by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 6th May 1991:
Why don’t Alex Lee propose that the Chinese Cultural City project should be handed to a government committee headed by Datuk Mohamed Rahmat?
Gerakan Vice President and Deputy National Unity and Social Development Minister, Datuk Alex Lee, was the first non- MCA Barisan Nasional leader to declare his support for the MCA proposal for a Malaysian Chinese Cultural City.
The true nature of Alex Lee’s support for the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal became clear however with his suggestion yesterday that the project be handled by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism.
Alex Lee said it would be better if the project came under the Ministry’s wings as such plans often became very sensitive when undertaken by a political party. He thought the project should be a Government effort so that it would not be viewed as a political activity.
Why don’t Alex Lee go one step further and suggest that the MCA hand the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project to a special government committee headed by the Minister for Information who is also UMNO Secretary- General, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat?
Alex Lee would have made sense if he had suggested that the MCA should hand over the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal to the Chinese community to establish, while maintaining the MCA pledge to raise $5 million for the project.
Alex Lee’s proposal that the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project be handed over to the Government is ridiculous. Either the proposal for a Malaysian Chinese Cultural Cityis in keeping with Malaysia’s multi- cultural heritage, or it is not. If it is in keeping with Malaysia’s multi- cultural heritage, then it makes no difference whether it is a government, private or a political party project.
Those who would object to the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City because when is a non- government project will be equally opposed to it when it becomes a government project.
As Deputy Minister in charge of national unity, it is the duty and responsibility of Alex Lee to educate Malaysian political leader like Datuk Mohamed Rahmat to have a broader Malaysian outlook, and to stop being rooted in narrow, sectional communal and chauvinistic grooves.
Mohmad Rahmat’s objection of Malaysian Chinese Cultural City is against Mahathir’s Vision of Malaysia in Year 2,020.
Datuk Mohamad Rahmat should be told that his objection to the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal is against the vision of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia in the Year 2,020 and that the UMNO Secretary- General was acting most irresponsibly in seeking to raise commual emotions by distorting the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal and turning it into a ‘Chinatown’ proposal.
Dr. Mahathir had made it very clear that his vision of Malaysia to be a fully developed nation in the year 2,020 would depend on nine strategic challenges, one of which is “the challenge of establishing a mature, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practise and profess thier customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.”
Dr. Mahathir’s vision of Malaysia in year 2,020 will never have a chance of realization if there are political leaders in government who think and behave like Datuk Mohamed Rahmat, who are not prepared to accept the multi- racial and multi- cultural reality of the Malaysian nation, and who sees everything in the thickest communal terms.
Alex Lee will be discharging his tasks and dution as National Unity Deputy Minister if he arrange for leaders like Datuk Mohamed Rahmat to undergo a special orientation course as to how to be a leader for all Malaysians and not just for one particular racial group and to further and fulfil Dr. Mahathir’s Vision of 2,020.
MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, had claimed that the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal had been discussed, understood and accepted by ‘top UMNO’ leaders.
It is strange that no single ‘top UMNO leader’ had come out to confirm Liong Sik’s claim, while a few top UMNO leaders seems to be ready to take a public stand to support Datuk Mohamad Rahmat’s objection to the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal.
This is why I suggested yesterday that to prevent this issue from being politicised any further, Liong Sik should get the Cabinet on Wednesday to announce its official approval for the project.
If Liong Sik fails to get Cabinet approval on Wednesday, after ‘top UMNO leaders’ had understood and accepted the proposal, then he must bear full responsibility if the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal become fully politicised by UMNO leaders in the coming days forcing the MCA leadership to eventually abandon the proposal under pressure.