By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung. Assemblyen for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, 1.9.1986.
DAP regrets that Dr. Mahathir has chosen to accept the explanation of MCA and Gerakan leaders to misinterpret the DAP victory and the 1986 general elections results.
I find the interview given by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to the Mingguan Malaysia yesterday was shocking and regrettable., for its presents the picture of a Prime Minister who is not prepared to open up and understand and the legitimate aspiration of a new generation of Malaysians.
Reading the Mingguan Malaysia interview, I am immediately reminded of Dr. Mahathir’s famous look, ‘The Malay Dilemma’, first published in 1970.
It is clear from the interview that Dr. Mahathir has chosen to accept the explanation of MCA and Gerakan leaders to misinterpret the DAP victory and the meaning of the 1986 general elections results.
Firstly, I wish to rebut Dr. Mahathir various allegations against the DAP in his interview, that the DAP is a Chinese party that we have rejected multi-racial polities, that DAP ceramahs were attended only by Chinese and that the DAP was using two tactics to trick the Chinese, namely:
• To print a picture of the country as unstable although the Barisan had won a landslide victory and with this, frighten foreign investors away so as to prevent an economic recovery; and
• To fan Chinese hatred towards the Malays, which would in turn cause feelings to astral among Malays for the Chinese.
Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s allegations are so far-fetched, contrary to reality, that ordinary Malaysians with an open mind and unbiased thinking must wonder whether our Prime Minister’s judgment is being affected by the general elections results.
The one million voters who voted for the DAP in the August 3 elections voted for the DAP, not because the DAP in a Chinese party, but because we represent a demand for change in Barisan Nasional policies so that they could be more multi-racial, fair, equal and democratic.
Although Dr. Mahathir claims in the interview that only the Barisan Nasional practices and has a multi-racial image, the August 3 results showed that the people are of the view that the Barisan Nasional is not multi-racial enough!
Dr. Mahathir accusation that only Chinese attend Dap ceramahs or vote the DAP is so ridiculous that I do not think it is worth an answer. The Perak Menteri Besar, Datuk Ramli Ngah, had himself said that it would be a mistake to think that only one racial group vote for the DAP in the recent general elections, and he said that in urban areas, the DAP had also secured Malay support.
The so-called two tactics of the DAP to ‘trick’ the Chinese must have been planted by the MCA and Gerakan leaders to explain away their election defeats. I find the role being played by the MCA and Gerakan leaders after the August 3 general elections most disappointing.
The Prime Minister must admit that despite his ‘landslide’ victory in winning 148 out of 177 parliamentary scants, the crisis of confidence which shrouded the country before and during the general elections had not resolved.
This is because of the refused of the Barisan Nasional government to address the larger issues which had casual such a crisis of confidence, and which gave the Barisan Nasional a more 55 per cent of the total elected vote.
The first step to overcome the crisis of confidence in the country is for the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional to act courageously and with statements hip to find out why 45 per cent of the voters voted against the Barisan Nasional on August 3, and incorporate their aspirations into the mainstream of national polices to bring about a more united Malaysian people and antion.
If the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional leadership continues to blame the 45 per cent voters for not supporting the Barisan, or the DAP for getting the people’s support, then how could they claim to be democratic?
The accusation that the DAP wants to fan Chinese hatred among Malays for the Chinese is most mischievous, and I hope that Dr. Mahathir and the UMNO leaders would put national interest above everything else, and rise above such petty, malicious and baseless politicking.
DAP its leaders, members and supporters are Malaysians through and through, and we want to see Malaysia succeed as a multi-racial experiment in nationhood. We do not want to see Malaysia is integrate and perish because of our failure to resolve our racial problems, and this is why I had said repeatedly after the August 1986 general elections that all parties and persons should be prepared to work together to resolve the grave problem of racial polarization in the country.
It is because of the distrust and refusal of UMNO leaders to accept others as full-blooded Malaysians which is at the root cause of many nation-building problems in Malaysia.
I am very concerned about the Mingguan Malaysia of Dr. Mahathir, for it does not seem to be a coincidence that it came out on the same day as the Singapore speech by former Deputy Minister, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, warning the Malaysian Chinese not to ‘play with fire’ if they do not accept the reality of Malaysian polities being based on Malay political dominance.
Datuk Abdullah Ahmad’s speech was carried in full in the English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers, which showed clearly, that it was not just the view of one man, but of the UMNO political establishment.
I hope MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders would have the courage to challenge the premise of Datuk Abdullah Ahmed’s Singapore speech, but in the Cabinet on Wednesday and by calling for an emergency meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.
If the Opposition had said some of the things which Datuk Abdullah in Singapore, we would have been accrual of being disloyal and anti-national. Why should there be one standard for UMNO leaders and another for Opposition leaders or the ordinary Malaysian?
If MCA and Gerakan Minister and leaders continue to remain silent, it means that they accept to Singapore speech of Datuk Abdullah Ahmed as the basis for their continuing inside the Barisan Nasional.