by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, January 6, 1992:
The 1992 Education Bill should be allowed at least two-month public study and discussion before Parliamentary debate and passage
DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Government to ensure that there is at least two-month public study and discussion before Parliamentary debate and passage of the 1992 Education Bill.
As education is a very important issue, which affects not only the future of the country, but will also decide whether the Vision 2020 of Malaysia becoming a fully developed, democratic, free, just and united society could be achieved, there must be the fullest public participation in its final formulation before it becomes law.
Parliament will either meet in February before the Puasa Month or in April after Hari Raya Puasa. If Parliament is to meet in February, then the Education Bill 1992 should be presented to Parliament next month for first reading, and at least two months should be allowed for public study and discussion. Parliament should only debate and decide on the new Education Bill in its next meeting sometime in June.
If Parliament is to meet in April, then the Government should make public the Bill to allow for at least two months of public study and discussion before it is presented for debate and decision in the April Parliament.
“If there is nothing left for the Chinese to sell out”, then there is no point even in having ‘consultation’
With the Education Bill 1992 finally emerging, the role of some Chinese organisation leaders who seem to have suddenly discovered the ‘politics of consultation’ will again become the central focus.
One such leader, Lim Geok Chan, the Chairman of the Federation of Chinese Assembly Halls, recently asked “what is there left for the Chinese to sell out”?
I will leave it to another occasion to probe why Lim Geok Chan feel that there is “nothing left for the Chinese to sell out” and if so, who is responsible for such ‘total sell-out’ of the rights and interests of the Malaysian Chinese 34 years after Merdeka until there is nothing left to sell-out anymore.
Hoewever, if there is “nothing left for the Chinese to sell out”, then there is no point even in having ‘consultation’ at all, for there are no more rights and interests of the Chinese community left to save, preserve or protect. In such a case, the only purpose of any such ‘consultative’ is for business or other money-making opportunities from the government.
As far as the DAP is concerned, there are many rights and interests of the Chinese community which could be ‘sold out’. Until 3 a.m. of 29th December 1991, one of these rights and interests was the Johore Bahru ancient temple wall. I do not know whether it was precisely he felt that there was nothing left for the Chinese to sell-out that Lim Geok Chin did not show any interest, concern or response when the Johore Bahru ancient temple wall issue became public one Dec.27, and until it was demolished.
I strongly believe that those who believe that ‘here is nothing left for the Chinese to sell out’ are not fit to speak and act on behalf of the Chinese or the Chinese community, for they are virtually taking the position that there is nothing left for the Chinese community to save, preserve or protect in any national sphere of life in Malaysia, whether political, economic, social, cultural or religious. To this schools of thought, even if we make more and more concessions, we are not making any great sacrifices because we have already lost everything!
Those who want to speak and act on behalf of the Chinese or the Chinese community must clearly repudiate the philosophy that ‘there is nothing left for the Chinese to sell-out’.