I am prepared to meet Ling Liong Sik, in public or private, to discuss problems of the people, in particular the Malaysian Chinese

Part II of Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the second series of the nation-wide public protest meetings of 588,000 co-operative depositors held at Wisma Chin Woo, Ipoh on Saturday, 25th April 1987 at 9 p.m.

I am prepared to meet Ling Liong Sik, in public or private, to discuss problems of the people, in particular the Malaysian Chinese

On Monday, MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, asked the DAP to give the MCA a walk-over in Gopeng when he read of my speech in Penang rating the DAP’s chances in Gopeng parliamentary by-election as 45:55.

I immediately invited him to the Ipoh ceramah at Wisma Chin Woo tonight for him to publicly list the grounds why the DAP should give the MCA a walk-over in Gopeng. Unfortunately, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik did not have the courage or conviction to turn up tonight to justify the MCA request for a walk-over in Gopeng from the DAP, although he said he was prepared to meet me in private to discuss any matter of common interest.

Does Datuk Dr. Ling mean that he could only give his reasons for the request for a walk-over in Gopeng from the DAP in private, and not in public? What is there to be so secretive? However, if Datuk Dr. Ling could only give his reasons for the unprecedented MCA request for Gopeng walkover in ‘private’, I am prepared to give him a hearing!

MCA leaders seem to have a lot of things to hide, that they dare not meet the DAP leaders in public, in ceramahs or forums. Why is it the MCA Ministers and leaders are so lacking in self-confidence, if they think their actions, policies and record are right and something to be proud of?

With regard to Datuk Ling’s proposal for a private meeting to discuss matters of common interests, let me state that I am prepared to meet Datuk Dr. Ling, in public or in private. Such meetings, however, must be for a good purpose, and not just to drink tea and chit-chat.

MCA claims to represent the five million Malaysian Chinese, and there is no doubt that the greatest dilemma facing the Malaysian Chinese is the relentless erosion of their political, economic, educational, cultural, religious and even citizenship rights.

Let us then, in private, discuss this single greatest dilemma of the Malaysian Chinese, including the following ten topics:

1. Why in the last 30 years, the political rights of the Malaysian Chinese had gone from bad to worse, as demonstrated in the failure to honour the Merdeka Agreement that the posts of Yang di-pertua and Chief Minister of Malacca be shared between the Malays and Chinese; the the MCA loss of important Cabinet posts like Finance and Trade/Industry portfolios and exclusion from Education, Defence, Home Affairs portfolios; to the extent that the MIC President seemsto have greater weight than the MCA President in government!

2. Why the MCA had repeatedly supported the emasculation of the political power of the Malaysian Chinese in the 1974 and 1984 redelineation of electoral constituencies, which not only infringed the principle of ‘one man, one vote’. Is the key instrument to perpetuate a system whereby the Chinese cannot have the political power they are entitled to? Is this because such unfair delineation of constituencies allow MCA leaders to have ‘safe’ seats, to contest, as was the case in last year’s general elections where Tan Koon Swan and Datuk Ling stood in Gopeng and Labis with 46% Chinese electorate, while Datuk Lee Kim Sai contested in Hulu Langat with 42% Chinese electorate?

3. Why did the MCA Ministers let down the 588,000 co-operative depositors by opposing a ‘dollar-to-dollar’ refund guarantee to the depositors in the cabinet in November, 1986, when MCA must bear the greatest responsibility for the $1.5 billion co-operative Finance Scandal because:

(i) MCA pioneered the co-operative finance system convincing the Chinese
community that it is the ‘last line of defence for small Chinese capital’;

(ii) the role of MCA leaders and members in the fraud, breach of trust and crimes in
co-operatives leading to the scandal;

(iii) the role of MCA leaders and members in borrowing mammoth sums from the co-operatives without security, and which is why the MCA Ministers have not supported a public release of the list of major borrowers of the co-operatives.

4. Is the MCA aware that as a component party of the Barisan Nasional, it has a great responsibility for the deplorable situation today where corruption is rampant and the nation flooded with scandals, whether Pan El scandal, BMF scandal, UMBC scandal, Multi-Purpose Holdings scandal, Maminco scandal, EPF scandal, CCB scandal, or Co-operative Finance Scandal. Why is it no single MCA minister had dared to take a strong stand against corruption, abuse of power and all forms of betrayal of trust? Is it because the MCA is the most corrupt political party in Malaysia – on the basis of the number of MCA leaders who had been charged and found guilty of corruption or breach of trust, or awaiting trial?

5. This leads to the equally important question of the honour, dignity and self-respect of the Chinese community. Is the MCA aware that the sense of honour, dignity and self-respect of the Chinese community in Malaysia is at an all-time low. Not content to have a President who pleaded guilty of breach of trust charges and jailed for two years in Crescent Bay, Changi, Singapore, the MCA leadership plunged the Malaysian Chinese community’s honour, dignity and self-respect to even lower depths when it refused to relinquish the Gopeng parliamentary seat until it found that there was no way to get UMNO agreement to either fly the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to Singapore to swear in Tan Koon Swan, or extend time for Tan Koon Swan to be sworn in as MP. If a party which claims to be the sole representative of the five million Malaysian Chinese have such contempt for the honour, dignity and self-respect of the Chinese themselves, who else would respect or hononur the Malaysian Chinese?

6. In the last five years, the government of which MCA is a component party, launched an Islamisation process in all areas of national life, whether in administration, economy, education, culture. Why did the MCA Ministers support such an Islamisation policy and process, which undermines the constitutional right of all Malaysians to freedom of worship and the secular basis of the Malaysian state?