Speech by parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Ceramah at Tropical Inn, Johore Bahru on Thursday, 8.10.1987 at 8p.m.
DAP supports the government’s “Love Our Language CAMPAIGN” and is prepared to participate fully in the campaign if invited.
A few days ago, Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, announced the revival of the spirit of the previous National Language Month campaign, with the launching of the “Love Our Language Campaign” on December by the Prime Minister, DATUK Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. He said the objective of the “Love Our Language Campaign” is to promote Bahasa Malaysia as the language of communication and national unity in Malaysia.
DAP fully supports the government’s “Love Bahasa Malaysia” Campaign, and is prepared to fuly participate in the campaign activities of invited by the GOVERNMENT. To make the campaign a national success, reaching put to all communities, the Government should have invited the participation of all political parties and full cross section of civic organizations and al communities to participate in this campaign.
I do not know why the GOVERNMENT is confining itself to the component parties of Barisan National in this campaign, which will guarantee that it will be a partial but we in the DAP offer out co-operation to make this campaign a full success despite being ‘left out in the cold’.
The DAP is a Malaysian, patriotic, and nationalistic party, which fully supports the Constitution of Malaysia, and its provision of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language and sole official language. BAHASA Malaysia is the language of communications for Malaysians of all diverse racial origins, so that it could be the language of national unity.
However, there are short-sighted and narrow-minded politicians who think that the only way to make Bahasa Malaysia as the language of communication and national unity in Malaysia is to suppress and eliminate the other languages in the country.
These extremist politicians have failed to understand Malaysia’s unique character, and the basis of the Malaysian Constitution. They failed to understand that Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution, which stipulated that Malay shall be the National Language and sole official language, also guaranteed the free use and study of Chinese and Tamil languages except for official purposes.
The others of the Malaysian Constitution clearly understood that while any nation needs a language of common communication for all its citizens, in order to achieve national unity, this must be done by promoting the common and national usage of the Bahasa Malaysia without undermining the status, use and position of the other languages. It is clear that the fathers of the Malaysian Constitution understood that if Bahasa Malaysia is promoted as a language eliminated, then the objective of national unity will not only failed to be realized, but the opposite will occur: creating even greater national division and racial tension.
We have enough examples in the world where a common language is insufficient to create national unity in many but this seems to be lost many political leaders who regard themselves as the leaders of the nation.
I suggest that the government campaign to get Malaysian to love Bahasa Malaysia should be widened to love other Malaysian language as well, like Chinese and Tamil languages which have also become Malaysian language. We must wipe out the attitude that to love Bahasa Malaysia, we must hate Chinese and Tamil languages and want them progressively eliminated. A Malaysian is not a true Malaysian unless he could imbibe the spirit of Article 152 of the Malaysia Constitution to love Bahasa Malaysia as the language of communication and national unity, as wel as other languages as integral part of the fabric of Malaysia life. Those who love Bahasa Malaysia but hate other language is not a true Malaysian, for a true Malaysian will love Bahasa Malaysia as the national language and sole official language, and love other languages as languages whose existence and role is guaranteed by the constitution.