by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Tuesday, 3.6.1986:
Call on Tan Koon Swan and Lim Keng Yaik to declare MCA and Gerakan stand whether they support DAP’s nation-wide signature campaign for Constitutional amendment to protect parental rights and family unit integrity
June 2, 1986 should become an important date in the political struggle of Malaysians, for it marked the launching of the nation-wide signature campaign for Constitutional amendment to preserve parental rights and family unit integrity, starting from Malacca.
If underaged schoolboys and schoolgirls could be forcibly removed from their family and parents, forced to convert into Islam, breaking up family unit, then there could be no security for any other rights for Malaysians, whether political, economic, educational, cultural or religious.
In 1984, the people of Malacca also took the lead to launch the Save Bukit China mass signature campaign on a nation-wide scale. At that time, MCA and Gerakan opposed and obstructed the campaign, claiming that it was a waste of time and effort. But the Save Bukit China mass signature campaign has shown that once the people could unite and translate their voice into ‘People’s Power’, the authorities must listen or would become even more unpopular.
The Save Bukit China mass signature campaign had succeeded in saving not only Bukit China, but our historic, cultural and citizenship rights.
There is now an even greater threat to our rights, which aims at the very basic unit of our race and nation: family unit. There are extremist religious forces who want to impose strict Islamic law on non-Muslims, which would mean that parents will lose their rights over their children once they are 15 years, of if they reached puberty earlier. (Girls could reach puberty even at 9 or 10 years old).
If these extremist religious forces succeed, then no father or mother could sleep in peace, for any moment, his daughter or son may be forcibly taken away from the family, converted into Islam, and then claim that this was done ‘voluntarily’.
I know that the MCA throughout the country have started to construct this campaign, on the ground that this was a ‘sensitive’ issue. Let me say that there could no more ‘sensitive’ issue than the threats to destroy parental rights, family unit and take away the sons and daughters from their parents and family.
I challenged Tan Koon Swan and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to declare MCA and Gerakan stand on whether they support the DAP nation-wide mass signature campaign to demand an amendment to Article Eleven of the Constitution to spell out clearly the parental rights to decide the religion of their children below 18 years, and to put an end once and for all to the Ng Yee Kuan, Susie Teoh and Tang Yu Fong type of cases.
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan should make public their stand before Barisan Nasional Supreme Council on Thursday that unless the Barisan ends its ‘racialist’ policies, and expose all scandals, Gerakan would leave Barisan even if offered more seats!
From the transcript of Dr. Lim Keng Yaik’s speech at the closed-door special meeting of Gerakan delegates of Federal Territory, Selangor and Negri Sembilan, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, it is clear that Dr. Lim and Gerakan leaders are talking about contesting on their own symbol because of two reasons.
Firstly, Gerakan was being offered two extra parliamentary and three state assembly seats in the coming general elections, which they felt unfair is MCA had scandals when Gerakan had no scandals. Secondly, MCA is claiming that Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act is being amended, when Gerakan claims that all these work were done by the Gerakan/Tung/Chian Chung.
I cannot understand Dr. Lim’s second reason, especially as the Tung/Chian Chung and the Chinese Civic Rights Committee, especially Loot Ting Yu, have made it clear that they could not accept a mere amendment to Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, and would not compromise on its total repeal. Is Dr. Lim saying that the amendment to Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act was in fat the work of the Gerakan/Tung/Chian Chung elements like Kor Choo Ting, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and others?
From transcript of Dr. Lim’s Sunday speech, (Evening Express 2/6/86) Dr. Lim and Gerakan are not opposed to the various scandals in principle, but only want to use them as bargaining chips to get more seats.
It is also noteworthy that in his speech, Dr. Lim referred repeatedly to Tan Koon Swan’s Pan El and Multi-Purpose Scandals, but dare not mention a word about other bigger scandals of UMNO, like the $2.5 billion BMF scandals, the UMBC scandal and the EPF Scandal.
During last Sunday’s meeting, Gerakan Treasurer, Alex Lee, rightly printed out, that if Gerakan had to leave Barisan Nasional, it could not be just over seats. The Gerakan had to find some more honourable reason, like the ‘racialist’ policies of the government in reverting to the ‘Alliance’ days.
These political reasons, however, are being invented to hide the Gerakan’s disagreement and discontent over ‘seat’ allocation; for if the Gerakan is given more seats, then they have no complaints against any Barisan policy or even any Barisan scandal. This is most opportunistic, dishonourable and shameful.
It is a public advertisement that the Gerakan can be bought at a price, i.e. more parliamentary and state assembly seats, and is not a real political party.
Gerakan should take a firm stand, not on more seats, but on political principles, rights and ideals. Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan should make it very clear to the Barisan Nasional government that unless it ends its ‘racialist’ policies, and fully expose all scandals, both of UMNO and MCA, Gerakan will pull out of Barisan, even if offered more seats. For a political party with self-respect cannot put seats on a higher priority than political principles, for it would then be like a man who is prepared to sell his principles for a suitable monetary or material offer!
I hope Dr. Lim would have the courage to go the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council on Thursday and say that Geralan is not interested in seats, but in the policies and the political rights of the people, and lay down Gerakan’s terms on policies. If the Barisan Nasional government are prepared to change policies, expose all scandals, Gerakan would not mind if it does not have more seats. If policies are unchanged, scandals unexposed, what is the use of having more seats?
If the Gerakan is prepared to take this courageous stand at the Barisan Supreme Council meeting on Thursday, then the DAP is prepared to consider working with Gerakan should it leave Barisan. But if it leaves Barisan merely because of seats, I do not think any principled political movement would want to work with such unprincipled party.
Tan Koon Swan’s $5 million dud cheque
Evening Express last night also reported that Tan Koon Swan’s $5 million cheque to ‘repay Multi-Purpose Holdings’ dated 19th May had not been cleared, and that MCA leadership is negotiating with Multi-Purpose Holdings Board to extend date for the payment of this $5million.
During the MCA power crisis, Tan Koon Swan was described as a Malaysian Chinese ‘economic wizard’ who would save the Chinese economically but it is becoming clearer that before Tan Koon Swan could save the Chinese, the Chinese must first save Tan Koon Swan.
If a MCA President could issue a $5 million dud cheque to Multi-Purpose Holdings, which directly concern over 40,000 shareholders, then Malaysians will ask whether how many political ‘dud cheques’ had he and other MCA leaders been issuing during their recent nation-wide tours?
The intervention of the MCA leadership in the $5 million transaction, which is part of the $23 million of Multi-Purpose money used in the Pan El crisis in Singapore in November 1985, raises another important question: Whether this $23 million (of which $5 million is part) was not only involved with the Pan El scandal, the Multi-Purpose Holding Scandal, but also the 22-month MCA power struggle – what the Neo Yee Pan faction had said as the Policies of Money of the Tan Koon Swan faction during the fend.
This is why if the MCA leadership are to be believed when they also talk about a ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ leadership, they should permit the fullest public inquiry into three matters::
(i) the Pan El Scandal;
(ii) the Multi-Purpose Holding scandal; and
(iii) the 22-month MCA power struggle, and in particular into the financing and monies of the Tan Koon Swan faction, in terms of total expenses incurred and where the money come from.