by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 24th May 1991:
Not only the UMNO Youth-MCA Youth debate, but the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City itself had been ‘blown off’.
MCA Secretary-General, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, said yesterday that the UMNO Youth-MCA Youth debate on the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City has been ‘blown off’ following the Cabinet decision that the issue would no longer be debated in the media.
Ting Chew Peh is right, except he did not tell the full story. It is clear to astute observers that the MCA’s Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project itself had also been ‘blown off’.
This is very clear from the indication by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, of his attitude to the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City after his return from overseas asking the MCA to review the project, his subsequent refusal to state whether he would accede to the request by the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, for a meeting to explain the project and finally, Dr. Mahathir’s announcement after the Kuching Cabinet meeting that the issue would no longer be debated in the media.
Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project has ‘died in the womb’.
MCA’s Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project has ‘died in the womb’, and this is why the MCA has halted fund-raising activities for the project.
However, although the MCA Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project has been ‘blown off’, the MCA and MCA Youth still want to play-act to score political points. This is most irresponsible.
For instance, MCA Youth leader, Chong Kong Choy, hurriedly called a MCA Youth National Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday as that he could inform the press that MCA Youth “had formally accepted the UMNO Youth challenge for a public debate”, and even announced that the MCA Youth had decided on its representatives for the debate.
However, Chong Kong Choy was too careless in not coordinating with all MCA Ministers not to spell out the meaning of the Cabinet decision, for while he was announcing in Kuala Lumpur about the courageous steps being taken by MCA Youth to face the UMNO Youth for a public debate, the MCA Secretary-General was telling the press in Kuching that the public debate had been ‘blown off’.
Surely, Chong Kong Choy is not so divorced from the MCA power centre that he had not been informed that the MCA Youth-UMNO Youth debate is off. This again shows that the MCA and MCA Youth are only interested in political play-acting rather in telling the people the political truth.
MCA leaders should conduct a post-mortem why they had failed in the Chinese Cultural City project when ‘top UMNO leaders had discussed, understood and accepted’ it?
MCA and MCA Youth leaders should be frank with the people and openly admit that the effect and meaning of Dr. Mahathir’s announcement in Kuching is that the MCA’s Malaysian Chinese Cultural City proposal had been ‘blown off’ and it had died a stillbirth.
Why should MCA and MCA Youth leaders continue to deceive the people that they will continue with the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project if they had virtually accepted that they have only two alternatives: one, to abandon the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project altogether, or alternatively, to accept the new proposal advanced by the Gerakan National Vice President, Datuk Alex Lee and probably make Alex Lee as the Adviser for the MCA project!
The MCA leadership should conduct a post-mortem why the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City had ‘died in the womb’. If Ling Liong Sik had listened to my advice early this month to get early Cabinet approval for the project, as he said that ‘top UMNO leaders had discussed, understood and accepted’ it, the project would have already got off the launching pad and could not be stopped by anyone.
When Liong Sik did not act on my advice, I said on May 11 that the MCA President ‘may have lost the chance to build the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City’. My forecast had been proved right by events.