1986 National Day Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblymen for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, on Saturday, 30.8. 1986
Call on all political parties to put aside their differences to resolve the greatest problem in Malaysia – the aggravating racial polarization of the people
On the occasion of the 29th National Day of Malaysia, all Malaysians must be concerned by the single biggest problem facing the country, which will affect not only our economic recovery, but also restoration of national and international confidence in our system and government – the aggravating racial polarization of the people.
The l986 general elections results did not create the serious racial polarization in Malaysia, but highlighted the gravity of this problem, which stems from 29 years of nation-building policies which failed to give all Malaysians an equal stake under the Malaysian sun.
All Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or party affiliation, should be concerned about the problem of racial polarization, for we must admit and accept the reality that all Malaysians are in the same national boat – and that we either sink or swim together.
For this reason, I call on all political parties to put aside their differences to resolve the greatest problem in Malaysia – the aggravating racial polarization of the Malaysian people.
There should be established an efficient, effective and representative Institute of Race Relations in Malaysia, which should have as its sole responsibility, the prevention of racial polarization.
As a first step, it should focus national attention on issues and incidents which could make racial polarization worse, before dealing with the root causes of the present state of racial polarization.
For instance, it should deal immediately with incidents and events whereby the sensitivities of one particular group are being trampled upon, leading to aggravation of racial polarization.
If such an Institute is established, the DAP is prepared to extend the fullest help and support, and even fully participating in the activities of the Institute, as we feel it is the duty of every Malaysian to resolve and overcome the problem of racial polarization in Malaysia.
Constitutional Review Commission
Next year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Merdeka. The Malaysian Constitution would also be 30 years old. The DAP suggests that a Constitutional Review Commission should be established immediately to review the operations of the Constitution, to see how in the last 30 years it had fulfilled the national aspirations of a free, democratic, just and equal Malaysia, where there is a Rule of Law and meaningful parliamentary democracy.
Malaysians should be involved in an self-examination of the first 30 years, where there could be a national debate on the proposals and recommendations to make Malaysia a better country for all its citizens.
This will make the 30th anniversary of Merdeka meaningful to the people, country and the future, instead of just holding parades, processions and parties to commemorate the event.
This Constitutional Review Commission should complete its report, findings and recommendations on how the Malaysian Constitution can be better improved for a national debate on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Merdeka.