Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Selangor DAP State Leadership Party Reform Conference held Federal Hotel, Kula Lumpur on Sunday, 23rd February 1992 at 10 a.m.
Kit Siang directs DAP National Publicity Committee to study and expose the propaganda and publicity techniques employed by the MCA in its ‘all-out war’ against the DAP
I have directed the DAP National Publicity Committee to study and expose the propaganda and publicity techniques employed by the MCA in its ‘all-out war’ against the DAP, which was announced by the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik last October.
At first, the DAP did not take the MCA’s ‘all-out war’ seriously, because we did not believe it could have much credibility or make any headway as it was based on half-truths and falsehoods.
The DAP leaders were proved wrong, and in the first two months, the MCA’s ‘all-out war’ against the DAP was so successful, that the entire DAP was put on the defensive for the first time in DAP history.
The DAP learnt a useful lesson then that a lie repeated a hundred or a thousand times could influence more and more people unless it is contradicted and exposed.
The MCA campaign of lies was so successful in the first two months that it had virtually convinced Malaysians that the Chinese in Kelantan had been plunged into ‘deep waters and furnace heat’, and had been oppressed and persecuted by the Islamisation measures of the PAS-led Kelantan State Government infringing non-Muslim rights and interests.
After two months of the MCA’s ‘all-out war’, most Malaysian Chinese outside Kelantan were influenced and believed in all or some of the eight allegations spread by MCA propagandists about the ‘oppression’ and ‘persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan, viz: that
1. The Chinese in Kelantan cannot eat or sell pork;
2. They cannot drink beer publicly but must ‘hide and drink steathily’;
3. They cannot buy or sell liquor;
4. They must stop business during Muslim prayers;
5. They cannot go to unisex saloons;
6. Chinese women must cover their heads and wear Islamic attire;
7. Chinese women cannot work night shift; and
8. Chinese business signboards must be taken down and replaced with Jawi characters.
Even some DAP leaders, members and supporters were influenced by this powerful MCA propaganda campaign about the ‘oppression’ and ‘persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan, and I know there are DAP leaders who did not think that it was a good idea to send a top DAP delegation on a fact-finding visit to Kelantan.
The MCA ‘all-out war’ against the DAP has been crushed because of three great fallacies. Two fallacies were contained in the MCA’s ‘all-out war’ campaign, namely that DAP’s fatal weakness is the Kelantan issue, and secondly, a campaign of lies can be sustained and even prevail when confronted with truth and facts.
The third great fallacy of the MCA is that MCA Ministers and leaders came to believe their own propaganda and lies. They first challenged the DAP leaders to have the courage to go to Kelantan to see the ‘plight’ of the Chinese in Kelantan.
But when the DAP leaders announced their intention to visit Kelantan to find out the true facts, the MCA leaders panicked and questioned why the DAP leaders were visiting Kelantan.
The MCA leaders have good reason to panic because after the DAP delegation visit to Kelantan, the MCA propaganda campaign of falsehoods had completely collapsed and the MCA ‘all-out war’ turned into an ‘all-out rout’ as a result of the following incontrovertible facts:
1. Although invited, Liong Sik did not dare to visit Kelantan and meet the Kelantan Mentri Besar together with the DAP leaders;
2. On the day before the meeting with the Kelantan Mentri Besar, Haji Nik Aziz Nik Mat, I sent an urgent fax to Liong Sik asking of five instances of the ‘oppression’ and ‘persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan by the Islamisation measures of the PAS-led Kelantan state government, but Liong Sik was unable to produce a single instance.
3. During the DAP delegation visit to Kelantan, I asked the Kuala Krai MCA Youth Division leader, who was complaining about the ‘plight’ of the Chinese in Kelantan, to give me three specific instances of ‘oppression and persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan by the Islamisation measures of the Kelantan State Government, but all he could say was: “I have to think about it”.
4. During the three-day visit, not a single MCA leader in Kelantan could produce a single specific instance of the ‘oppression and persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan by the state government.
5. After the visit, the MCA Secretary-General and Minister for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, said one example of the ‘oppression and persecution’ of the Chinese in Kelantan is that they cannot drink beer publicly. I had challenged the four MCA Ministers to go to Kota Bahru with me to drink beer publicly – but none of them had dared to take up the challenge. In fact, during the visit to Kelantan, I drank beer publicly, both in Kota Bahru and Kuala Krai.
6. A month has passed since our visit where the DAP delegation declared that it has found that there is no truth in the allegations that the Chinese in Kelantan are ‘oppressed and persecuted’ by the following eight Islamisation measures infringing non-Muslim rights namely:
(i) The Chinese in Kelantan cannot eat or sell pork;
(ii) They cannot drink beer publicly but must ‘hide and drink steathily’;
(iii) They cannot buy or sell liquor;
(iv) They must stop business during Muslim prayers;
(v) They cannot go to unisex saloons;
(vi) Chinese women must cover their heads and wear Islamic attire;
(vii) Chinese women cannot work night shift; and
(viii) Chinese business signboards must be taken down and replaced with Jawi characters.
Up to now, no MCA Minister or leader had been able to prove the DAP delegation wrong.
7. It has now been established that MCA leaders have no principles, and do not really oppose an Islamic State concept, as they support all Islamisation measures by UMNO but oppose all measures by PAS, even those which do not infringe non-Muslim rights and interests.
8. MCA rejection of the DAP proposal for the signing of a Three-Lim ‘Year of the Monkey’ Declaration to oppose Islamic State and all Islamisation measures, whether by UMNO or PAS, which infringe non-Muslim rights and interests.
MCA leaders are now on the defensive with the expose of their campaign of lies against the DAP, and they dare not be so blatant in their lies and falsehoods as in the past few months. However, the MCA leaders will never abandon this propaganda attack on the DAP. Only a few days ago, the MCA Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Fong Chan Onn, was in Kota Bahru and again attacked the DAP on the Kelantan issue, but it is a very subdued version as compared to a few months’ back.
The MCA will lie low before returning to this propaganda attack on the DAP in a big way in the not-too-distant future, and this is why the DAP National Publicity Committee should study and expose the propaganda and publicity techniques of the MCA campaign so that the people would not succumb to them so easily as recently.