Speech(PartII) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Petaling Jaya Ceramah held at Transport Workers’ Union Hall on Wednesday, 12th September 1990 at 9 p.m
If MCA Ministers had their way in the Cabinet, there would be no immediate suspension of the Cheras tolls but a Committee would have been set up to consider the MCA proposal to reduce the toll to 50 cents
Earlier today, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, announced the immediate suspension of the toll collection at the 8 km Jalan Cheras after this morning-s Cabinet meeting.
If the MCA Ministers had their way in the Cabinet, there would be no immediate suspension of the Cheras tolls. For what the MCA Ministers were asking was for the reduction of the toll to 50 cents and a monthly toll.
It is only the DAP which had stood fast on our stand right from the beginning that there should be no tolls at Cheras, and that the Cabinet yesterday should immediately suspend all tolls collections in Cheras.
This is another example that the MCA Ministers cannot be depended upon to do what is in the interests of the people. If the Cabinet had listened to the MCA Ministers, there would probably be a Cabinet Committee to consider the MCA proposal about halving the Cheras tolls – while Teratai S.K. Sdn. Bhd would continue to collect tolls.
Kit Siang pays tribute to the people of Cheras for their public-spirited and courageous stand against the Cheras tolls
I want to pay tribute to the people of Cheras for their public-spirited and courageous stand against the Cheras toll.
Before he left for South Korea, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, accused the Opposition of trying to make use of people power because it does not have power in the Government.
This is a very trite statement. It is clear that the Opposition does not have power in Government, and this is why we are the Opposition.
However, what does the Prime Minister or the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, mean when they say that the DAP was ‘politicising’ the Cheras tolls issue. Does an issue become ‘politicised’ when the DAP takes up the issue? If this is the case, what happens when UMNO, MCA and Gerakan also gets involved in the issue? Does the issue then become ‘de-politicised’?
The Cheras tolls issue is a people’s issue, concerning the socio-economic grievances of the Cheras residents, and there should be no attempt by anyone to try to create red herrings by alleging that it is being ‘politicised’ or worse, by turning it into a communal issue.
In a democracy, there must be room for the people to manifest people power, not just during the casting of votes during general elections. This is what Dr. Mahathir himself had tried to harness in his various public meetings, including in his current series of nation-wide tours in preparation for the general elections, although without real success.
If Malaysia is a democratic country, the people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully, as on the Cheras tolls issue, when the authorities and Teratai S.K. Sdn. Bhd had repeatedly ignored the pleas and appeals of the people – although I agree with Dr. Mahathir that this does not include the right to throw stones or bottles.
To the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, the people of Cheras are bad-hats, trouble-makers and law-breakers. He subsequently qualified his earlier condemnation of the Cheras residents by saying that 99 per cent of the Cheras people are responsible and law-abiding, that only ‘one per cent’ are trouble makers.
Who are these ‘one per cent’ of the Cheras residents that Liong Sik is denouncing? They are the 10,000 people who came out last Friday in a spontaneous demonstration to show their opposition to the Cheras tolls.
I have visited Cheras the last few days, and I have found that it is not just the high-spirited youngsters who, without the knowledge of their parents, came out to demonstrate last Friday. It was a full family and community demonstration – the old and young, the men and women, the strong and weak, the residents of all races – Chinese, Malays and Indians. It was a truly genuine Malaysian demonstration showing a remarkable unity spanning races, generations, classes and housing estates!
I have no doubt that this ‘one per cent’ bad-hats that is denounced by Liong Sik had the full support and backing of the 99 per cent of the Cheras people!
Call for the restoration of the position before Sept 1 – no tolls, no demonstration, no detention, no arrest
Barisan Nasional leaders have always claimed that the Barisan Nasional is a responsive government. If this is the case, how come the Cabinet Ministers have to be joined by a spontaneous demonstration by 10,000 Cheras residents last Friday to realise that the people are very strongly opposed to the Cheras tolls.
How is it that the Cabinet Ministers could approve the Cheras toll without considering whether the toll is high or low, as admitted by the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba?
Clearly, many Ministers are simply not fit to be in the Cabinet – including all the MCA and Gerakan Ministers.
Now the Government is re-studying the Cheras toll project. Such a study should be made before the Cheras toll project is approved, not after the toll gates had been completed and the toll imposed.
The Opposition Front, comprising the DAP, Semangat 46, AMIPF and Parit Rakyat, are opposed to the Cheras toll collection. It is an election pledge of the Opposition Front that we will abolish innercity toll collections if we are given the mandate to govern Malaysia in the next general elections, and that tolls at Cheras and Jalan Pahang will be removed.
I call on the Barisan Nasional government to match this stand of the Opposition Front and abolish tolls at Cheras and Jalan Pahang altogether.
Let the situation in Cheras be restored to the position before September 1, 1990 – no toll, no demonstration, no detentions and no arrests.