In 1984, Ting Chew Peh fully supported the collusion between the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction and the Malacca Chief Minister to destroy Bukit China in Malacca in the name of commercial and housing development

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the first DAP Goping Parliamentary by-election ceramah held at Gopeng Market on Thursday, 7.5.1987 at 8.30 p.m.

In 1984, Ting Chew Peh fully supported the collusion between the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction and the Malacca Chief Minister to destroy Bukit China in Malacca in the name of commercial and housing development

The MCA is launching a very vicious campaign, accusing the DAP of betraying the Chinese community by putting up a Malay candidate, and alleging that the DAP candidate, Sdr. Ahmad Nor, is an ‘opportunist’ and untrustworthy who had joined three political parties.

The MCA knows that in the Gopeng by-election, its entire credibility is im question, as the present MCA leadership has brought the honour, self-respect and dignity of the Chinese community to the lowest ebb in Malaysian Chinese history. In order to avoid this issue, it had decided that the best defence is attack, and has resorted to amears and lies about the DAP, its leaders and our Gopeng candidate.

I want firstly to deal with the MCA allegations against Sdr. Ahmad Nor. MCA leaders like Datuk Lee Kim Sai is going round Gopeng saying that Sdr. Ahmad Nor is not fit to be the MP for Gopeng as he is ‘opportunistic’ and ‘untrustworthy’ having been in three parties already.

If. Sdr. Ahmad Nor, who was once CUEPACS President commanding the loyalty and support of 700,000 public servants, is not fit to be MP, what is Dr. Ting Chew Poh’s fitness to become MP?

The DAP is proud to have a former trade union leader of national and international stature like Sdr. Ahmad Nor to carry the rocket standard im the Gopeng by-election, for this further highlights the DAP’s identification with the labouring class of all races. MCA Ministers and leaders have never come from the working class, but mostly from the money-making class. This is why the MCA leadership never had understanding and sympathy class. This is why the MCA leadership never had understanding and sympathy with the ordinary Chinese people, as illustrated by the MCA leadership’s indifference in the first five months of the $1.5 billion co-operative finance scandal, until the Gopeng by-election compelled MCA leaders to resort to empty gestures and promises.

It is true that Sdr. Ahmad Nor has joined three political parties including the DAP. But is this because of Sdr. Ahmad Nor’s political opportunism and his search of self-advantage, position and profit from political involvement? With his trade union experience and background, especially from his position as CUEPACS President, Sdr. Ahmad Nor could have easily joined UMNO if his sole motive in politics is ‘opportunism’ and to make money or seek positions. It would not be difficult for him to enter the UMNO and Government as Deputy Minister, and now full Minister, with MCA leaders like Datuk Lee Kim Sai and others bowing to him as their leader in the way they now have to accept Anwar Ibrahim, former ABIM President, as their leader!

But Sdr. Admad Norhas his political principles and consistency, in declaring uncompromising war with the political and economic injustices, violations of democracy and human rights, corruption and abuses of power rampant under the Barisan Nasional Government.

Sdr. Ahmad Nor may be faulted in lack of political experience when he decided to widen his public commitment and service from the field of trade unionism to politics, and stumbling from one political party to another. But political inexperience is no crime or sin. In fact, Sdr. Ahmad Nor should be encouraged and commended for his persistence and stamina to stay steadfast by his political principles to oppose the injustices and inequalities of Barisan Nasional rule despite two personal disappointments, instead of being ‘mocked’ by Datuk Lee Kim Sai and other MCA leaders for ‘opportunism’. Although Sdr. Ahmad Nor has joined these political parties, he is consistent in remaining in the Opposition.

It is clear that Datuk Lee Kim Sai and the MCA leaders do not know the meaning of ‘opportunism’. Are they suggesting that political leaders who had never switched parties have never been guilty of opportunism of the most despicable kind?

Datuk Lee Kim Sai’s ‘political master’, Tan Koon Swan, had always been in one political party – like MCA. Why is he serving a two-year jail sentence in Singapore after himself pleading guilty to criminal breach of trust charges? MCA Youth Leader, Kee Yong Wee, had always been in one party, the MCA, in his whole life. Why is he awaiting trial for co-operative crimes of breach of tryst against the 40,000 KOMUDA depositors?

Datuk Lee Kim Sai accuses Sdr. Ahmad Nor as a ‘opportunist’. Between Sdr. Ahmad Nor, who had never made use of his political involvement for self-gain, and Tan Koon Swan, who had caused so much hardship to the Chinese community whether in the $1.5 billion Co-operative Scandal, the Pan E1 collapse leading to the collapse of two stock markets in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and even great losses to the EPF funds of some 5 million EPF contributors, I say Sdr. Ahmad Nor is thousand times more fit to be MP than Tan Koon Swan.

As Datuk Lee Kim Sai regards Tan Koon Swan as his ‘master’, then Sdr. Ahmad Nor is more fit to be MP than Datuk Lee Kim Sai by tens of thousands of times.

I am surprised that MCA propagandists are also spreading word that Sdr. Ahmad Nor should not be elected as Gopeng MP because he is a Malay. If a Malay is not fit to be a ‘political leader’ of Malaysians, then why have the MCA Ministers always accepted UMNO leaders as their ‘masters’?

Malaysian Chinese can even remember the most shameful and dishonourable episode in the history of the MCA and the Malaysian Chinese community during the 22-month MCA power struggle, when Datuk Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Lee Kim Sai in the Tan Koon Swan faction arranged for MCA to be run by an UMNO leader, Ghaffar Baba, as de facto MCA President. Why is it the MCA leader and propagandists think Ahmad Nor is not fit to be Gopeng MP to serve Malaysians of all races, when they do not feel shame and dishonor to have Ghaffar Baba as the acting President of MCA, which claims to be the sole representative of five million Malaysian Chinese?

Why is Neo Yee Pan’s Ph.D. is no good, while Teng Chew Peh’s Ph.D. is good?

The MCA, in fielding Ting Chew Peh, is fully exploiting his academic credentials. But I would like to ask Datuk Lee Kim Sai why some Ph.D. in MCA must be treated as ‘worthy’, while other Ph.D.s are ‘dangerous’. Or to be more specific, why is Neo Yee Pan’s Ph.D. not good enough for him to be MCA leader, while Ting Chew Peh’s Ph.D. is good enough?
If a person’s Ph.D. is all that matters in MCA, why did the present MCA leadership plunged the party into 22-month power struggle to topple the first MCA President with a Ph.D. – Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan?

In politics, what is most important is one’s political principles, conviction and commitment.

It is not generally known that in 1984, Dr. Ting Chew Peh fully supported the collusion between the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction and the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik, to destroy Bukit China in Malacca in the name of commercial and housing development.

The Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, for their own reasons, defied the entire Chinese community to submit a special plan to ‘develop’ Bukit China, which would have brought great wealth to those involved in such ‘development’.

But the price would be the destruction of the most ancient Chinese cemetery in Malaysia, and which would have signified the destruction of the ‘roots’ of the Malaysian. Chinese in the country, and would represent an unprecedented * the historic, cultural, religious and citizenship rights of the entire Malaysian Chinese community.

On such a clear issue in Bukit China involving the rights of the Malaysian Chinese community, what was Dr. Ting Chew Peh’s stand?

In an article entitled ‘Bukit China Jadi Isu Politik’ in the January 1985 issue of Dewan Masyarakat, Dr. Ting attacked the DAP for making the Bukit China question into a ‘political issue’. He did not have a word for the political motives of the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik, in wanting to level and destroy Bukit China, for this was what made Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik into an ‘instant UMNO hero’. To Dr. Ting, the DAP was the greatest culprit in the Bukit China Affair.

The DAP is not ashamed of our role in the Bukit China issue. In fact, if not for the DAP launching the nation-wide Save Bukit China campaign to mobilise the political power of the people, such as the historic 300,000 mass signature campaign to give full support to Cheng Hoon teng Temple, the Bukit China trustees, there may be no Bukit China today. The DAP is very proud and honoured of our role in saving Bukit China from abuse for whom ‘money’ is more important than roots, culture and equal * right.

If Tan Koon Sswan MCA faction had their way, the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Rahim Thamby Cik, would have fulfilled his Bukit China dream.

In his article in Dewan Rakyat, Dr. Ting, while hiding his MCA identity and support for Tan Koon Swan MCA faction, clearly expressed support for the collusion of the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction with the Malacca Chief Minister. Dr. Ting’s views on Bukit China was no different from those presented by the Tan Koon Swan faction, which was rejected by the Chinese community.

On his Bukit China stand alone, Dr. Ting does not deserve to be elected as Gopeng MP.