By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Sunday, August 23, 1987:
Call on Prime Minister to give serious consideration to the proposal by Sultan of Perak and elder statesmen for review of the Constitution
The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, said at the opening of the two-day conference on The Malaysian Constitution After 30 Years organised by the Law Faculty of University of Malaya yesterday that it was time to review the Constitution to incorporate the philosophy of the Rukunegara.
Last week, Tunku Abdul Rahman and elder statesmen at the ALIRAN conference on the Malaysian Constitution also called for a Constitutional review to reflect the “new social realities and aspirations of Malaysians of all communities for a truly just and democratic Malaysian nation.”
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, should give serious consideration to the proposal by Sultan Azlan Shah and elder statesmen for review of the Malaysian Constitution after 30 years of Merdeka.
It may be after review, the consensus is that there should be no amendments to the Constitution, but there is no reason why the government should frightened of a constitutional review, or to accuse those who propose such a review as a group of intellectuals trying to make use of former leaders to gain power.
I will move a motion in Parliament when Parliament meets on Oct. 12 for the two-month budget session for the establishment of a Constitutional Review Commission, and I hope Dr. Mahathir would agree to allow time for a parliamentary debate on 30 years’ of our Constitution.
Lim Chong Eu has totally misunderstood and misread the meaning of the DAP popular votes in the general elections
I am surprised by the intervention of the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, in the current debate on review to the Constitution, when he said that the DAP’s campaign to deny a two-third majority to the Barisan Nasional and the support DAP secured in the last general elections showed that the DAP did not want any constitutional amendments.
He has totally misunderstood and misread the meaning of the DAP’s popular votes in the last general elections. The people do not want the Barisan Nasional to use its two-third majority to ram through constitutional amendments in utter disregard of the rights of the people and the interests of the nation, but this does not mean that the people will oppose constitutional amendments which will make the Constitution the fountain of freedom, justice, equality and harmony in the country.
In fact, as the Constitution has been amended in over a thousand places in the past 30 years, there is an urgent need to amend the Constitution to undo the harm wrought to the original document in the past three decades.
DAP to let D.P. Vijandran to sue the University of Malaya Senate on the elective course issue and will give him all necessary support
Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, Royal Professor Ungku Aziz’s statement yesterday that the university has no intention of reviewing its senate ruling on the elective course issue will only harden attitudes and positions, aggravating racial polarization inside the campus and outside, when the University Senate should find ways to take the ‘heat’ out of the issue.
Ungku Aziz should come out of the ‘ivory tower’ and realise that objections to the University of Malaya Senate ruling on elective course is not an attempt by ‘outsiders’ to run the affairs of the university. On the contrary, it is because the University of Malaya Senate has trespassed on ‘policy’ issues decided by the Malaysian Constitution with regard to the guaranteed place of Chinese and Tamil languages.
Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, had accused the DAP of hypocrisy for talking about academic freedom and yet clamouring that academicians’ decisions be changed to suit them, and this ha been given prominence both by Star and New Straits Times.
He had even asked rhetorically: “Since when does the DAP determine what courses or subjects should be taught in universities.”
There is nothing hypocritically in the DAP stand that the University of Malaya elective courses should have their previous medium of instruction restored, for we are not trying to determine what courses or subjects should be taught at universities. What we are trying to do is to prevent the University of Malaya Senate from trespassing into policy areas already decided and entrenched in the Constitution of Malaysia, and which has nothing whatsoever to do with academic freedom.
I would ask Anwar Ibrahim whether the Education Ministry, the UMNO Youth or even the UMNO itself, would keep silent, if the University of Malaya Senate decide that for the next five years, the medium of instruction for the Faculty of Medicine be in English – on the ground that the University of Malaya has the academic freedom to make such a decision? It is Anwar Ibrahim and not the DAP which is being hypocritical on the University of Malaya elective courses issue.
I urge Ungku Aziz to realise that so long as the University of Malaya elective course issue is not resolved, so long will it be the source of racial polarization inside and outside the campus.
MIC Youth leader and Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, D.P.Vijendran, had announced early this month that the MIC Youth would file by the end of this month its suit against the University of Malaya Senate over its ruling on the medium of instruction for elective courses.
The DAP will give full support to D.P.Vijendran’s legal action, and will give him all necessary support. Our only hope that he will not back out in the end. There is a week to go before the end of August, and we hope to read of the MIC’s legal action before the week is out.