by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Tuesday,24th December 1985:
Malacca forum on ‘Declaration of Chinese Guilds and Associations’ has produced immediate results in making Gerakan realise its irresponsibility over the Chinese Telephone Directory issue
I congratulate the Malacca Chinese Schools’ Old Boys’ Association’ Federation for organising Sunday’s forum on ‘Declaration of Chinese Guilds and Associations’ for it had produced immediate results.
At the forum, I had criticized the Gerakan as being even more irresponsible and disgraceful than the MCA over the Chinese Telephone directory issue, especially as Gerakan must bear greater responsibility over the issue as the Deputy Telecommunications Minister is none other than the Gerakan National Vice President, Au Howe Cheong.
The Gerakan representative at the forum, Ker Choo Ting, Secretary-General, could not reply to my criticism for they are based on facts, and he resorted to abuses and personal attacks to hide the nakedness of the Gerakan’s political report.
I note however that my criticisms against the Gerakan on the Chinese Telephone Directory had taken effect, for yesterday, the Gerakan leaders embarked on a three-point programme to convince Malaysian Chinese that they are not ‘sleeping’ on the matter:
Firstly, the Deputy Telecommunications Minister came out with a statement to say that he is very concerned over the matter, but because the Minister, Leo Moggie, was away, he would see the Minister immediately on his return.
I accuse Au Howe Cheong of trying to bluff the Malaysian people. When the Chinese Telephone Directory first became public, Leo Moggie was in the country, but Au Howe Cheong and the entire Gerakan leadership showed no interest or concern over this issue.
If Au Howe Cheong is a responsible Deputy Minister, he should never have allowed this incident to occur in the first place; or should have taken immediate remedial action when it occurred.
Why must Au Howe Cheong wait until the Gerakan came under attack in a public forum on the issue, and the Gerakan leaders suddenly realize that this would put them in a very bad public light (and even worse light than MCA) for him to open his mouth?
Even now, why can’t he as Deputy Minister order the rescinding of the government ruling forbidding the publication of Chinese Telephone Directory? Is he like Dr. Ling Liong Sik, only a postman and a tape-recorder- to convey messages and transmit policies, but have no power to help decide policies?
Secondly, Ker Choo Ting sent a cable to the Prime Minister yesterday over the Chinese Telephone Directory issue. I am glad that the Malacca forum on Sunday has helped to make him remember his general election promise that his role is to ‘Attack into the Barian Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’, and not to be rectified by the Barisan Nasional.