Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the 8th anniversary Dinner Celebration of the Sandakan DAP Branch held in Sandakan on Saturday, July 12, 1986 at 8 pm
Dap pledges to continue to speak up and champion the people of Sabah against all forms of injustice, inequality and oppression without regard to the personal cost or safety of DAP leaders
Today is the eighth anniversary celebration of the Sandakan DAP Branch. It is also the eight anniversary of election of DAP National Assistant Treasurer, Sdr.Fung Ket Wing, as the Sandakan Member of Parliament.
I want firstly to thank the people of Sandakan for their political courage and foresight in electing Sdr.Fung Ket Wing as their MP in 1978 and 1982 general elections.
In actual fact, six years before the people of Tambunan stood up for their rights against injustice, inequality and oppression, the people of Sandakan already taken a stand in the 1978 general elections.
In the last eight years, Sdr.Fung Ket Wing had not failed the people of Sandakan and Sabah, although he had to pay a very high personal price.
In the darkest days of the Harris Salleh rule in Sabah, Fung Ket Wing was the only voice in Sabah to challenge the dictator, which resulted in his six-months suspension from Parliament in 1984.
In Sabah, politics and in particular, election as an Assemblyman or Member of Parliament, has always been regarded as a passport to riches and all sorts of business and money-making opportunities, and elevation to millionaire or multi-millionaire status.
But I dare state without fear of contradiction that although Sdr.Fung Ket Wing has been MP of Sandakan for two terms, he has not made use for his parliamentary position to make a single cent, get business or logging permits, or misuse his political office for personal gain. Sdr.Fung in fact lost his job to be a Member of Parliament! He does not even use a car, but I do not think he is any Sabah MP or Assemblyman who could compare with Sdr.Fung Ket Wing in honouriblity poverty.
Sdr. Fung has dedicated himself to the political advancement of the people of Sandakan, Sabah and Malaysia, and for this reason, I hereby, formally, recommend Sdr.Fung Ket Wing as the DAP candidate for election as MP for Sandakan in the next general elections.
The seed that the people of Sandakan sowed in 1978 in electing the first and only DAP MP in Sabah is now ready to bear fruit, and it is our hope that we can in the coming general elections increase the DAP Sabah parliamentary strength from one to four or five.
I wish to take opportunity to ask the people of Sandakan, not only to re-elect Sdr.Fung Ket Wing as the third-term MP of Sandakan, but to help in every way possible to get four or five DAP MPs elected for the Sabah State.
Ever since 1969, when I made my first but short visit to Sabah to speak up against Tun Mustapha at a time when nobody dared to criticise him, I had always followed closely the hopes of aspiration, fears and anxieties, and the ups and downs of the people of Sabah.
For the last 17 years, I had always regarded it as part of my duty as a Malaysian MP to champion the Sabah people, when nobody dares to speak up for them.
As I said on May 15, 1969, when I was evicted from Sabah by Tun Mustapha for my public rally speech against him in Kota Kinablau, “I Shall Return”, and although it took me nine years to physically return to Sabah, I had perpetually returned to Sabah long ago, again and again. And this was why I had been able to speak up for the Sabah people inside and outside Parliament those nine years, until I again made a second but equally brief visit to Sabah under harris Salleh.
But my third to Sabah was the briefest of all, when I had to be physically carted up the aircraft during the 1978 general elections as Harris Salleh refused to allow me to land in Kota Kinabalu to help Sdr.Fung Ket Wing in his first parliamentary election campaign.
The second ban on my entry into Sabah lasted seven years, until Harris Salleh was toppled by the Sabah people who voted Datuk Joseph Pairin and PBS into power.
With Sdr. Fung Ket Wing as MP for Sandakan, I was able to follow the Sabah events more closely, and together with Sdr.Fung, to continue to be Sabah people’s voice, in fact the only voice, in Parliament.
This was why I did not hesitate to confront the Prime Minister, Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, and the Barisan Nasional Government inside and outside Parliament, when the Federal Government failed to uphold its constitutional duty to preserve law and order bu allowing the 12-day of anarchy in Sabah in March to take place, where bombs blasts, arson, rioting killed five persons and $10 million property.
This was also why when I received agonising telephone calls from several residents in Kota Kinabalu, crying in despair at being abandoned by the Federal Government, where there is no safety of life or limb or security of property, with a Prime Minister who is more interested in touring Ipoh, or Seremban to hold illegal public rallies for his general elections preparations, instead of showing concern for the hardship of the people of far, I was so upste as if I was in Kota Kinabalu itself suffering the same injustices.
When I was asked by some Kota Kinabalu telephone callers to visit Kota Kinabalu to see for myself the fear, insecurity and lack of law and order in the State Capital, I immediately responded, although some of my-colleagues felt it might be dangerous and unsafe for me.
I felt that as the people of Sabah have called for me, it is my duty to be with them regardless of personal comfort or ganger. IN the event, my visit to Kota Kinabalu also forced or shamed
Dr.Mahathir Mohamed to make a similar visit to Kota Kinabalu three days later.
I can give a pledge to the people of Sabah that the DAP will continue to speak up and champion them against all forms of injustice, inequality and oppression.
If Barisan Nasional regains two-third parliamentary majority, it will become arrogant, undemocratic, irresponsible and oppress
The Barisan Nasional Government has never been so unpopular than today. In fact, no Prime Minister is so unpopular in Sabah than Dr.Mahathir Mohamed.
The main cause of the Barisan Nasional is its arrogance of power and tyranny of majority, using its two-third parliamentary majority to introduce a whole series of undemocratic, unfair and unjust policies, whether in nation-building, political, economic, educational, cultural or religious fields.
As a result, there is now a grave crisis of confidence in Malaysia, where Malaysians send their monies overseas instead of investing locally, while foreigners have no confidence in Malaysia and do not want to invest here.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Federal Government leaders always boast that the international credit rating of Malaysia is very high, and that although they do not want to borrow, many nations and international banks were begging to lend money to them.
As a result, we have today the fantastic amount of foreign debt of $40 billion, and Malaysia has to borrow just to repay the foreign debts.
To weeks ago, an international economic weekly reported that the international credit rating of Malaysia is now lower than Indonesia’s- when in the 1960s and 1970s, Malaysian leaders would laugh at Indonesia’s economic conditions, referring it as a bankrupt state.
Another international weekly study estimated that in the last 10 years, the capital flight from Malaysia is so serious that if the government had been able to give them confidence to plough their money in Malaysia, the nation’s $40 billion foreign debt would have been reduced to $8 billion.
Malaysia had been subject o gross economic mismanagement not only in extravagant and badly planned projects, but also financial resources of the national and the confidence of the country.
The $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal, the $1 billion 1981 mysterious tin-buying scandal, the UMBC scandal of Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, the $200 million EPF scandal, the Pan El Crisis, the $200 million Multi-Purpose Scandal, and a host of others, here why Malaysia’s economic situation is getting from bad to worse when other countries are slowly recovering; and why Malaysia’s ringgit is getting weaker while Tokyo Yen or Singapore Dollar, and the other international currencies are getting stronger.
Another reason for the crisis of confidence is the narrow national-building policies pursed by the Barisan Nasional, resulting in a very divided and disunited Malaysian people.
Ever since the Barisan’s unprecedented general elections victory in 1982, there had been a wholesale erosion of the people’s political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights, especially after the proclamation of the One Language, One Culture’ Policy in October 1982 Parliament.
The situation has become so bad that Malaysians are even losing their rights as parents, and are losing their sons and daughters. This problem had become very serious in Peninsular Malaysia, and this is why the DAP has launched a mass signature campaign there to defend the basic parental right to control and protect their children, and the right to family unit integrity.
I was most shocked to learn earlier today that this is also happening in Sabah. One distraught mother came to see Sdr.Fung Ket Wing today about his 16-year old daughter who disappeared from home since June 5, and had been forcibly converted into Islam without the knowledge, consent or approval of the parents.
The foster Muslim father of his girl is a police sergeant from Peninsular Malaysia, and is having illegal custody of the girl, and must have used his police connections to prevent the parents from regaining rightful return and custody over their daughter.
I understand that the father of the girl had approached the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, for his intervention, and the return of his daughter to rightful parental care and custody. I hope Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan could solve this problem.
The DAP intervene in one such case in Kota Bahru in Kelantan, where a 16-year-old girl, Ng Yee Kuan, was actually abducted and coerced into embracing Islam by religious teacher in the school, but after our intervention, she was returned to her father and family.
But this problem is becoming more and more serious as the government wants a ‘One Language, One Cultural, One Religion Malaysia, and since such events have spread to Sabah, should be a lesson to all Sabahans that whatever is happening in Peninsular Malaysia will affect them, sooner or later- unless such politicies are reversed.
If Barisan Nasional, despite its unpopular over a whole range of its policies and actions, can retain two-thirds majority, then it will become even more arrogant undemocratic, irresponsible and oppressive. It would reason that although there are some grumblings in the coffees shops and complaints among the people, in the final analysis the people will accept the Barisan’ policies, actions and decisions.
On the national level, the retention of two-third parliamentary majority will mean more extreme implementation of the ‘One language, One Culture, One Religion’, with more and more incidents where parents will lose the right of custody and control over their sons and daughters not yet 18 years of age. In fact, under the Muslim law, a minor who had reached puberty. A girl could reach puberty at ten or nine years – and this erosion is not challenged and stopped, no parent in
Malaysia could sleep in peace for fear of loss of their son or daughter!
The economic mismanagement will continue with extravagant projects and expenditures, while scandal and corruption go rampant and unchecked- for the people have not become sufficiently disenchanted to deny Barisan Nasional two-third majority.
At the Sabah state, level, Barisan Nasional would be able to boast that all its previous policies and action, whether the March anarchy in Sabah, the illegal Filipino and Indonesian immigrant issue, the Labuan issue, were right, for it could still obtain two-third parliamentary majority.
Democracy will come under greater threat, and the objective of a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia will become more distant.
The tragedy of such a failure to deny the Barisan Nasional its two-third majority is that it may take a very long time before we could have the present political situation to teach Barisan Nasional a good lesson by stripping it of its two-third parliamentary majority.