Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Selangor ceramah held at Petaling Jaya Civic Centre on Thursday, 5th June 1986 at 9 pm
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan have proved to be a mere ‘empty vessel’ which makes a lot of noise completely devoid of political principles and objectives
In the last few days, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan had dominated the political news and headlines with tantrums, threats and ultimatum about Gerakan wanting to contest the coming general elections under its own symbol, and even leaving the Barisan Nasional, if it could not get its way.
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik was never fiercer and more ‘heroic’ in the past few days than in his entire political career, and some people thought that at last, they are seeing a Barisan Nasional component party which has the guts to stand up and speak up in the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting.
I was preparing to welcome Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan to join the ranks of the Opposition, provided Dr. Lim and Gerakan broke with Barisan Nasional because of policy difference and the rights and interests of the people.
It would be most dishonourable and unprincipled if the Gerakan quit or is thrown out of Barisan because of a quarrel over a few extra parliamentary and state assembly seats.
This was why I had publicly advised Dr. Lim Keng Yaik that at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting, he should force an issue on policy questions and the rights of the people and forget about the question of a few more parliamentary and state assembly seats.
If the Barisan Nasional and in particular UMNO leadership agreed to a fundamental re-appraisal of the government’s nation-building policies, such as the repeal of Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act, the abandonment of the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy and Islamisation process, the end of division of Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, and the fullest inquiry and accounting on the various scandals which have rocked Malaysia, then it does not matter if Gerakan forgo a few parliamentary and state assembly seats. But if the Barisan Nasional, and in particular UMNO, leadership are not prepared to change its policies and to come clean on all the scandals, then the Gerakan should make it clear that they are not interested in the Barisan Nasional even if they are given a few more extra parliamentary and state assembly seats.
A party which exists for seats, and is prepared to sacrifice party principles, political ideals, and the rights and interests of Malaysians and future generations just to get a few more parliamentary and state assembly seats is not fit to be called a political party, and their leaders unfit to be called ‘political leaders’. They are mere political opportunists, who are prepared to trade their political loyalties and principles for whoever offers them the highest price, turning the political arena into a market-place!
But my advice to Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan had been in vain – a total waste. Those who had expected Dr. Lim and the Gerakan leaders to take a strong and courageous stand at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council, where the grievances, injustices and inequalities of the people could be heard for the first time, were thoroughly disappointed.
Dr. Lim and the Gerakan proved themselves to be ‘mere empty vessels’ which could only make a lot of noise, but completely devoid of political principles and objectives.
After all the ‘thunder and lightning’, Dr. Lim and Gerakan clearly ‘chickened’ out at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting, and was thoroughly ‘tamed’ by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
It was announced over the TV news just now that there was no difference of opinion amongst the members of the Barisan Nasional, and that statements which depicted a split in the Barisan Nasional were the fault of all the press.
The Malaysian press have become a convenient scapegoat for Barisan leaders nowadays. Anwar Ibrahim, UMNO Youth Leader, blamed the press for the controversy over his threat to non-Malays to stop questioning the government’s policies or he would raise the citizenship issue of non-Malays.
Now, the press are being blamed for the Gerakan row and Dr. Lim’s attackson the MCA, his tthreat and ultimatum that as Gerakan could not work with MCA anymore, the Gerakan would fight MCA under its own symbol, and presenting the option of the Gerakan leaving the Barisan in the meeting of Gerakan delegates of Federal Territory, Selangor and Negri Sembilan in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday. Was the transcript of Dr. Lim’s fierce speech at this meeting, which was published by one local press, also an ‘invention’ of the local press?
Just because Dr. Lim was given an assurance at his earlier meeting with Dr. Mahathir that there would be a fair allocation of seats for the coming elections, Dr. Lim could eat all that he had said!
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and the Gerakan are an even greater disappointment today than ever. Is this what is meant by the 1982 slogan of ‘Attack into the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’?
Clearly, for ‘fairness’ to Gerakan in the Barisan Nasional, the Gerakan leaders are prepared to accept ‘unfairness’ to the people, to allow their rights and interests to be progressively undermined and eroded away.
If Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan wanted a ‘fair allocation’ of seats, they should not concentrate their attack on MCA, but should, together with MCA, demand a ‘fair allocation’ of seats from UMNO, whereby there is an allocation of 55% of the seats in Peninsular Malaysia to UMNO and 45% of the seats to the non-Malay parties in the Barisan Nasional.
But then Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Gerakan would never dare to take on the UMNO. They only dare to challenge and fight the MCA. Last week, Dr. Lim was complaining about the various scandals in the Barisan Nasional but he was clearly referring to the MCA Scandals concerning Pan El and Multi-Purpose Holdings, but not to the UMNO Scandals of BMF, UMBC, EPF and the $1 billion mysterious tin buying in 1981.
The people of Malaysia should be able to see more clearly the real character of the Gerakan and its leaders, from the recent Gerakan controversy, which Dr. Mahathir and Dr. Lim blame the press for creating.
If Dr. Mahathir and Dr. Lim are honourable men, they should accept responsibility for the Gerakan row and not blame the press. They should apologise to the press for trying to make them the ‘villains’, when they are themselves the ‘real villains’.
DAP to launch a nation-wide mass signature campaign to demand the return of $10 million from $2 company, MAKUWASA, to EPF; and meaningful control of the $20 billion EPF contributions by workers’ representative
The DAP will launch a nation-wide mass signature campaign to demand that the $2 company, MAKUWASA, return $10 million to the EPF and for meaningful and effective worker control of the $20 billion EPF contributors’ funds.
Since my public revelation of the improper and illegal manner in which the EPF Investment Panel had invested the EPF contributors’ monies, there has been deafening silence from the EPF and Ministry of Finance.
I had given specific details of the 13 shares transactions which the EPF Investment Panel bought and sold to MAKUSAWA at under-market price resulting in the loss of $10 million to EPF.
This is a breach of trust of the EPF Investment Panel, which is made more heinous when these transactions were carried out without the knowledge or consent of the EPF Board.
The workers are very upset about these improprieties in the EPF, and the five million EPF contributors are entitled to demand that MAKUWASA return the $10 million with interest to EPF, for these are legally their money.
For this reason, the DAP will launch a nation-wide signature campaign to demand that the $2 company, MAKUWASA return the $10 million with interest to the EPF contributors; funds.
Furthermore, the signature campaign will also demand that the workers, through their representatives, should play a more meaningful role in the investment of the $20 billion of EPF contributors’ funds.
Clearly, the EPF contributors’ funds of $20 billion are not being invested with the workers interest as the paramount consideration. This is why no trade union representative is appointed onto the EPF Investment Panel. This is unacceptable, and the DAP calls for the glare of workers’ scrutiny to be applied to every aspect of EPF policy, in particular the investment of the EPF contributors’ funds amounting to over $20 billion.