DAP calls for removal of University Vice Chancellors who actively aggravate racial polarisation by their chauvinistic and insensitive statement

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung. Lim Kit Siang, at Johore DAP State leaderships training course held at Kulai on Sunday, 27.9.87 at 10 a.m.

DAP calls for removal of University Vice Chancellors who actively aggravate racial polarisation by their chauvinistic and insensitive statement.

Two days ago, Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba, expressed concern at the worsening ethnic relations in the university campuses and announced that he would meet vice chancellors of local universities to discuss racial polarization among undergraduates.

It is at least encouraging that the top government leaders are admitting that racial polarization in the local campuses have probably reached its worst stage in the last 30 years of Malaysian history, although I have great doubts whether mere discussion with the vice chancellors would contribute anything to the resolution of this serious problem.

This is because firstly, if the vice chancellors are responsible and far-sighted administrators of the local universities as they should be, they should have been the ones to express public concern at his problem, and calling for help from the government and the to check the worsening ethnic relations among university undergraduates.

If Vice Chancellors act as if they are not aware about the magnitude of the racial polarization in out campuses, this that something is lacking in the qualities of leadership of our vice chancellors in Malaysia.

Secondly, there is no doubt that the worsening racial polarization in the Malaysian universities is in some cases caused by the chauvinistic and insensitive speeches and statements by certain Vice Chancellors. The most recent example is the UTM Vice Chancellors, Ainuddin Wahid, who in the Universiti Technologi Malaysia convocation speech, criticised the government for the 55:45 ratio for intake of bumiputra and non-bumiputra university students. He want less university places for the non-Malay. The government has not taken any action against Ainuddin Wahid although he trespassed ino policy area, and made statements which could only worsen racial polarization among the undergraduates.

If the universities have become hot-beds of racial polarization, then the Vice Chancellors must bear a great degree of responsibility. The problem of racial poloarisation in the universities, cannot, therefore, be resolved by the discussion with Vice Chancellors for the simple reason that the Vice Chancellors are themselves part of the problem of racial polarization.

In fact, the government should remove Vice Chancellors who actively aggravate racial polarization by their chauvinistic and insensitive pronouncements.

Thirdly, a major cause of racial polarization in the universities is the insensitive decisions of the university authorities which trample on the language, cultural and religious sensitivities of the races. A god example is the University of Malaya Senate decision to abolish Chinese and Tamil language as medium of instruction for optionalsubject. In fact, this Senate decision of University of Malaya has resulted in the raising of temperatures not only in the University of Malaya campus, but throughout the country.

This is a good illustration where the racial polarization in the comouses is not only influenced by polarization in the larger Malaysian society, but where it aggravate racial polarization in the larger Malaysian society.

This brings me to the fourth reason about my doubts whether the concern of Deputy Prime Minister would produce any concrete results.

This is because if racial polarization in the universities are to be checked and reduced, then he must first check and halt Barisan Nasional leaders, especially those from UMNO and UMNO Youth, from their competition in making extremist and insensitive demands and speeches hurting the language, ethnic, cultural and religious sensitivities of the other communities.

However, if Ghaffar Baba is sincere and serious in wanting to do something about the racial polarization in the universities, the DAP is prepared to extend the government our fullest support and co-operation.

How can MCA get ‘effective’ MPs and Assemblymen when their leaders, who are Ministers and Deputy Ministers, are so ‘ineffective’ in Cabinet and Government?

MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, said in Sungei Patani that MCA vant its elected representatives to be ‘effective’, and will ask for their resignation if they fail in their duties. He said MCA does not want ‘passengers’ among its MPs, SAs and local councilors.

Malaysians must ask, how can MCA get ‘efective’ MPs and Assemblymen when their leaders, who are Ministers and Deputy Minister, are so ‘ineffective’ in Cabinet and Government. In fact, the MCA Minister and Deputy Ministers are the worst batch of ‘passengers’ in the entire MCA party history!

Before Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik expect his statement to have credibility, let the MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers prove their own effectiveness in the following cases:

1. Take a stand in Cabinet to oppose the North-South Highway privatisation contract to UEM in the public interest of Malaysians for 30 years.

2. Demand that all cases of conflict-of-interest situations involving Ministers, Deputy Ministers and top political leaders mixing politics with business should be brought to court on corruption charges;

3. End the sending of those unversed in Chinese language on promotion to Chinese primary schools as assistant headmaster and senior assistants, which wil undermine and alter the character of Chinese primary schools and resolve the University of Malaya elective course issue.

4. Halt the influx of illegal Indonesia immigrants into Malaysia, and getting the government to repatriate the one-million illegal immigrants, to protect the life, property, rights and future of Malaysian;

5. Honour MCA’s pledge of ‘dollar-for-dollar’ refund to the 588,000 co-operative depositors, instead of a fifty-cent refund for which no detailed plans had been announced.

If Datuk Dr. Ling Kiong Sik cannot resolve these five and other great issues of the people, then he should stop talking about ‘effective’ MCA MPs and Assemblymen, for there is the greater problem of ‘ineffective’ MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers with their ‘passenger’ mentality.