Minister who asks the people not to worry about declining commodity prices is not fit to be Primary Industries Minister

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the thanks-the-voters ceramah organised by Taiping DAP Branch on Monday, 18.8.1986 at 9 pm

Minister who asks the people not to worry about declining commodity prices is not fit to be Primary Industries Minister

Immediately after the August 3 general elections, Gerakan President, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik said that with the DAP’s improved performance in the elections, the voice and influence of the Chinese in Government had been eroded.

Yet, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik was more interested in becoming a ‘voice-less’ and influence-less’ Minister, instead of ensuring that the Chinese voices and influence in government is given equal weight and place.

Dr. Lim Keng Yaik got rid of Paul Leong as Minister of Primary Industries in order to fulfil his 13-year dream to return to the Cabinet, even though his ‘voice and influence’ in the Cabinet is insignificant. I want to ask Dr. Lim Keng Yaik what is then the difference between a Gerakan Cabinet Minister and a MCA Minister, especially as Gerakan leaders are fond of attacking MCA Ministers as ‘good-for-nothings’!

Even Dr. Goh Cheng Teik was kicked out as Deputy Minister, being replaced by Alex Lee, making Dr. Goh so disappointed and embarrassed that he is getting away from Malaysia for one year!

Will Dr. Lim Keng Yaik be a better Primary Industries Minister than Paul Leong?

Many people, inside and outside Gerakan, are asking this question. What Dr. Lim said in Bruas on Saturday must have confirmed the worst fears that Dr. Lim may not be the bast man for the post, especially at a time when the commodities are facing a prolonged crisis.

Dr. Lim urged the people not to worry about declining commodity prices. Dr. Lim cannot be more wrong, for not only must the people, but the entire Cabinet, should worry about the the declining commodity prices.

A Minister who could tell the people not to worry about declining commodity prices, when Malaysia’s principal commodities such as tin, rubber, palm oil, petroleum, have plunged to all time low creating great economic hardships to the people and the nation, is not fit to be Minister of Primary Industries.

In this speech, Dr. Lim said that he would be visiting several countries in the next four months. The people get the impression that the first thing Dr. Lim Keng Yaik was interested in on his appointment as Primary Industries Minister was to decide on his overseas junkets!

He does not seem to be interested in acquiring mastery of the subjects in his portfolio, but to go round the world!

Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should let Malaysians know that are these ‘several countries’ which has would be visiting the next four months, and for the people to decide whether these overseas trips are necessary or not; and whether he is the best and most qualified man at the moment to go abroad to ‘sell’ Malaysia’s commodities at higher prices.

I hope the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, would exercise control over Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to make sure he does not spend more time outside Malaysia than inside. Otherwise, he should not become Minister of Primary Industries but be a roving Ambassador for the Barisan Nasional Government!

Dong Jiao Zhong secretary-general, Soo Thien Ming, should explain his statement during the Tanjong campaign that the Tanjong battle is a survival-or-death battle for Dong Jiao Zhong

It is not my style to try to interfere in the domestic affairs of Dong Jiao Zhong, and I do not intend to do so now. But Dong Jiao Zhong Secretary-General, Soo Thien Ming, owe the DAP and the Malaysian Chinese community an explanation with regard to his speech at the Gerakan ceramah in Tanjong on nomination day, that the Chinese should support the Gerakan and Barisan Nasional candidate Koh Tsu Koon against me, Soo Thien Ming said the Tanjong battle is a survival-or-death battle for Dong Jiao Zhong.

Now that the people of Tanjong had supported me with a majority of over 11,000, is Soo Thein Ming now saying that Dong Jiao Zhong must face ‘disintegrated’, as he put it during the campaign?

I believe that the entire Chinese community is very pained by the Dong Jiao Zhong’s actions in the 1982 general elections, and that of certain Dong Jiao Zhong leaders in the 1986 general elections, in particular pertaining to Soo Thien Ming, Liew Sik Thong and Foo Wan Thot.

Dong Jiao Zhong officials would be bluffing themselves if they do not admit that these 1986 and 1986 actions and incidents have brought its previously unquestioned standing, credibility and authority to its lowest point in history, and unless something is done to regain the confidence of the Chinese community, Dong Jiao Zhong would have lost its role as the voice, conscience and leader of the community on Chinese education, culture and even political issues.