UMNO’s demand for Gopeng parliamentary seat is indicative of its contempt and low opinion of MCA

by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, March 30, 1987:

UMNO’s demand for Gopeng parliamentary seat is indicative of its contempt and low opinion of MCA.

UMNO’s demand for Gopeng parliamentary seat in the by-election after Tan Koon Swan’s announced resignation on April 3 is indicative of UMNO’s contempt and low opinion of MCA.

Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Vice President, Ghaffar Baba, said the Barisan National Supreme Council will decide which component party is to contest for the Gopeng parliamentary seat, as the matter had to be referred to the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.

Is this really the case, or is it only with regard to seats presently held by MCA? Since the August 1986 general elections, there had been two parliamentary deaths occasioning the need to hold by-elections. In Sarawak, the Lubok Antu parliamentary by-election is going on, and although the PBDS has been declare3d by the Sarawak Chief Minister and Barisan Nasional Chairman, Taib Mahmud, as being out of the State Barisan, the official Barisan candidate for Lubok Antu is still a PBDS nominee.

Again, in the Limbawang parliamentary by-election in Sabah next month, the official Barisan candidate would be from USNO which will be fielding its president Tun Datu Mustapha Datuk Harun.

In neither of the Lubok Antu or Limbawang parliamentary by-elections were the Barison Nasional Supreme Council called upon to meet and decide which component party should contest as there is the known Barisan Nasional rule that the incumbent party will field a candidate in a by-election. Why is Gopeng the exception? Is this what UMNO leaders like the MP for Kok Lanas Datuk Abdullah Ahmad meant about the need to ensure ‘expanding Malay political dominance’ in Malaysia?

I have no doubt that if there is by-election to be held in a parliamentary seat currently being held by UMNO, and MCA Ministers or leaders should publicly lay claim to it on behalf of MCA, the MCA would be warned by UMNO to behave or be expelled from Barisan Nasional.

From the Gopeng case, it would appear that the Barisan Nasional rule that until the next general elections, the component parties would defend the seats allocated to them in the August 1986 general elections should there be any by-election does not apply to MCA.

If MCA’s position in the Barisan Nasional is worse than that of PBDS, USNO, then it has only itself and its leaders to blame.

After all, which component party had asked an UMNO leader, Ghaffar Baba, to become the de facto President, as happened to MCA during its 22-month internal power struggle where Ghaffar Baba operated as MCA President?

The MCA leaders also humiliated themselves, the MCA and the Chinese community by the disgraceful manner they dragged out Tan Koon Swan’s resignation until the very last moment, although they should know this would not only dishonour the MCA, the five million Chinese but the Malaysian people as a whole. This was why the UMNO, through its various mass media organs, had I the past few months castigated the MCA for its shameful refusal to allow Tan Koon Swan to resign as MP immediately after his conviction for criminal breach of trust charges in Singapore. We must ask Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik: Where is your honour, the honour of the MCA, the Malaysian Chinese from your handling of the Tan Koon Swan resignation as Gopeng MP?