Five questions for Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Pantai Remis on Saturday, 2nd June 1990 at 11 a.m.

Five questions for Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik

The Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, said in Bruas early this week that he would like to re-contest in Bruas, but is worried about the split of the Malay votes.

Keng Yaik has good reason to worry about his chances of re-election if he re-contest in Bruas, for in the last general elections, his majority was only 1,015 votes, and Keng Yaik’s victory was primarily because of the Malay votes.

With the emergence of Semangat 46, Keng Yaik has lost the decisive Malay support which ensured his victory in 1986.

In fact, Keng Yaik has reason to worry no only about his own parliamentary, but also whether UMNO Baru and Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed could keep their hold on government power. This is because last week, Keng Yaik predicted that PAS could win as many as 25 MPs in the next general elections, which means Keng Yaik was thinking a political scenario where Dr. Mahathir has lost power!

Keng Yaik now says that his re-election if he re-contests if he re-contests in Bruas is now dependent on the Chinese voters.

When elections and by-elections are around the corner, not only Gerakan, but also UMNO Baru Ministers, can say and do all sorts of fantastic things.

There is for instance the Information Minister and UMNO Secretary-General, Datuk Mahamed Rahmat, who was notorious for his talk about non-Malays as ‘kaum pendatang’ in 1986 and 1987, who suddenly claimed that ‘he is part of the Chinese society’. Mohamed Rahmat claimed that his mother is a Hokkien and his wife is a Teochew, and therefore he is also a member of the Chinese society.

It is no surprise therefore if Keng Yaik has suddenly discovered the virtues and importance of the Chinese, either in Bruas of other parts of the country, because of his need for Chinese votes.

But whether Keng Yaik deserves Chinese support should not be based on whether Keng Yaik wants to follow Mohamed Rahmat’s foot-steps, but on his record to fight for the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Malaysian Chinese.

To assist the Bruas voters on this matter, I want to pose five questions to Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik:

Firstly, if Keng Yaik is so concerned about the welfare of the voters in his constituency, why has he done nothing get this Fisheries Act amended to remove the oppressive and draconian provision on the mandatory confiscation of fishing vessels for offences under the Act.

Secondly, Keng Yaik has attacked the DAP as a Chinese chauvinistic party. Keng Yaik should list out the issues which the DAP espouse which he said made us a ‘Chinese chauvinistic party’? Offhand, is it because the DAP is opposed to any change in the character of Chinese primary schools, or our opposition to the posting of those unversed in Mandarin to senior positions in Chinese primary schools or the abolition of Boards of Management?

Is Keng Yaik aware that by attacking the DAP as a ‘Chinese chauvinistic party’, he is doing a great disservice to the five million Chinese, for this would give UMNO Baru Government an excuse not to respect the wishes and aspirations of the Chinese community, on the Gerakan ground that all these are ‘Chinese chauvinistic demands’?

Thirdly, would Keng Yaik agree that all Gerakan and MCA parliamentary and state assembly candidates in the next general elections do not deserve any support from the Chinese, if the Barisan Nasional government fails to honour its 1986 general elections pledge resign as a Barisan Nasional Minister if Section 21(2) is not repealed before the next general elections?

Fourthly, would Keng Yaik agree that in the new Education Bill 1990, Section 26(A) of the Education Act 1961 on the abolition of the Chinese primary school Boards of Management should also be re-pealed, just like Section 21(2)? Is it not true that Keng Yaik supported the enactment of Section 26(A) on the dissolution of Boards of Management in Parliament in 1972?

Fifthly, what has Keng Yaik achieved to protect and promote Chinese education and Chinese primary schools in Malaysia in the 1990 Education Bill. Wouldn’t Keng Yaik agree that it is most undemocratic and unfair for the Barisan Nasional to use the Official Secrets Act to ‘cover up’ the Bill and not to allow the public ample time to study and debate it, before it has debated and passed in Parliament?