Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Selangor DAP state Committee meeting at Selangor DAP headquarters, Petaling Jaya on Friday, Feb. 27, 1987 at 8 p.m.
No amount of expensive PR campaign can restore the tattered image, standing and credibility of MCA unless MCA leaders are prepared to break from tradition to prove that they are in politics not for themselves but for the community and country.
It has been reported that the MCA, battered by a series of scandals, is to launch a publicity campaign to boost its image. This PR campaign will glorify the party’s achievements and the greatness of MCA leaders.
I would have expected the MCA leaders to be more hard-headed and realistic, and realize that no amount of expensive PR blitzkrieg campaign can repair the tattered image, standing and credibility of MCA. If the loss of political and moral credibility of the MCA could be resolved by a slick PR campaign, then there is no lead for politicians in the first place.
The advertising firm responsible for the MCA’s PR campaign was responsible for the series of most disgusting and distasteful cartoons during last August general elections, and in their most unethical attempt to present Opposition leaders in the worst possible light, cost the MCA and Barisan more votes instead of winning over the electorate.
I find it most pathetic that the MCA leaders have degenerated to such a stage that they regard politics as nothing more than an advertising gimmicry, and that slick PR techniques can give the MCA a new image and credibility.
The MCA’s problem is not whether they can sell the Chinese community a new image with the skills and techniques of modern advertising, but whether they could convince the people that they have found a political soul, and to break from past MCA tradition to prove that CA leaders are in politics not for themselves but for the community and country.
The seven months after the August general elections have seen the MCA’s stocks sinking even lower, and MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Lion Sik, must be indulging in one of his self-deceptions when he recently said that only 25% of the Malaysian Chinese are disenchanted with the MCA.
I would venture to say that the last general elections showed that the MCA had at most 25% support of the Malaysian Chinese, but this percentage has dropped further in the past seven months because the MCA had made the Malaysian Chinese the butt of contempt and ridicule of the other communities by the antics and peccadilloes of MCA leaders, as well as causing the Malaysian Chinese to lose considerable self-respect.
Instead of wasting money on a meaningless PR campaign (although the MCA has a lot of money to squander), the MCA leaders should address themselves to the following post-general elections problems if it is really concerned about restoring its own image and credibility:
Get Cabinet guarantee of dollar-to-dollar return to 588,000 co-operative depositors and refund of at least 50 per cent of deposits by end of April
Firstly, the MCA leadership must get the Cabinet to give a firm guarantee of dollar-to-dollar return to the 588,000o depositors and to refund at least 50 per cent of the deposits by end of April this year.
No MCA Minister of leader has been able to explain why the MCA agreed to the $150 million government rescue of Bank Rakyat and $2.5 billion rescue of Bank Bumiputra, and cannot get UMNO to agree to a rescue plan for the 25 co-operatives to ensure a dollar-to-dollar refund.
Secondly, the refusal of former MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, to vacate his Gopeng parliamentary seat although he had pleaded guilty to criminal breach of trust charges in Singapore and is serving jail sentence in Changi Prison has further undermined MCA’s low image, standing and credibility . Isn’t it more honourable for Tan Koon Swan, the MCA, the Chinese community and the Malaysian nation for Tan Koon Swan to relinquish his Gopeng parliamentary seat instead of hanging on until the last possible date on April 5 as permitted by the Malaysian Constitution?
Thirdly, the recent arrest and charges of MCA leaders, including a MCA Deputy Minister, for criminal breach of trust in the co-operative finance scandal. It is open knowledge that the MCA leaders are telling their members that the arrest of MCA leaders in connection with co-operative crimes is a ‘political persecution’. If this is so, when didn’t MCA have the guts to organise protest demonstrations, in the way they organized demonstrations against the Singapore government following the arrest of Tan Koon Swan in January last year? Is the inaction of the MCA indicative of their acceptance of the propriety of the actions taken against the MCA leaders?
In this connection, the position of Deputy MCA Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Wang Choon Wing, going ‘on leave’ until the outcome of his trail raises several questions. Is he on paid leave or unpaid leave. If the trial takes two or three years, is the position of Deputy MCA Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports to remain vacant for the same period? Is this fair to other MCA leaders, to the people and country? Isn’t it more honorable and proper for Wang Choon Wing to resign as Deputy Minister during the period of his trial, without implying blame or guilty, with the clear proviso that he would be reinstated as Deputy Minister when he is cleared of the criminal charges preferred against him?
When former Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Mochtar Hashim, was tried for murder of the former Negri Sembilan Speaker, Datuk Taha, I took the position that he must resign as Cabinet Minister instead of exposing Malaysia to the shame of a Minister actually standing trial for murder. Similarly, we must not have a situation where a Deputy Minister is actually standing trial for criminal breach of trust charges, whether on leave or otherwise.
Fourthly, the recent allegation that one of the MCA Deputy Ministers had obtained permanent resident status abroad. Although MCA President, Datuk Ling Liong Sik, had issued a denial, it will not be able to put such an allegation to rest. We all know which Deputy MCA Minister is being referred to, and a more convincing rebuttal would be for all the facts of this case to be made public instead of a bald denial.