Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Bukit Bintang 25th Anniversary DAP Dinner held at Kum Long Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 14.11.1991 at 9.30 pm
I will not be on the DAP debating team if I am the reason why Ling Liong Sik dared to accept the challenge for a DAP-MCA debate on DAP and MCA politics
Last month, the MCA president, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik announce at the meeting of all MCA elected representative that the MCA was launching an all-out ‘war’ against the DAP.
When I reacted immediately to his declaration of ‘war’ and challenged Liong Sik to a public debate on the politics and policies of DAP and MCA, there was complete silence from the MCA ‘field-marshal’ who had just proclaimed ‘war’ against the DAP.
Newspaper columnists and writers said I was taking unfair advantage of Ling Liong Sik, as if Ling Liong Sik is one of the worst public speakers and debaters in Malaysian politics. I think these newspaper columnists and writers do Liong Sik a great injustice, for they do not know that Ling Liong Sik was one of the foremost debaters in his university days while I never had the benefit of his experience.
However, I believed that in a political debate, it is not so much the debating skills or speaking prowess that is most important, but whether one stands on the right side of truth and justice, whether one has political principles, and whether one’s political record bears public scrutiny.
A person can be the greatest debater or even a great language expert or scholar but if he has to defend a political record and policy utterly without principles but riddled with compromises, concessions and sell-outs, there is no way such a person can win a political debate when faced with an opponent with clear and clean political record and consistent and principled policy.
However, if I am the reason why Liong Sik dared not accept the challenge for a DAP-MCA debate on the politics and policies of the DAP and MCA, then let me state tonight that I will not be on the DAP debating team.
In such a DAP-MCA debate, I have no objection to Liong Sik heading the MCA team although I am not taking part in the debate, for the DAP has enough leaders to take on the MCA in public debates any time – for the DAP stands for truth, justice, honour and principle while the MCA leaders stand for the exact opposite.
As the MCA ‘field-marshal’ who declared war on the DAP, will Liong Sik muster the courage to accept the challenge of a DAP-MCA public debate now that I am publicly announcing that I will not represent the DAP in such an encounter?
The people will remember that during the DAPSY-MCA Youth debate on ‘MCA or DAP – Who is the Political Parasite’ in August, MCA national leaders loudly and proudly declared that henceforth they would project a completely different posture and that they would accept any challenge from the DAP for public debates.
This bravado of the MCA leaders seems to be the shortest-lived phenomenon in Malaysia politics – not lasting for more than 24 hours and qualify to get into the Guinness Book of Record!