By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, November 19, 1991:
I propose to meet Ling Liong Sik at the MCA Headquarters next Tuesday at 11 am over the MCA leadership’s greatest concession in its 42-year party history in declaring that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional right, basis and guarantee.
I propose to meet the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik, at the MCA Headquarters next Tuesday at 11 am over the MCA leadership’s greatest concession in its 42-year party history in declaring that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional right, basis and guarantee.
This is very important issue which rises above the interests of the MCA or DAP as it concerns the constitutional right of mother-tongue education, not only for today but for decades and generations to come.
When the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, made the shocking statement in Bukit Mertajam last week that the existence of Chinese primary schools has no constitutional right, basis and guarantee, there were some who had hoped that this was only the personal view of Kim Sai and did not represent a new policy decision of the MCA under the leadership of Ling Liong Sik.
However, Kim Sai’s Bukit Mertajam statement was given full support by the MCA national leaders who are known as the Liong Sik ‘lieutenants’ who, together with the MCA central and state publicity bureaus, defended Kim Sai and attacked me.
Kim Sai’s Bukit Mertajam pronouncement had the full support of the mainstream MCA national leaders.
In the past one week, one after another of the MCA ‘mainstream’ national leaders, including Dr.Fong Chan Onn, Wong See Wah and Ong Ka tin, accused me of ‘breaking paragraphs and distorting’ what Kim Sai said in Bukit Mertajam.
But not a single one of them was prepared to do the easiest and simplest thing to end the controversy by clearly and unequivocally declaring that the MCA leadership had never deviated from its stand that the xistence of Chinese primary schools is founded on the constitutional rights, basis and guarantee in Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution.
Instead, the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, trotted out MCA party Constitution Clause 6.15 on its Objects which refers to ‘preserving and sustaining the use and study of Chinese language’.
When I asked what was the use of Clause 6.15 of the MCA Party Constitution about preserving and sustaining the use and study of Chinese language when the MCA leaders had made the greatest concession in its 42-yaer history in declaring that Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution does not provide the constitutional right, basis and guarantee for the existence of Chinese primary schools.
Wong See Wah tried to distort the whole issue by accusing me of ‘dictatorship’ in advocating that political parties do not need party constitutions.
I won’t waste time on Wong See Wah’s childish style of arguments which is most unbecoming of a national political leader or Deputy Minister.
The DAP does not want to play party politics on the issue of the Constitutional rights, basis and guarantee of the Chinese primary schools and from the very beginning, we have taken a very serious stand.
It is for this reason that I am writing to Liong Sik to tell him that I am prepared to meet him at the MCA Headquarters next Tuesday at 11 am on this issue.
If the MCA leaders say that I have ‘broken paragraph and distorted’ what Kim Sai said, let them produce the proof next Tuesday.
If what Kim Sai said did not represent the new MCA policy, then let Liong Sik openly, unequivocally and unconditionally declare that the MCA had never in the pst, at present or in the future compromise on the Constitutional rights, basis and guarantee for the existence of Chinese primary schools in Malaysia.
If what Kim Sai said in Bukit Mertajam correctly represented the new MCA policy, ie. That the MCA leadership has now taken the policy stand that the existence of Chinese primary schools does not have constitutional right, basis and guarantee, then let Liong Sik explain clearly and fully why the MCA leadership has made the greatest concession in the 42-year MCA history.
I will tell Liong Sik next Tuesday for the example of the MCA leadership betraying the MUP which spelt out the MCA’s principles and Vision for the 1990s.
In his statement yesterday, the MCA deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Wong See Wah, accused me attacking the MCA’s Malaysian Unity Plan (MUP).
I did not attack the MCA’s MUP when I spoke at the Johore DAP State Leadership ‘Party Reform’ Conference in Batu Pahat on Sunday. What I attacked was the MCA leadershisp’s betrayal of its own MUP, which is supposed to represent the MCA’s Vision for the 1990s.
I had given three examples of the MCA leadership betraying their own MUP and their own principles and Vision for the 1990s.
For instance, I pointed out that MCA MUP demanded an end to the long-standing neglect of the 452 new villagers, and asking for the new villages an allocation of at least one-third of the total government rural development funds.
However, what the MCA Ministers secured for the 1.8 million new villagers under the Sixth Malaysia Plan is not the 33 per cent allocation of total rural development funds as demanded under the MUP, but a ridiculous 0.3 per cent of the allocation, i.e. $21.6 million allocation to the new villages out of rural development allocation of $7,321 million.
What is even more shocking is that MCA Ministers get very angry when DAP MPs and Assemblymen raised in Parliament and the State Assemblies the injustice of the Barisan Nasional government’s long-standing and continued neglect of the socio-economic rights of the 1.8 million new villages when these MCA Minister should remember the MUP and support the DAP’s fight for a fair deal for the new villages!
The DAP can in fact give more instance of the MCA leadership betraying its own MUP and its own principles and Vision for the 1990s.
Wong See Wah could not rebut the three instance I had given. He could only resort to abuses, half-truths and even lies.
This shows up the great difference between the DAP and the MCA. We depend on facts, reasons and arguments. The MCA has no facts, reasons and arguments, but only abuses, distortions, half-truths and downright lies. No wonder the MCA leaders dare not accept the DAP’s long-standing challenge to public debates.
As the DAP does not make unfounded allegations, I am prepared to discuss with Liong Sik at the MCA Headquarters next Tuesday all the examples of how the MCA had betrayed its own MUP, and to remind the MCA leadership that it has completely forgotten its MUP which had spelt out the MCA’s principles and Vision for the 1990s.