Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the emergency meeting of 24 DAP MPs and DAP Assemblymen from Malacca, Selangor and Penang help at Parliament House on Wednesday, 14.10.1987 at 2 p.m.
Directive to all DAP MPs, Assemblymen and leaders to help ensure that the three-day school boycott in 46 Chinese primary schools is orderly, peaceful and triumph of the democratic right of the parents to protest
At the Tien Hou Temple Chinese organisations/ political parties mass protest meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday against the promotion of non-Chinese educated teachers assistant headmasters and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools, I suggested that the leaders of the three parties, in particular Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, MPs and Assemblymen, of MCA, Gerakan and DAP, should visit all the affected schools on boycott to give support and be in the forefront of the protest.
DAP is implementing this proposal, and in the next three days, DAP MPs, Assemblymen, national and state leaders will visit the 46 affected Chinese primary school on boycott, not only to give support, but to be in the forefront such protest.
The party is also issuing a directive to all DAP MPs, Assemblymen, national and state leader to help ensure the three-day school boycott in the affected Chinese primary schools in four states is orderly, peaceful and triumph of the democratic right of the parents to protest against unreasonable and arbitrary action by the Education Ministry.
I would urge the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, to issue a directive to all police in the four states concerned to act with restraint and to respect the right of the parents to peacefully register their protest against the Chinese primary schools promotion issue which threatened the character and identity of Chinese primary schools.
When after six weeks, the parent, through political parties inside and outside the government, Board of Management, Chinese educational and other community organizations, failed to get the Education Ministry to agree to resolve the issue, then there should be avenue and opportunity for parents to directly voice their unhappiness and even protest by withdrawing their children form schools for three days. This is democracy in action.
Boycott not anti-Malay, anti-Malay rights, anti-Bahasa Malaysia and government should not allow irresponsible political elements to turn this into a communal issue and incite Malay-Chinese hatred
I have made a special emphasis in my speech in Parliament on Monday to declare that the three-day boycott of the affected Chinese primary schools is not anti-Malay, anti-Malay rights or anti-Bahasa Malaysia.
We know from the events of the pass few days that there are irresponsible political elements who want to exploit this issue by turning it into a communal question and even to incite Malay-Chinese hatred. The government must be firm and stop these irresponsible political elements, many of whom are political desperadoes to face an uncertain political future, from rebuilding their political fortunes by pandering emotions.
I had over a week ago advised UMNO leaders to stay out of this issue, for it does not concern the Malays rights, status, privileges or dignity, and they do not really understand the dispute in question.
Chinese primary schools will welcome and support promotion of Malay and Indian teachers Chinese-educated qualifications
This is not a communal question but solely on the character of Chinese primary schools. The DAP and the Chinese primary schools will welcome and support the transfer and promotion even as headmaster of Chinese primary school any Malay or Indian teacher with Chinese-educated qualifications.
As the Tien Hou Temple mass protest meeting on the Chinese primary schools promotion issue was not aimed at challenging the rights, privileges, status or dignity of the Malays, but to preserve the character and identity of Chinese primary schools, it is most unjustifiable and unwarranted for UMNO Youth to take umbrage by wanting to have hold a counter public rally at Sultan Sulaiman Club padang in Kuala Lumpur in Saturday.
If UMNO Youth goes ahead with its public rally on Saturday, leading to a racial confrontation, frightening away the investors the Prime Minister and other Ministers had worked so hard to attract, then UMNO Youth Leader, Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak and the UMNO Youth must bear full responsibility for all the consequences.
I concede that the target of protests, Anwar Ibrahim, is UMNO Vice President. But the protest is directed at him not because he is UMNO Vice President, but because he is Education Minister who did not want to immediately resolve this issue. Similarly, the protest is also directed at the Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin – not because he is MCA, or Chinese but because he is Deputy Education Minister.
We must every issue be turned into a communal issue?
The future of Malaysia and her 15 million people cannot be held to ransom by the irresponsible and unscrupulous political ambitions of one man or a group of persons, and the time have come for government leaders to act firmly to stop those who want to turn an issue on the character of the Chinese primary schools into a racial confrontation.