30th Merdeka Day Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, on 30th August 1987.
Call for a Summit Meeting of top political leaders of all political parties to defuse the escalating racial polarisation in the country and to concentrate on national economic recovery
Malaysians celebrate the 30th Merdeka anniversary with great apprehension and foreboding for the country – poised to enter the 1990s in another 2 years – has never been under greater stress and strain for so long as at present.
A few days ago, Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, even warned that the current atmosphere appeared similar to the mood prevailing just before the May 13, 1969 riots, and if not arrested, national development might be endangered.
In recent weeks and months, highly divisive issues of language, education and culture have suddenly come to the forefront of political controversy seeking to overshadow serious economic problems of unemployment and recovery; and the equally serious problem of integrity and corruption in public life as well as scandals like the $63 billion North South Highway Scandal.
The campuses in our local universities have become cauldron of racial polarization and last week the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob blamed the plunge in the stock market on the “heated” political atmosphere.
Reasoned calls for review of 30 years of the Constitution and nation-building suddenly became regarded as an organised conspiracy to destroy the Constitution and the elected system of Government.
Malaysians seem to have lost the art to communicate and to reach out to each other. For instance, although the country is confronted with a myriad of highly divisive issues, the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council could not meet – and has no intention of meeting – for the component parties to thrash out these issues behind closed doors.
As an important step to defuse the escalating racial polarization in the country, and to enable the nation and people to concentrate on the task of national economic recovery, I call for a summit meeting of top political leaders of all political parties in a closed session.
Let leaders of all political parties demonstrate to Malaysians that whatever their political differences, they have one overriding common cause: that they all love Malaysia more than anything else, are concerned at the escalating racial polarization in the country and are prepared to rise above party politics to find a solution.
Let the 30th anniversary of Merdeka be an occasion for all Malaysians to take a few steps backwards, join in a common vision of Malaysia in the next 30 years, and together seek to defuse the worsening ethic relations in the country to concentrate on the task of national economic recovery by rediscovering the art to communicate and to reach out to each other at a round-table conference of all political parties.
Let the 30th National Day mark the first step in the sacred task of national reconciliation and national unity and not another lurch towards greater national division and polarization.