Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the Johore DAP State leadership Conference held in Batu Pahat on Sunday, November 17, 1991 at 9.30 am.
In the last 12 months, the MCA leadership has renounced and abandoned its own Vision for 1990s as proclaimed in the MCA’s Malaysian Unity Plan (MUP).
After the October 1990 general elections, the MCA national leadership engaged professional consultants to conduct a study on two matters:
Firstly, why the MCA did so badly in the general elections in securing only about 20 per cent of Chinese voters support;
Secondly, to find out the answer to the question UMNO Ministers had publicly asked after the general elections as to what was it that the Chinese in Malaysia wanted in not voting for the MCA and the Barisan Nasional.
Although the professional consultants must have completed their study and submitted their findings and recommendations to the MCA, the MCA leadership seems to be totally incapable of learning any lesson at all.
This is because in the past 12 months, the MCA leadership has gone from bad to worse in turning its back to the legitimate right and demands, hopes and fears, discontents and grievances of the people, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese whom it claims to represent in the Government and Cabinet
Only early this week, the MCA leadership shocked the entire Chinese community with its latest example of ‘misrepresenting’ the Malaysian Chinese, when the MCA leadership made the greatest concession in the 42-year party history by publicly declaring that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional basis or guarantee!
Even MCA under Tan Siew Sin, Lee San Choon, Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan had not renounced the constitutional right, basis and guarantee of Chinese primary schools.
Although a battery of MCA leaders has tried to mislead the people by accusing me of the sin of
‘broken paragraphs and distorted’ of what MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, said in Bukit Mertajam, none of them could run away from the fact that for the first time in MCA history, the MCA leadership has taken the policy decision and stand that Chinese primary schools have no constitutional basis or guarantee.
When the MCA was led by Tan Siew Sin, Lee San Choon, Neo Yee Pan and even Tan Koon Swan, the MCA leadership had never taken the policy stand that Chinese primary schools have no constitutional basis and guarantee, but the MCA leadership under Datuk Ling Liong Sik has now taken this stand as revealed by Datuk Lee Kim Sai in his Bukit Mertajam speech.
How can the MCA leadership expect to win or retain any Chinese support when it unilaterally, without consulting the Chinese community of the Chinese masses, renounce and abandon legitimate rights of the Malaysian Chinese – even the constitutional right and guarantee of the existence and development of Chinese primary schools?
The history of the MCA in the last 12 months is in fact a history of repeated concessions by the MCA leadership.
In fact, in the past one year, the MCA leadership had even renounced and abandoned its own Vision for the 1990s as proclaimed in the MCA’s Malaysian Unity Plan (MUP) and launched by the MCA president, Datuk Ling Liong Sik with so much fanfare in October 1989.
If the MCA leadership could even renounce and abandon its own solemn Basic Policy Document which it called the Malaysian Unity Plan (MUP) setting out its Vision for the 1990s, what couldn’t it abandon and renounce, just to ensure that MCA leaders remain in Government and Cabinet?
MCA’s MUP called for Independent Commission to monitor implementation of NDP but MCA Ministers and MPs voted against the proposal in Parliament.
I will give three instances of the MCA leadership renouncing and abandoning the MUP:
One of the major proposals of the MUP was for the establishment of an Independent Commission to monitor the Post-1990 New Economic Policy to check against deviation, malpractice and corruption.
This was also the recommendation of the National Economic Consultative Council which had two MCA members who are now Deputy Ministers, namely Dr. Fong Chan Onn and Chua Jui Meng.
During the Parliamentary debate on the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP), the DAP moved a motion for the establishment of a Royal Commission to monitor the implementation of the Second OPP and the National Development Policy.
However, the MCA Ministers and MPs voted against the proposal in Parliament, which meant that the MCA not only voted against the NECC Report and Recommendation of which they claim to be responsible, but also against the MUP which represents the MCA’s Vision for the 1990s.
The weak and lame excuse given by Ling Liong Sik for the MCA leadership’s abandoning and renouncing its Basic Policy Document for the 1990s was that there was no need for an Independent Commission as the Barisan Ministers and component parties can monitor the implementation of the NDP. If this is the case, why the special MUP and NECC proposal for an Independent Monitoring Commission?
MCA leaders oppose government statistics outside but support them in Government and Cabinet.
As a second example, MCA leaders had publicly disputed the official statistics and data particularly with regard to corporate sector ownership, and the MUP even called for an independent body to ensure that bodies generating official data are neutral and do not favour or discriminate against any social, economic, geographical or racial groups.
However, the MCA leaders did the opposite in Government and Cabinet and even gave full support to the Second OPP statistics which in June 1991 gave the Chinese corporate equity share a jump of 12.4 per cent in two years, i.e. 32.5 per cent as given by the Fifth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review in June 1989 to 44.9 per cent in June 1991!
MUP demanded for one third of total rural development allocation for 452 new villages, but MCA Ministers all happy and satisfied when given 0.3 per cent allocation!
My third example concerns the 452 new villages with a population of 1.8 million, representing a third of the rural population. The MUP admists that “Though these new villages have been provided with some infrastructure, their social, economic and educational development remains low.”
The MUP demanded that a ‘a fair share of public development funds (about one third of total rural development allocation based on population.
Under the Sixth Malaysia Plan, $7,321 million was allocated for rural development. Based on the MUP, the MCA Ministers should have asked for one-third of this allocation for the new villages, which would be $2,440 million for the 452 new villages. Instead, the MCA Minster for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, only ask for $128 million and was very happy in getting $21.6 million allocation under the Sixth Malaysia Plan – which is a minute 0.3 per cent of the rural development allocation, as compared to the 33.3 per cent demanded by the MUP.
MUP demanded for one-third allocation of total rural development funds for the 452 new villages, but the MCA Ministers are very happy and satisfied when given 0.3 per cent allocation, and very angry with the DAP which had been highlighting the long-standing neglect of the new villages.
Another example of the MCA leadership renouncing and abandoning its own Vision of the 1990s in the MUPP.
The MCA leadership had completely wasted the the golden opportunity presented by the last 12 months, when they should have made use of the results of last years’s general elections to ensure that there is fairer and more democratic power-sharing in the Barisan Nasional government and greater attention is given to the long-standing grievances and unhappiness of the people in the country.
MCA spearheading erosion of political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights of Malaysian Chinese.
Instead, the MCA leadership took the initiative to spearhead the erosion of political, economic, educational, cultural and religious rights of Malaysian Chinese.
One such example is the directive issued by the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, disallowing Chinese primary schools in Johore from being used by the DAP for political functions, like DAP dinners.
Approvals given by Chinese primary schools in Johore for the holding of DAP functions were withdrawn at the last minute under pressure by the MCA Deputy Minister, as happened in Chung Hwa (1) Chinese primary schools in Muar and the Cheng Siew Chinese primary schools in Batu Pahat.
The issue involved here is not just the gross unfairness of such pressure from the MCA Deputy Education Minister to discriminate against the DAP, for UMNO continues to use both government primary and secondary schools for its party activities. MCA is also using Chinese primary schools for its party activities.
The important principle here is that for its own narrow party interests, MCA national leaders are prepared to take actions which undermine the political rights of the people, and in particular the Chinese community, as carrying out political activities in the Chinese primary schools which are supported and funded from the public.
The MCA leadership does not want a Chinese community which is politically conscious, alive and mature – and this is the reason for its pressure to disallow the use of Chinese primary schools for DAP to hold political function.
In the past 12 months, the issues of the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City, the government’s refusal to give full recognition to Tunku Abdul Rahman College qualifications, and the 4As-2Cs issue where DAP pressure inside and outside Parliament forced the Cabinet on October 30 to comfirm its May decision, are further examples of the failure and impotence of the MCA leaders in the Government and Cabinet to stand up for justice and fair play.
Having abandoned its own Vision for the 1990s as contained in the MUP, the MCA leadership has no vision left. The MCA leaders can only wait for the UMNO to provide a Vision for them.
DAP carrying out 24-month Party Reform, not because we are a failure but because we have been a success.
The DAP has decided to launch a 24-month Party Reform movement which will have both an internal and external aspect.
The external aspect will include a more effective campaign to let the people understand the political problems, realities and challenges in Malaysia in the 1990s including the actual role being played by the MCA its leadership in Government and Cabinet.
The DAP Central Executive Committee decided on 20th October 1991 that “the DAP should carry out a 24-month Party Reform in all aspects of the party, particularly in organisation, publicity, discipline, finance, political education, leadership training, membership, recruitment and orientation at national, state and branch levels as well upgrading the political motivation of Party leaders and the general membership and the role and effectiveness of DAP MPs and Assemblymen.”
On the 26th and 27th October 1991, a DAP National Leadership Conference was held in Port Dickson where national and state leaders reached a consensus on the need for a Party reform and made a personal commitment to fully participate in the movement so that the DAP could accomplish its historic mission by mobilising to the full its potential and tapping the vast support of the people.
Today’s Johore DAP State leadership conference of state and branch leaders is very significant. It not only marks a new phase of the party’s preparation for the 24-months Party Reform in being the first State to hold such a ‘Party Reform’ conference, which will be followed by other states in the next two months, but also demonstrates the importance the DAP national leadership is placing on Johore.
The DAP is carrying out the 24-month Party Reform not because the DAP is a failure and there is hopelessness and utter despair in the Party. If the DAP is an unmitigated failure and has no future at all, then there is nothing to reform at all!
The reverse is the case. The DAP is carrying out Party Reform because of our success. In the last 24 years, the DAP has carved out an indisputable place in Malaysian politics emerging as the second largest political party after UMNO in teem of electoral support, consistently securing 17 to 21 per cent of the national votes cast since the 1974 general elections.
The DAP is embarked on a Party Reform because we do not want to coast on past success. We cannot coast on past success because we will not be true to our historical political mission and the trust and faith the people had placed in the DAP in the past 25 years.
We openly admit that the DAP has weaknesses, defects and problems in the Party, and one important objective of the Party Reform movement is to identify and overcome these weaknesses and defect, so that the DAP can reach even greater heights in the 1990s.
The 24-month Party Reform will be officially launched at the triple historic 25th Anniversary DAP events in Penang on November 30 and December 1. The triple events are the 25th Anniversary Party Special Congress on Dec. 1, the Congress Dinner and the Special Joint DAPSY-Wanita DAP Convention on November 30, which would be the occasion not only to pay tribute to the DAP achievements of the past 25 years but also to reaffirm the Party’s struggle into the 21th century. The 25th Anniversary Party Special Congress in Penang will also adopt an important policy document. A Declaration of the party’s principle and objectives in the 1990s – to be known as the TANJONG DECLARATION.
To give the triple events in Penang added meaning for the political struggle of the people in the 1990s, the President of Semangat 46 and leader of Gagasan Rakyat, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, has been invited to give a special address at the 25th Anniversary Party Special Congress.