MCA should have offered the Deputy Education Ministership, to Kerk Choo Ting to fulfil his Deputy Education dream

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Dinner-Ceramah held in Temerloh on Wednesday, June 18, 1986 at 8 p.m.

MCA should have offered the Deputy Education Ministership, to Kerk Choo Ting to fulfil his Deputy Education dream

Early this month, there was the farce of the MCA offering the Deputy Education Ministership to the Deputy Chairman of the United Chinese Teachers’ Association (UCTA), Dr. Tuang Pik King. MCA Deputy Education Minister, Senator Ng Cheng Kiat, publicly offered the Deputy Education Minister’s post to Dr. Tuang if the latter would be an associate member of the MCA and stand as a MCA candidate in the coming general elections, and that should Dr. Tuang loses in the general elections, he would be appointed as a Senator.

Dr. Tuang rightly and wisely rejected the MCA’s so-called offer, for it was a mere political gimmick. Who was the MCA to offer the Deputy Education, Minister’s post to anyone for that matter. The right to appoint Cabinet and sub-Cabinet posts does not rest with any MCA leader, but the Prime Minister.

If the MCA leadership was sincere about the offer, it should have got the clearance and approval of the Prime Minister first.

This is the act of a political charlatan, who offers to give something when he has nothing to give. By the logic of the MCA leaders, does it mean that when the MCA lost its traditional posts in the Cabinet in the Finance and Trade and Industry portforlios, it was because the MCA generously and charitably ‘donated’ these two key Ministerial posts to the UMNO?

Secondly, if the NCA leaders are sincere in their offer of the Deputy Ministership to Dr. Tuang, it should be with immediate effect, with Senator Ng Cheng Kiat resigning as Deputy Education Minister, instead of the condition that Dr. Tuang should stand as a MCA candidate in the next general elections first. Can the MCA leaders explain why they are not prepared to make the offer to take immediate effect?

If MCA is shopping around for someone to occupy the Deputy Minister’s post, it should offer it to Kerk Choo Ting, now Gerakan Secretary-General, whose election workers and supporters had claimed during the 1982 general elections that Kerk would be appointed Deputy Education Minister if he defeated Dr. Tan Seng Giaw in the Kepong parliamentary constituency. This would not only enable Kerk Choo Ting to fulfil his Deputy Education Minister’s dream, for which he committed the entire Tung/Chiau Chung to support the Gerakan on the slogan of ‘Attack into the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’.

I do not think Kerk Choo Ting would have any strong objections to be associate member of MCA, and that the Prime Minister would have any difficulty to agree to appoint Kerk as Deputy Education Minister in place of Ng Cheng Kiat.

Why didn’t MCA try it and make the offer? The people would be able to see what Kerk Choo Ting could do to ‘rectify’ the Barisan Nasional education policy when he becomes Deputy Education Minister, as he was hoping to do in the 1982 general elections.

Without any change in education policy, it is a fallacy for anyone to think that by becoming Deputy Education Minister, he could bring about changes. All he would succeed in doing is become the instrument of the Barisan Nasional education policy, and this is why Ng Cheng Kiat made it very clear that the MCA could not get Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act repealed.

DAP commends Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism for its concern over forced conversions of minors into Islamic faith

I welcome the public concern expressed by the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism, over the spate of forced conversions of minors into Islamic faith.

Yesterday, we read in the press of the latest came, where a widow, Madam N, Lachemi, 41, from Kota Tinggi, had not been able to see her 15-year-old son since his conversion to the Islamic faith on May 4, without her knowledge or consent.

These cases not only raises the question of forced conversion of minors into Islamic faith without parental
knowledge or consent, but they also involve the break-up of family units, for the minors, whether boys or girls, are taken away from their family and just disappear ‘into thin air’.

The authorities must take immediate steps to put a stop to these activities which are destructive of the family unit, inter-racial and inter-¬religious harmony and national unity.

It is for this reason that the DAP has launched a nation-wide mass signature campaign to protect the Malaysian nation from such divisive and destructive forces. Tonight, this mass signature campaign is being launched in Pahang state, starting with Temerloh.

The mass-signature campaign petitions for an amendment to the Malaysian Constitution to entrench the inviolable parental right to determine the religion of their children who are below 18 years old. The petition reads:

“Recently, more and more parents have effectively been deprived of the right to determine their children’s religion, leading to family break-ups, damage to the integrity of the family unit, as well as undermining social harmony, inter-racial and inter-religious goodwill and understanding, and national unity.

“We support this nation-wide signature campaign for a clear-cut constitutional provision to entrench the inviolable parents’ right to determine the religion of their children below 18 years, which we regard as essential to protect the integrity of the family unit, social harmony and national unity.

“This parents’ right, as well as the integrity of the family unit, must be respected by all Malaysians if this multi-racial, multi¬cultural and multi-religious country is not to develop more divisive and destructive forces, which can only aggravate racial polarisation and make religious polarisation an even more serious problem in Malaysia.

“We urge Parliament and MPs from all parties and faiths to amend the Malaysian Constitution to entrench the inviolable parental right to determine the religion of their children below 18 years old.”

I hope every parent in Malaysia will come forward to support this mass-signature campaign, and not wait until they have lost their son or daughter to realise the importance of this issue. I ask the people not only to sign this petition, but to come and help in getting their friends and neighbours to sign this petition, for this is not a DAP campaign, but a campaign for every Malaysian parent.

Barisan Nasional turning Malaysia into a nation of gamblers

The Barisan Nasional Government is turning Malaysia into a nation of gamblers by legalising Chi Fah, This must be deplored, and runs counter to the government’s repeated emphasis on moral and ethical values, to the extent of introducing moral education in schools. The DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Government to withdraw its decision to legalise Chi Fah. Malaysia is sufficiently notorious as a nation of scandals, without becoming also a nation of gamblers!