Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, on Gopeng by-election Nomination Day on Thursday, 7.5.1987
Sdr. Ahmad Nor’s candidature represents the DAP’s serious commitment to unite all Malaysians regardless of race in a common political struggle to fight all forms of political and economic injustices, violation of democracy and human rights, corruption and abuses of power
DAP’s candidature of former CUEPACS President, Sdr. Ahmad Nor, in the Gopeng by-election represents the DAP’s serious commitment to unite all Malaysians, regardless of race, in a common political struggle to fight all forms of political and economic injustices, violation of democracy and human rights, corruption and abuses of power.
In the 1986 general elections, the DAP won 24 Parliamentary and 37 State Assembly seats, the greatest number in DAP history. However, if the electoral system in Malaysia had been more fair and democratic, the DAP would have won at least double this number of parliamentary and state assembly seats. For instance, UMNO with 1.5 million voters won 83 parliamentary seats, while the DAP which secured 1 million voters, only won 24 parliamentary seats.
Be that as it may, after the 1986 general elections, the DAP leadership, particularly at the Cameron Highlands Leadership Confernece in early March, planned for the future of the party, people and nation, especially the important period of Malaysia in the 1990s.
We do not regard the DAP’s victories in the general elections last August as victories for the Chinese, or Indians, but as victories for Malaysians in their demand for change, equality, justice, democracy, human rights, and a clean, efficient and trustworthy government!
The DAP is a multi-racial Malaysian party dedicated to the building of a united Malaysian nation and society, to take up the cause of all Malaysians, whether Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban or Kadazan, who are oppressed or downtrodden, and to restore to them human dignity, and sense of worth as a Malaysian.
In the last 20 years, two problems had hampered the DAP’s efforts to establish its full multi-racial identity and credentials, firstly, the politics of race and the poison systematically spread by the DAP’s political enemies describing the DAP as anti-Malay party; and secondly, our concentration in the urban areas to build a political base for party existence and expansion.
Although in the twenty years, the DAP has been seen more as an urban-based non-Malay party, the DAP had never deviated from our multi-racial commitments and objectives; This is why since the first general elections contested by DAP in 1969 we had Malay Assemblymen elected on the DAP platform. But until now, we have not succeeded in getting a Malay MP elected on DAP platform.
In the Gopeng by-election, with the candidature of Sdr. Ahmad Nor as candidate, the DAP is attempting a breakthough into fallen multi-racial politics in Malaysia, which is urgently needed not only for the DAP, but for the Malaysian people and nation if Malaysia in the 1990s is not going to bring even greater division, national disaffection and a deep and abiding crisis of confidence and nationhood.
Is the DAP too ahead of the times in Malaysia in trying to make a breakthrough in fuller multi-racial politics in fielding Sdr. Ahmad Nor as candidate in Gopeng.
I know the MCA, in anticipation of Sdr. Ahmad Nor’s candidature, had already started the highly communalistic and irresponsible allegation that the DAP, and I particular, had become anti-Chinese, that I am being made used of by some in the conspiracy of ‘using Chinese to control Chinese.’ We will also be accused of being ‘anti-Indian’.
The DAP leadership, in making this decision to attempt a breakthrough to fuller multi-racial politics, is aware of the risks and dangers involved. When UMNO’s first President, Dato Onn Jaffer, advocated multi-racial politics in 1951, he was accused of being ‘anti-Malay’.
We know we have not only to convince the people, but even all our party members. This was why yesterday, we had problems with Gopeng DAP members to the extant that they protested strongly against Ahmad Nor’s candidature.
My record, and that of the DAP, for the last 21 years is for all to see. We are not ‘anti-Chinese’ or ‘anti-Indian’. We are full-blooded Malaysians who want justice, equality for all Malaysians regardless of race, and want, for the good DAP as well as the Malaysian people, achieve a more broadly- based support by reaching out to the Malays in Malaysia. We are prepared to try to reach out and make a breakthrough to achieve Malay support and and pay the price of any such failure, then not to try at all. We owe it to the DAP, the DAP supporters and the Malaysian nation to try to unite all Malaysians regardless of race in a common political endeavour to fight against all forms of political and economic injustices, violation of democracy and human rights, corruption and abuses of power.
We must reject the the is that will be the main campaign theme of the MCA in the by-election, that only a Chinese can serve the Chinese. If only a Chinese can serve the Chinese, and none other, than bow come MCA is banking on Indian and Malay support?
We must never forget that a Chinese could also betray the Chinese, as amply illustrated either by Chinese history or by the politics of the Malaysian Chinese in Malaysia.
The MCA, for instance, which professes to champion the five million Malaysian Chinese, is chiefly history or by the politics of the Malaysian Chinese in Malaysia.
Who created the $1.5billion Co-operative Finance Scandal? None other than the MCA politicians. Taking into account that the $1.5 billion Co-operative Finance scandal is the greatest financial catastrophe to befall the Malaysian Chinese community in history, the MCA must be adjudged the greatest enemy to the ordinary Malaysian Chinese as over 50 per cent of the Chinese community had been badly affected by the co-operative crisis.
The MCA President, Datuk Ling Liong Sik, said yesterday that he had been authorized by the MCA Central Committee to announce the MCA party stand on the co-operative issue, that it strongly believe that the depositors are innocent, and the Government must arrive at a fair and just solution to the problem. It said that MCA’s stand is that all depositors should get back every ringgit they have deposited in all the 24 DTCs through instalments, at the latest by early 1989.
This must be the most extraordinary party statement in Malaysian political history. Isn’t this a bald admission that in the past nine months, the MCA Central Committee had not met to seriously discuss the plight of the 588000 depositors. Why did the MCA Central Committee come out with a stand on the co-operatives were frozen last August?
The MCA Central Committee should last year instructed all MCA Ministers to get the Cabinet to announce the government’s guarantee of the $1.5 billion deposits on a basis of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ return. It is rather late in the day for the MCA Central Committee to state its party stand on ;full refund’ when MCA Ministers had agreed to a Cabinet decision which rejected a ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund as I had proved. Datuk Lee Kim Sai did not realize that the Government White Paper contained the Cabinet position, exposing the MCA Ministers’ hypocrisy on the issue.
It is indeed a great political marvel that nine months after the co-operative crisis, just because of Gopeng by-election, MCA Central Committee suddenly discovered that the 588000 depositors are ‘innocent’. But the MCA’s organ in the past year supported a UMNO Ministers in stating that the 588000 depositors do not deserve any help or sympathy because they were greedy for high interests in the co-operative finance branches.
In any event, when did a MCA Central Committee statement carry any weight in Malaysian politics. We have seen in the past few days that government servants have utter contempt for directives from MCA Ministers or Deputy Ministers.
The MCA’s record, therefore, is one of unending deception of the Chinese community, and the $1.5 billion co-operative scandal is the best example. In June 1986, Datuk Lee Kim Sai assured all co-operative depositors that their deposits were absolu tely safe, have full legal protection, and need not worry about their money. What is the difference in the credibility of the statement on full refund on the co-operative deposits made by Datuk Dr. Ling compared with the empty assurance by Datuk Lee Kim Sai last June, or his empty denial last week that MCA had supported a Cabinet decision rejecting the ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund.
The Gopeng by-election in fact should be an occasion for the voters of Gopeng to pass judgement on the MCA, for there can be no doubt that the dignity, self-respect and honour of the Chinese community had never be brought to such a depth as now by the present MCA leadership.
The Chinese community in Malaysia have reached a stage where because of the MCA’s total lack of credibility, morality and principle, that they have become a laughing –stock for the other rases. If the Chinese community want to regain their honour, self-respect and dignity, then the MCA must be decisively rejected by the Chinese community in Gopeng.
What is the meaning of a MCA victory in Gopeng? If after all the political, more and economic scandals of the MCA leadership in particular and the Barisan Nasional in general, MCA can still win, then the Malaysian Chinese community cen never regain the respect of the other communities.
What is the meaning of a victory for DAP and Ahmad Nor in Gopeng?
It will mean a new breakthrough in Malaysian politics, where Malaysians can begin to move away from the politics of race. It will mean the DAP has succeeded in our first step in sending out a message to the nation that the DAP deserve support from all races, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans.
MCA’s victory in Gopeng only brings despair to Malaysians, for it means a return to the scandals, corruption, abuses of power, betrayal of the rights of the people as bas become rampant under the present government.
DAP’s victory represent hope for Malaysians, that we can break out of the present politic all restraints through a new political breakthrough where the DAP will be able to more effectively fight for the basic rights of all Malaysians in the 1990s.
The DAP’s Gopeng candidature is a brave political experient, aimed at the long-term struggle of the rights of all Malaysians. We call on the Gopeng voters to support such a political move by DAP, to join the DAP in looking towards the future instead going back with MCA to the past of scandals, corruption and betrayal of the people’s rights.