunate that on the eve of the 28th National Day with the theme of ‘Nationalisme Teras Perpaduan’, the Prime Minister should describe Malaysian Chinese and Indians as ‘immigrants” which cannot help in strengthening national unity.
But what is even more disturbing is that the attitude that the non-Malaya in Malaysia are “immigrants”, although they are born, bred and will die here, is prevalent in many influential
UMNO circles, which give them a justification to demand formulation of policies and measures which could only aggravate racial polarisation in the country.
The Tung/Chiau Chung have rightly come out strongly against the description of non—Malay Malaysians as ‘immigrants’, and as the Vice President of Chiau Chung, Loot Ting Yu said in Kapar earlier this week, the Malaysian Chinese are as truly Malaysians as other Malaysians!
However, the Tung/Chiau Chung elements in Gerakan, like Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, the MP for Tanjong, and Mr. Ker Khoo Ting, the Gerakan Secretary- General, have no complaints whatsoever about non-Malaysians being categorised as ‘immigrants’ .
Has Tung/Chiau Chung been ‘Gerakanised’ or Gerakan been ‘Tung/Chiau Chung—ised’?
What is most remarkable is that Dr.Koh Tsu Koon was leading the Gerakan Youth in the Barisan Nasional Youth workcamp in Lubuk Antu, and when he returned, he was full of happiness about the workcamp, and he had no word of criticism about the Prime Minister’s use of ‘immigrants’!
I would have thought that as the standard—bearer of Tung/Chiau Chung spirit, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon would have taken the opportunity of the Barisan Nasional youth work camp to correct and rectify the misconception of the rime Minister and other UMNO leaders in regarding the non-Malay Malaysians as ‘immigrants’, and to get the Barisan Nasional Youth work camp to adopt a resolution calling on every Malaysian to stop regarding non—Malays. as ‘immigrants’ but as 100% Malaysians.
This episode raises again the question whether the Tung/Chiau Chung standard—bearers in Gerakan have been Gerakanised, or whether it is the Gerakan that had been ‘Tung/Chiau Chung—ised!
As the Tung Chiau/Chung elements joining the Gerakan had the special political mission to convey the Tung Chiau Chung’s message to the highest Barisan Nasional leadership, the second question is who is now the real voice of Tung Chiau Chung – the Tung Chiau Chung leaders or the Gerakan which has been entrusted with the Tung Chiau Chung’s political mission?
As the Gerakan is holding its national conference in Penang next week, I would suggest that this matter should be clarified, and the Tung Chiau Chung elements in Gerakan should get the national conference to adopt a resolution to instruct Gerakan MPs in Parliament and Gerakan Minister in Cabinet to ask the Prime Minister to apologise for describing non-Malays as “immigrants” and for a policy decision to be made by Cabinet that non—Malays should henceforth ceased to be categorised as ‘immigrants’.
The DAP is prepared to move a motion to this effect in Parliament if the Gerakan will support it, or alternatively, the Geraken can move the motion in Parliament with the DAP seconding it.
The DAP will not permit Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians born, bred and who will die in Malaysia, to he categorised as ‘immigrants’, for such categorisation would justify the further erosion of their political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious rights!
Even if Gerakan leaders like Dr.Lim Keng Yaik, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Ker Choo Ting and others in Gerakan regard themselves as ‘immigrants’ we in the DAP do not regard ourselves as ‘immigrants’ but as full—blooded Malaysians.
The seminar organised by the DAP Chinese Education and Culture Committee headed by DAP for Sungei Besi, Chan Kok Kit, is being held at a most appropriate time, for 40 months after the landslide victory of the Barisan Nasional, even Gerakan leaders admit that there had been an unprecedented erosion of the peop1es political, economic, educational and cultural rights.
The Gerakan wants the Malaysia Chinese to believe that if it replaces MCA in Barisan Nasional, then there will be a ‘breakthrough’ for Chinese rights. But the Gerakan leaders forgot that 40 months ago, when the people gave the Barisan Nasiona1 component parties of MCA and Gerakan unprecedented electoral victory, it was on the promise of a breakthrough’ for Chinese rights.
Why are the Gerakan leaders promising a second breakthrough when their first breakthrough has proved to be a complete break-down of the – people’s basic rights and freedoms?
Can the Gerakan leaders explain why in the last 40 months, their Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, Assemblymen, helped in the further dismantling of the people’s rights and liberties?
The DA.P has a standing challenge to the Tung/Chiau Cheng elements in Gerakan headed by Ker Choo Ting to a nation—wide series of public debates to defend its 40—month record of ‘Attack into the to rectify the BN’, and this challenge remains.
Although Ker Choo Ting has said that there is no point in such a debate, the reason is obvious, for he and his other Tung Chiau Chung elements in Gerakan can only produce a blank report card. Our standing challenge to the Gerakan Tung Chiau Chung elements remains open, and whenever they have the courage to publicly defend their record, the DAP will be there for the public debate.