DAP deplores Anwar Ibrahim’s warning and threat to raise ‘citizenship’ question as unworthy of a Minister who should know what is the law and Constitution

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya, 21st April 1986:

DAP deplores Anwar Ibrahim’s warning and threat to raise ‘citizenship’ question as unworthy of a Minister who should know what is the law and Constitution

I deplore the warning issued by the UMNO Youth Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, that UMNO Youth raise the question of citizenship if youth leaders of other communities continued to create from basic national policies.

Anwar’s warning is most unworthy of a Cabinet Minister who should know what is the law and the Constitution. It now seems to be the fashion for Barisan Ministers and leaders to defy or threaten to break the law, forgetting their own slogan of ‘Leadership by Example’.

Let me tell Anwar Ibrahim that it is fully within the rights of Malaysians to question the Barisan Nasional’s nation-building policies, except the four entrenched sensitive issues which the 1971 Constitution amendment prohibited from being questioned or challenged.

The Barisan’s whole gamut of nation-building policies are not entrenched in the Constitution as ‘unchallengeable’, but the question of ‘citizenship’ is entrenched, and Anwar Ibrahim would be guilty of the offence of sedition if he questioned the citizenship issue. Or is Anwar Ibrahim suggesting that there are two laws in the country, where UMNO Youth Leader could question the entrenched sensitive issues without being arrested and charged; while others could be charged for sedition – as happened so blatantly in Sabah?

Anwar Ibrahim should know for instance that the Barisan Nasional’s following policies were formulated without the consensus of the people of Malaysia, but basically at the dictate of UMNO, and can and should be questioned:

1. National Education Policy, which refused to accord to mother-tongue education its rightful place, as evidenced by the discriminatory treatment of Chinese and Tamil primary schools; as well as the refusal of the Barisan Nasional government to approve the establishment of the Merdeka University; and furthermore, the new injustice and inequality created by the denial of fair and equal opportunities for higher education for all Malaysians in their homeland;

2. National Economic Policy, which has succeeded in creating greater national disunity by the emphasis in dividing Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, and the creation of a new Malay elite rich while the poor of all races, including the Malay, continue to suffer;

3. National Cultural Policy, which refuses to accord to other cultures their rightful place, as seen by government policies and decisions, whether it be cultural programmes over the television, the attitude towards lion dances and other cultural programmes of the non-Malay communities, signboards; etc;

4. The Islamisation policy which infringes on the right of all religions to the freedom of practice and propagation as guaranteed in the Constitution.

Anwar Ibrahim shouls know that the ‘One Language, One Culture; policy promulgated by the Barisan Nasional Government after the 1982 general elections is a serious threat to the multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious basis of the country.

Anwar started his political career with the reputation of a liberal, but he nows seems to be the new advocate for repression and suffcation of dissent.

Is this the price Anwar must pay so that he could make his bid for the future Prime Ministership in the country?

Instead of threatening to raise the question of ‘citizenship’, Anwar should have raised the injustice of the 300,000 red identity card holders who had been denied citizenship, although they fulfil all the conditions.

The red-identity card holders see around them illegal Indonesian and Filipino immigrants who come into the country to be virtually emplaced and treated as ‘bumiputeras’ while they continue to suffer the hardships of a ‘stateless’ person in Malaysia. Is this the justice that Anwar Ibrahim now advocate?

Anwar should stop resorting to the politics of threats and intimidation, but should instead open up UMNO Youth and UMNO leadership to the legitimate grievances of all communities and sections in the country so that a viable and enduring Malaysian nation could be built.

Anwar Ibrahim should know that his warning is meaningless and an empty one, for it is merely a warning that he would violate the constitution and the law of sedition. If this is his sense of Ministerial responsibility, then it is up to the voters to decide in the coming general elections whether the UMNO leaders are responsible leaders or otherwise.