Speech BY Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, at the dinner of two Selangor DAP MPs and five Assemblymen in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, Sept.9, 1986 at 8 p.m.
DAP MPs and Assemblymen is each State should form a special team to make special visits to rural areas to understand and espouse the problems, aspirations and grievances of the Malay poor in the rural areas.
In the 1986 General Elections , the DAP has emerged as the sole Opposition in seven State assemblies, namely Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Pahang and Johore, and the virtual Opposition in Parliament, except for the single PAS MP.
We are only the voice of Urban Malaysia, but must provide voice for the voiceless Rural Malaysia in the seven State Assemblies, as well as in Parliament.
For this reason, DAP’s 24 MPs and 37 Assemblymen have a very heavy responsibility to perform in the next five years to live up to what Tunku Abdul Rahman said a few days ago to the people’s expectations of a good, effective and responsible Opposition.
DAP MPs and assemblymen in each State should form a special team to make regular visits to rural areas to understand the espouse the problems, aspirations and grievances of the Malay poor in the rural areas, for the DAP is a party for all Malaysians and champion the cause of the poor, dispossessed and deprived of all citizens regardless of race.
On Sunday, I led a Penang group od DAP MPs and Assemblymen to Anak Bukit, five miles north of Alor Star, to understand at first hand the complaints and grievances of padi farmers in Kedah and perils, who may lose $25 million because of the incompetence of the LPN complexes in purchasing the harvested padi. Lorries have to queye up at the complexes for three days and two nights to sell their padi to the LPN, by which time, especially with rain, padi would have started to get rotten.
The Kedah Menteri besar, Datuk Seri Paduka Osman Aroff, was so shocked that I and other DAP MPs and Assemblymen should be visiting Anak Bukit to meet with padi farmers that he publicly attacked me and questioned the motives of my Kedah trip.
This is most surprising, for the Kedah Menteri Besar should realize that we must learn to cross ethnic barriers to concern ourselves with the grievances, complaints, hardships of Malaysians regardless of race, and he and other UMNO leaders should learn to do the same thing, instead of taking the attitude that Malay poverty is no concern of the DAP.
So long as Malay poverty is the concern of Malay political leaders, non-Malay problems the concern of non-Malay political leaders, Malaysia will never be united and racial polarization will get worse from year to year.
DAP MPs and Assemblymen have a special duty to reach out to the Malays whether in urban or rural areas, to convince them that we must all begin to look at our problems and challenges more and more from the Malaysian perspective instead of from the various ethnic standpoints.
DAP MPs and Assemblymen must show that they are genuinely concerned about the problems and aspirations of the Malay poor before we could get their confidence and support, to make the breakthrough to turn the DAP into a truly multi-racial political movement with support from all Malaysians, regardless of race.
The next five years demand from DAP MPs and Assemblymen a high sense of political and commitment, if we are to make use of our August 3 general elections victory as a foundation for greater political achievements five years later.
This I why it is important that the DAP MPs and Assemblymen in each state should maintain the closest rapport and comradeship so that they can work as a united team to expand the influence and support of the party.
It is for this reason that I am suggesting that Mps and Assemblymen in each state should meet once a month in an informal atmosphere, where we can exchange notes, discuss political issues and developments, plan for collective action to project the party’s image and strengthen mutual understanding and ties.
This monthly gathering has been started in Penang and Perak, and the second get-togethers for DAP MPs and Assemblymen in Penang will be held on Thursday 11th Sept. While the second get-together of Perak DAP MPs and assemblymen would be held on sept.29, 1986.
This should be extended to the federal Territory, Negri Sembilan and Malacca.
Call on Dr. Mahathir to solve our own problems before we advise Non-Aligned Movement how to solve the same problems.
The Prime Minister, datuk seri Mahathir Mohamed, said in his interview after his return from the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Herare that a chain of international universities should be set up in developing countries.
He said that at present there were between 300,000 and 400,000 students from developing countries studying in developed countries and this was a drain on foreign exchange.
Dr. Mahathir should solve our own problems of having 61,000 Malaysian students in foreign universities by establishing more universities if the country, before we can advise Non-Aligned Movement how to solve the same problem.
I hope that Dr. Mahathir would direct the Education minister and finance Minister to get down to show the Non-Aligned Movements how this problem solve of having such an excessive number of our students overseas pursuing higher studies, causing such a drain on our foreign exchange.
For a start, we should aim to have one university in each of the 13 states: and secondly, the government should semi-privatise higher education, by permitting the establishment of private universities.
I do not understand why the prime Minister is prepared to use the DAP’s arguments for international conferences, as bringing Malaysian students home to study in our own country or set up a commission to study the causes of backwardness and poverty, but yet not prepared to accept these ideas for our own country. This will raise doubts whether the prime minister’s prescriptions for the solutions of the developing countries is to be taken seriously, when he is himself unprepared to adopt them in his own country.