by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 21st August 1990:
DAP reiterates that it supports Bahasa Malaysia as the national and sole official language.
It is understandable that the Barisan Nasional parties particularly its component parties in Peninsular Malaysia like UMNO, MCA and Gerakan are very worried about the new political impetus provided by the entry of 27 educationists and human rights activists into the DAP last Saturday, for this will give a dramatic boost to the movement to strengthen the Opposition Front and work towards a two-coalition system.
This worry and even fear of the UMNO, MCA and Gerakan about their ability to maintain their
two-thirds majority in Parliament however are no reason why their leaders should embark on a deliberate campaign of lies to arouse communal feelings, especially by making baseless allegations.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, started on this campaign with his allegation that the entry
of the 27 educationists and human rights activists into the DAP can lead to a Malay-Chinese confrontation, when the Joint Statement by the 27 was an eloquent appeal for a new politics in the nineties which is based on multi¬racial support of the people for democracy, human rights, socio-eco¬nomic justice and national unity, and a repudiation of racial poli¬tics.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and the UMNO Secretary-General and Information Minister, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat, have got into the act. It cannot be a coinci¬dence that-both Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Mohamed Rahmat both accused the educationists who have joined the DAP of wanting to make Mandarin the official language in Malaysia,
Speaking in Kangar, Dr. Mahathir alleged that he had re¬cently received a letter from the educationists requesting that Manda¬rin be made an official language.
Dr. Mahathir cannot be telling the truth when he said he had recently received a letter requesting that Mandarin be made an official language.
I do not believe that there could be such a letter or such a request, as the position of the Malay language as the national language and sole official language had been entrenched in the Consti-tution in 1971, making it a ‘sensitive’ and unchallengeable offence under the Sedition law.
Dr. Mahathir cannot be telling the truth when he said there was such a recent letter. If there is no such letter or such request, then Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Mohamed Rahmat are being very irresponsi¬ble to make such wild statements, which are calculated to create misunderstandings in a multi-racial society.
Dr. Mahathir had repeatedly advised political leaders to be always conscious of the multi-racial sensitivities in Malaysia, and not to create false or artificial issues just to fish for votes, regardless of
the damage they cause to inter-racial understanding and harmony.
All the UMNO leaders, including Dr. Mahathir himself, seems to have forgotten such an advice.
The MCA and Gerakan leaders should be advising Dr. Mahathir and the UMNO leaders not to communalise the issue of the entry of the 27 Malaysians into the DAP, but unfortunately, for their-own petty party ends, they must be egging the UMNO leaders on.
Malaysians can see one strange phenomenon in the new polit¬ical scenario, with the Opposition Front trying to create a two-coalition system.
Component parties in the Opposition Front, particularly the Semangat 46 and DAP, are making great efforts to be multi-racial and fully Malaysian in approach, whie the Barisan Nasional leaders wheth¬er from UMNO, MCA or Gerakan, are doing the exact opposite – becoming more and more communal, divisive and anti-national.
Gerakan has members who were formerly from the UCSTAM and UCSCAM, like Kerk Choo Ting,
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Ong Tian Keng and Dr. Kang Chin Seng.
Are they prepared to ask for a meeting of the top UMNO leaders and present to them the
Joint Statement of the 27 education¬ists and human rights activists to urge the UMNO leaders, including Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, not to communalise the issue, or is this exactly what they like to see happen?
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate cate¬gorically that the DAP fully supports the Constitutional provision making Bahasa Malaysia as the national language and sole official language, while guaranteeing to Mandarin and Tamil free use, teaching and learning in the country.