Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a Kuantan DAP Branch dinner held in Kuantan on Friday, 3rd August, 1990 at 9pm.
After causing the rights of the Chinese to set back by 30 steps, is the MCA to ‘set off again’ in the 1990s for the rights of the Chinese to set back another 30 steps
The theme of Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik’s Presidential speech at the 37th MCA General Assembly last week was “MCA: Towards Another Set-Off Era”.
The people have a right to ask Liong Sik: The MCA is to set off again towards what and
Is the MCA in the 1990s going to set off again towards another Co-operative Finance Scandal,
another KSM scandal, another Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd. Scandal, another Kamunting scandal, another running away to Australia during the Operation Lalang scandal, another scandal of top MCA leaders including its President going to jail for criminal offences?
Is the MCA in the 1990s going to set off again towards another repetition of the 1961
Education Act Section 21(2) betrayal, another Merdeka University betrayal; another betrayal
in agreeing to the one-language, one culture policy; another betrayal in agreeing to the National
Culture policy; another betrayal like the Selangor Islam¬ic Law Administration Enactment?
After 41 years of MCA, particularly in the post-Merdeka years, the rights of the Malaysian Chinese
had suffered one setback and retreat after another. Say the rights of the Malaysian Chinese had
retreated 30 steps since Merdeka. is the MCA, under Liong Sik, “setting off” again so that the
Malaysian Chinese will lose another 30 steps of their rights in Malaysia?
Why is it under the MCA leadership, the rights of the Malay¬sia Chinese have been an
unending story of relentless retreat? The answer is very simple.
As the MCA leaders have openly admitted, although they are in Government and have
Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Executive-Councillor, they are ‘in the family but do
not share in the power’.
The long-term result of ‘in the family but do not share in the power’ is the relentless retreat
and setback of the rights of the Malaysian Chinese community in the country.
This is why although the MCA claimed that they were one of the achievers of Independence for
Malaya from the British colonial rule in 1957, and had enjoyed a status of parity ‘whether
standing or sitting’ during Merdeka to decide together how to slice up the Malay¬sian loaf to
be equally enjoyed by all communities and sectors, 33 years after Merdeka, the MCA leaders had
been pushed off from the table, to under the table to wait for ‘bread crumbs’ to be thrown at them.
From mainstream politics, the MCA leaders have been reduced to marginal politics where a
relationship of equals have been trans¬formed into a relationship between superior and inferiors.
This is most vividly exposed during the 13-day abortive Ling-Lee power struggle for the post of
MCA President. MCA National Vice President and Deputy Education Minister, Woon See Chin,
told Pontian MCA that Liong Sik is no more able to reach the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to discuss or resolve issues, and to meet Dr. Mahathir, Liong Sik
had to be accompanied by the other MCA Ministers as a joint MCA Ministerial request.
It would, have been totally inconceivable during the early post-Merdeka years for Tun Tan Siew Sin
to be unable to meet the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and had to mobilise, all the other
MCA Ministers to accompany him to give him strength, courage and excuse for a meeting with the
This is the unavoidable result of a ‘in the family, but do not share in the power’ relationship, and
things can only get worse. So long as MCA’s role and status in the Barisan Nasional is one of
‘in the family but do not share in the power’, then when the MCA sets off again in the 1990s,
as declared by Liong Sik last week, it could only to retreat even further and to lose more rights.
The marginal politics of MCA will become even more marginalised. It may reach the stage where
the MCA President can only get to see the Prime Minister if there is a resolution to that effect by the MCA General Assembly!
This is one of the rare and revealing insights about the politics of marginalisation of the MCA
which the public knew nothing about until the Ling-Lee power struggle last month.
There were of course other rare and illuminating insights into the working and character of the
MCA leadership, particularly from the numerous grave allegations made by MCA Ministers and
Deputy Ministers questioning the integrity of Liong Sik – which we would deal with at another time.