by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjong and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Sunday, 31.8.1986:
Call on Prime Minister to give real meaning to the National Day slogan of ‘A Resolute Society, A Strong Nation’ by fighting the ills of the country
The National Day slogan this year is ‘A Resolute Society, a Strong Nation’, but like the previous National Day slogans, there is a similar danger that this will be another empty catch-phrase forgotten by everyone a few days after National Day.
A National Day slogan should be the theme of the government and people for the next l2 months, and the success of keeping to the spirit and meaning of such a slogan should be reviewed at the end of those l2 months.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to give real meaning to the l986 National Day slogan of ‘A resolute Society, a Strong Nation’ by rallying the people behind the government to fight the major ills of our country.
There is no doubt that among the chief major ills of our society are racial polarization, crisis of confidence, religious extremism, corruption, abuse of authority and trust by public officials, moral decline and decay, economic exploitation and greed, etc.
The Prime Minister must encourage the people to be resolute in their fight for justice, equality, freedom and an equal place under the Malaysian sun. He and Barisan Nasional must also respect the people for their resolution in exercising their democratic right in the recent general elections, where 45 per cent of the electorate expressed disagreement with Barisan Nasional nation-building policies.
In his National Day speech, Dr. Mahathir said Malaysians must be resolute and firm so that the interests of any one race does not override the interests of the nation. Racial polarization has become so acute over the years because if the growing feeling that not all races that make up Malaysia have an equal right to determine the future and destiny of the country and the people.
Abdullah Ahmad the man to watch in UMNO and Malaysian politics post-l986 general elections
This feeling was been reinforced by speeches like the one made by former Deputy Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, at the Singapore Institute of International Relations. Datuk Abdullah, who was a powerful man in the Razak administration, and fell from grace when detained under the Intern I Security Act in l976, has started another political come-back in Malaysian politics with his election as MP for Kok L nas, and is undoubtedly the man to watch in UMNO and Malaysian politics in the post-l986 general elections era.
Datuk Abdullah said in his speech that Malaysian politics is founded in Malay political dominance, and the Malaysian Chinese should not ‘play with fire’ with seeking to have greater political equality, fair play and democracy.
Datuk Abdullah may regard his Singapore speech as his ‘manifesto’ for his return to Malaysian politics and quest for his political ambition, which is no less than the Prime Ministership itself.
But his Singapore speech cannot be left unchallenged, because it is founded on a premise which could only lead to greater division and polarization in Malaysia.
While I accept the reality of Malaysian politics as founded on Malay political dominance, there are other political realities which must also be accepted by Datuk Abdullah Ahmad and by other top UMNO leaders, including the following:
Firstly, Malaysia is a multi-racial nation which cannot be ruled by one race government only, but must secure meaningful multi-racial representation in government and multi-racial support along the people if the government is to be effective, legitimate and bea unifier of the people;
Secondly, the reality of Malay political dominance is not an excess for taking such dominance to even greater lengths, as had happened in the last 29 years. Malaysia’s multi-racial population and common destiny demand that responsible UMNO and Malay leaders should not demand greater dominance in the political field, and should respect the legitimate political rights and aspiration of the non-Malays. This is why the Penang UMNO’s demand for the Penang Chief Ministership after the August 3 general elections was so offending and objectionable.
Thirdly, the reality of multi-racial Malaysia and the process of nation-building will be accompanied by aspiration for greater political equality. The New Economic Policy seeks to restructure Malaysian society to climate the identification of race with any particular function, which includes the elimination of dominance of any one community economically. Similarly, we should be working towards the restructuring and rectification of political power distribution in the country so that they could be more multi-racial over the years and with such succession generations. Instead, the opposite is happening.
I say it is Datuk Abdullah Ahmad who wants to play with fire if he demands that the non-Malays in Malaysia must accept the increasing inequality and disparity in the distribution of political power, but this tantamount to asking the non-Malays to agree to become more and more unequal citizens of the country.
Without fair political power and influence, no one could become an equal citizen of the country.
Datuk Abdullah should remember that we should be concerned as to how to make Malaysia become more mature and united as a nation, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of Malaysians of all racial origins, rather than to threaten how to blow Malaysia apart.
Welcome Ghaffar’s announcement of a ‘Safety Net Fund’ for 24 co-operatives
I welcome the announcement by Ghaffar Baba that the government has decided to implement a rescue plan which includes the establishment of a safety net’ fund for the 24 deposit-taking co-operatives, and that details of this rescue plan would be announced next week.
I wish to remind all Cabinet Ministers, and in particular those from MCA and Gerakan, that this rescue plan must see to it that none of the depositors of the 24 co-operatives would suffer any financial loss, and that all the directors of co-operatives who had misused their positions and trust should be arrested, prosecuted and punished for their crimes.
No co-operatives should be lisuilated if this would been financial hardships for the depositors, as the government’s delay in taking earlier action to safeguard the welfare of the depositors is contributory cause to the $ 1.6 billion Co-operative crisis.