Challenge to Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, to prove the Barisan Nasional stands for ‘fairness’ by immediate action before general elections to multi-racialise the civil service, police and armed forces, Felda schemes, government scholarships, university intakes

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP National General Elections Committee meeting held in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, June 29, 1986 at 3 p.m.

Challenge to Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, to prove the Barisan Nasional stands for ‘fairness’ by immediate action before general elections to multi-racialise the civil service, police and armed forces, Felda schemes, government scholarships, university intakes

The Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, said in Sungai Udang in Malacca yesterday that the Barisan Nasional would be fair to all races, that it would rectify all cases of unfairness to ensure unity.

The electorate have now got accustomed to listening to very sweet words and brave promises by Barisan Nasional leaders before every general elections, but who talks and acts very differently after the general elections.

Malaysian voters will remember all the sweet words and great promises of the UMN0, MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders before the 1982 general elections, most of which were forgotten or betrayed after their landslide victory.

The MCA, for instance, promised a ‘great political breakthrough’ for the Malaysian Chinese if they were given another chance, and they were given another chance, but the great ‘political breakthrough’ of the Malaysian Chinese community never came about. Instead, there was a great ‘break-down’ of the rights and status of the Malaysian Chinese of the past four years.

With the approach of the general elections, the new MCA leadership is again back in the business of issuing blank political cheques, MCA leaders are holding political conventions about Malaysia’s future after 1990, for they are uncomfortable having to explain what they had done in the past and the present!

In desperation to get Chinese support, I will not be surprised if MCA leaders will make fierce speeches and statements the likes of which had not been seen or heard before – but which would have the ‘tacit’ understanding of UMNO leaders that they are mere pre-election gimmicks.

This is probably what Ghaffar Baba meant by Barisan Nasional’s ‘fairness’ – to mislead and deceive the electorate another time.
Ghaffar Baba should be aware that the Barisan Nasional has ¬become synonymous with ‘unfairness’, ‘double standards’ and ‘abuse of power’.

I challenge Ghaffar Baba to prove Barisan Nasional’s ‘fairness’ by taking immediate action to multi-racialise the civil service, the police and armed forces, Felda schemes, government scholarships and university places which must be done before the general elections.

The recent controversy over the university intake of students where there is discrimination against students, including those who had sat for STPM in Chinese or Tamil language paper, is the latest example of the ‘unfairness’ of Barisan Nasional policy.

Is Ghaffar Baba prepared to get the Cabinet to decide on Wednesday to end all forms of unfair discrimination in selecting, student intake into universities and courses of study, so that no one would be unfairly denied of an opportunity of university education in Malaysia? If Ghaffar Baba is not prepared to do anything to ensure that every deserving Malaysian student get a university place in Malaysia, then he can forget about ‘fairness’.
Ghaffar Baba must have a very peculiar concept of ‘fairness’ under the Barisan Nasional Government. Is it ‘fair’ that the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional leaders could hold illegal public rallies throughout the country, misuse the government resources especially the Radio, Television and Information departments to propagandise the Barisan Nasional while the Opposition are denied fair and equal access to all forms of democratic communication with the people?

Is it fair for the Barisan Nasional Government to dictate and direct the Elections Commission to shorten general elections campaign time from the legal minimum of two weeks between Nomination and Polling to seven days, without consulting the Opposition?

Is it fair for Ghaffar Baba and the Barisan Nasional leaders to go round the country threatening and blackmailing the voters with ‘trouble’ and ‘chaos’ if they voted for the Opposition, and the Barisan Nasional loses two-third parliamentary majority?

Clearly, what Ghaffar Baba really means is that it is only fair that the Barisan Nasional government could be ‘unfair’!

Under the Barisan Nasional government, simple words are twisted and distorted out of all meaning. Thus, the simple message of ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Government is being used to camouflage an administration which has been rocked by the most scandals of corruption, with widespread allegation and belief of graft, nepotism and conflict of interest in high political places. Thus, when the Barisan Nasional Government talks about ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’, the people see the exact opposite. Similarly, when Ghaffar talks about ‘fairness’, it is the opposite situation which prevails.

While the DAP welcomes and support the exemption of rent of all Chinese and Tamil schools, and the 60-year extension of new village leases, Ghaffar Baba and the Barisan Nasional leaders must not think that by righting two wrongs, they had also rectified the other 1,000 wrongs of the Barisan Nasional Government.

It is not the sense of justice and fair play which are behind the various pre-election government actions, but the motive to win votes. Having done one thousand injustices, they think they can salve public discontentment by righting two or three injustices. The Malaysian electorate will prove to Ghaffar Baba and Barisan Nasional leaders that they are not such simpletons who could be deceived time and time again with pre-election gimmicks, which are always followed with massive erosion of the people’s rights after every major government election victory.