by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, February 17, 1992:
MCA’s political culture reduces the intellectual capacity of those even with Ph.D.s to pre-university level
I have noticed that the political atmosphere and culture of the MCA has the most debilitating intellectual effect, and could even reduce those with Ph.Ds to pre-university intellectual levels.
I had made such a comment with regard to the ‘political arguments’ and ‘political logic’ of the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn who, despite his Ph.D. qualifications in economics, shows pre-university standards in his political statements and writings – whether penned by himself or by his ‘cultural assassins’.
Today, we have another example in the person of Dr. Ting Chew Peh, the MCA Secretary-General and Minister for housing, whose comments about my statement on the shortening of the parliamentary week from five to four days appeared in the Star today.
Firstly, Ting Chew Peh reacted to what he said was my ‘statement in Chinese press’, insinuating that I only released my statement to the Chinese newspapers. For the record, my statement was released to all language newspapers, and if the MCA’s English-language newspaper chose to ‘black’ it out, it is most unfair for Dr. Ting Chew Peh to make the insinuation that it was given only to the Chinese press.
Secondly, Ting Chew Peh said I was ‘either ignorant or had deliberately wanted to mislead the people’ in my statement. I challenge Ting Chew Peh to point out a single instance where I had been ‘either ignorant or had deliberately wanted to mislead the people’ in my statement.
It is Ting Chew Peh who is guilty of being ‘either ignorant or had deliberately wanted to mislead the people’ in his comment.
Chew Peh said: “the next sitting would be from 2.30 p.m. to 7 p.m., making it 18 hours a week compared to the previous sitting from 3 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. which was 17.5 hours a week – in other words, we have 30 minutes more in the number of hours in a week.”
I am surprised that Chew Peh, who had been a Minister for so many years, has shown his ignorance of parliamentary proceedings, as firstly, in not knowing
(i) that Parliament had been sitting from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays; and
(ii) that Parliament had been sitting for nineteen-and-a-half hours a week, and not seventeen-and-a-half hours a week as claimed by Chew Peh.
Chew Peh said the ‘next sitting would be from 2.30 p.m. to 7 p.m.’. Even if this is true, the total of 18 hours arising from four-day Parliamentary week would still be shorter than the nineteen-and-a-half hours of the current five-day parliamentary week. The Speaker of Parliamentary, Tan Sri Zahir Ismail, has said that there would be no change in time. Now, who is misleading the people? In any event, can Chew Peh say under what Standing Orders of Dewan Rakyat can Parliament sit every day until 7 p.m.?
But worse at all, Ting Chew Peh has missed the point of my statement altogether – that whether the Parliamentary week should be shortened to four-day or extended to six-day week is a matter strictly for Parliament and MPs to decide, and not the Cabinet or Ministers who clearly know next to nothing about parliamentary proceedings as exhibited by Ting Chew Peh himself.