By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, November 11, 1991:
Lee Kim Sai should explain first why he fled to Australia and Ling Liong Sik fled to the United States when Operation Lalang was launched on 27th October 1987
MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, who was lying very low in the past years, suddenly made a very ‘brave and courageous’ statement yesterday.
He said he was willing to go to prison and face the consequences of breaching the Official Secrets Act by showing the Cabinet paper that the decision that Chinese primary schools children who get 4As and 2Cs in UPSR can go straight to Form One was made in May this year.
In the 42-year history of the MCA, many MCA laeaders had gone to jail, but none of them had gone to jail fro standing up for the rights and interests of the people, and in particular for the five million Malaysian Chinese the MCA claims to represent.
The long list of MCA leaders who had gone to prison inside Malaysia and outside the country included the MCA President, the MCA Youth Leader, MCA MPs and Senators, MCA Deputy Ministers, but they had invariably been jailed because of cheating the people and for criminal breach of trust offences!
Is Lee Kim Sai really prepared to go to prison for the rights of the people and in particular the five million Malaysian Chinese the MCA claims to represent?
Then, he should first explain why he fled Malaysia to Australia, and why the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, fled to the United States when Operation Lalang was launched on October 27, 1991 – which resulted in 106 arrests?
In fact, while everybody knew how Lee Kim Sai fled Malaysia the very same night of Operation Lalang (and Kim Sai had subsequently complained how he ‘suffered’ having to sleep on the floor while his son slept on the bed during his three-month ‘exile’ in Australia), very few knew that Liong Sik fled to the opposite site of the globe until this was revealed in the abortive Liong Sik-Kim Sai fight for the MCA Presidency last year!
Kim Sai and Liong Sik’s ‘escapades’ in 1987 where Kim Sai became a “Ministerial fugitive’ – as he was drawing all the allowances and perks of a Minister while being a ‘fugitive’ aboard – is the best mirror to assess Kim Sai’s ‘bold and brave’ claim yesterday.
As a veteran of two ISA detentions as well as having been arrested and charged for having violated the Official Secrets Act, I am prepared to show full respect to Lee Kim Sai if he could convince me that he is prepared to go to prison for the rights of the people, and in particular the five million Malaysian Chinese – and not just to talk big.
Why didn’t Kim Sai announce that he was prepared to go to prison and reveal the Cabinet paper when top education Ministry Officials publicly disputed the 4As-2Cs decision?
Has Kim Sai really and suddenly become so ‘brave and courageous’ as being prepared to go to prison by revealing Cabinet papers? If so, he should have declared his preparedness to reveal the Cabinet paper about the Cabinet decision on 4As-2Cs when top Education Ministry officials denied that the Cabinet had made the 4As-2Cs decision – when even the education Minister, Datuk Sulaiman Daud, said he had forgotten about it?
Why didn’t Kim Sai announce that he was prepared to go to prison and reveal the Cabinet decision on the 4As-2Cs decision in May to prove the Education Ministry officials and even the Education Minister wrong?
This was because Kim Sai would probably really have to go to prison if he done so then! All the four MCA Ministers kept a complete silence on the 4As-2Cs issue until the decision was reaffirmed by the Cabinet at its meeting of 30th October 1991.
The question Lee Kim Sai has to answer is, of the Cabinet had decided in May on the 4As-2Cs issue, when did the four MCA Ministers allow the Education Ministry officials to create ‘havoc’ by openly disputing such a Cabinet decision? Isn’t this further proof of the incompetence and impotence of the MCA Ministers?
Furthermore, can Lee Kim Sai explain why he didn’t dare to declare that he was prepared to go to prison by revealing the Cabinet paper before the second Cabinet Meeting of October 30? Isn’t this another proof of the ‘bravery and courage’ of MCA Ministers after the event, but utter cowardice before a final decision had been taken?
The four MCA Ministers would have surrendered on the 4As-2Cs issue if not for the DAP’s intense pressure inside and outside Parliament.
Lee Kim Sai is now making an empty boast, for he knows that even if he reveals the Cabinet paper on 4As-2Cs, he will not have to go to prison at all! Lee Kim Sai has demonstrated the special ‘courage and bravery’ of MCA leaders who announce that they they are prepared to go to prison, when they are 110 per cent sure they do not have to go to prison at all!
Lee Kim Sai and the MCA Ministers will never admit that if not for the instance pressures mounted by the DAP inside and outside Parliament before the Cabinet meeting on 30th October, 1991, the four MCA Ministers would probably had surrendered again on the 4As-2Cs decision despite an earlier Cabinet decision in May.
DAP do what is right for the people and future generations, and not to get any ‘thank you’ from MCA leaders.
MCA leaders can deny until their face turn blue that the DAP’s pressures, inside and outside Parliament, had saved the ‘4As-2Cs’ decision, but the people will know better.
Hope Kim Sai would not be found wanting and do another Operation Lalang escapade when he is asked to prove that he is prepared to go to prison by revealing Cabinet papers.
As for Lee Kim Sai’s declaring that he is prepared to go to prison by revealing Cabinet papers, the people will have occasion to put him to the test in the not too distant future – on issues having grave consequences on the future of the country and people.
I only hope that when Kim Sai is asked to prove that he is prepared to go to prison by revealing Cabinet Papers, he will not again be proved wanting and perform another ‘Operation Lalang’ escapade!