MCA must die if the Malaysian Chinese are to live!

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Gopeng Parliamentary by-election ceramah at Kopisan on Saturday, 9.5.1987 at 8.20 p.m.

MCA must die if the Malaysian Chinese are to live!

One of the main MCA arguments why the voters of Gopeng must vote MCA is that the MCA cannot afford to lose another parliamentary seat, as it has only 17 MPs inclusive of Gopeng.

MCA Ministers and leaders tell the Gopeng Chinese that if the MCA loses Gopeng, it would lose all credibility in the Barisan Nasional Government, and that this will be the worse for the five million Malaysian Chinese. By this argument, not only the MCA, but the Malaysian Chinese cannot afford to see MCA lose Gopeng.

I completely reject this argument. MCA’s loss in Gopeng will not materially affect MCA’s credibility, either in the Barisan Nasional Government or in the country, as it has lost all credibility after the 1986 general elections.

The UMNO leaders had lost all respect and regard for the MCA, and this was why MCA was often the target of jokes by UMNO leaders, as to how MCA Minister had to run to save UMNO seats to get elected, or how UMNO Deputy President, Ghaffar Baba, was once the Acting MCA President.

As a result, the MCA has no more credibility to lose.

In fact, I believe that if the Malaysian Chinese are to live, and live honourably, the MCA must die! Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, the MCA cannot change its basic character of always exploiting or sacrificing the Chinese masses for the interests of its leaders.

In the August 1986 general elections, 80 per cent of the Malaysian Chinese rejected the MCA, and this was why the MCA leaders and Ministers had to run to UMNO seats to get elected on Malay votes.

The MCA only 17 Parliamentary seats, but it continued to have four full Ministers and six Deputy Ministers and one Parliamentary Secretary. Whether MCA wins or loses Gopeng, it will continue to have the present number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary.

Why did 80 per cent of the Malaysian Chinese reject the MCA in the 1986 general elections? This is because the Malaysian Chinese want to show the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and MCA that they reject the Barisan Nasional’s political, economic, educational, cultural, religious and nation-building policies; and to demand for change in these policies.

A MCA which has the interest of the Malaysian Chinese at heart would have used its defeat in the general elections to bargain with Dr. Mahathir for changes in the nation-building policies, to restore political equality, economic justice, democratic rights and cultural liberties. A dedicated, principled MCA would have told Dr. Mahathir that the one million voters who supported the DAP to elect 24 DAP MPs have spoken loud and clear for government policy changes, that their view must be headed, and that it is meaningless for the MCA to continue to have four Ministers, six Deputy Ministers and one Parliamentary Secretary if the Government is not prepared to carry out a wide-ranging review and change of government policies.

The MCA leaders however were not interested in the voice of the 80 per cent of the Malaysian Chinese voters, or using the general elections results as a leverage to demand greater political, economic, cultural and citizenship equality for the Chinese, but only in their Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial positions.

This was why the MCA leadership gave full and unqualified support to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who said after the general elections results were known on the dawn of August 5, 1987, that the Malaysian people fully supported the Barisan Nasional and there was no need to change any government policies.

Dr. Mahathir was hoping that the Malaysian Chinese would not true to their pattern of electoral behavior, switching their support from one party to another with each general elections, and that in the next general elections, the MCA could get back Chinese support solely on ‘sympathy’ and ‘pity’ votes.

This would suit Dr. Mahathir fine, for it would prove him right that there was no need to change Barisan Nasional government policies.

Dr. Mahathir has long-term political goals and calculations. If the Malaysian Chinese are to achieve their political goals for political equality, economic justice, cultural freedom, equal democratic and citizenship rights, then they must have long-term political goals and calculations as well.

A victory for the MCA in the Gopeng by-election will under the 1986 general elections results and a setback to the great political strength, solidarity established in the last general elections, and be against the very interests of the 80 per cent of the Chinese voters who wanted change in government policies.