by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang, on Thursday, 11th March 1993:
Most shocking that Tsu Koon supports the Gerakan stand in Parliament that constitutional guarantees on mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays are not entrenched constitutional clauses
I am shocked that the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, should be supporting the Gerakan stand in Parliament that constitutional guarantees on mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays are not entrenched constitutional clauses.
In an interview in today’s Kwong Wah on passage of the 1993 constitutional amendment bill by Parliament, Tsu Koon rejected the DAP contention on the need not to set a precedent whereby other entrenched constitutional like constitutional guarantees on mother-tongue, languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays could also be undermined in future.
The greatest surprise in the Dewan Rakyat debate on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill on March 9 is the Gerakan expounding the highly pernicious doctrine that constitutional guarantees on mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays are not en¬trenched constitutional clauses.
This stand was propounded in the Dewan Rakyat by the Gerakan MP for Nibong Tebal, Dominic Puthucheary, who clearly had the prior approval of the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik and Deputy President, Kerk Choo Ting.
The Gerakan is the first party in the country to challenge the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages under Article 152 and the citizenship rights of the non-Malays under Part III of the Malaysian Constitution.
Entrenched constitutional clauses are different from ordi¬nary clauses in the constitution in that they could only be repealed or amended if they fulfil two conditions: firstly, a two-thirds majority support in Parliament and secondly, the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
No one is surprised that Dominic Puthucheary, who openly accused Gerakan of practising racial quota politics in the party leadership, should be propounding such a pernicious doctrine that the constitutional guarantees for mother-tongue languages under Article 152 and the citizenship rights of non-Malays under Part III of the Constitution.
There will also be no surprise if Gerakan leaders like Dr. Kang Chin Seng surrender their political principles as to subscribe to this doctrine, because this will be typical of their political opportunism so far.
But the people had hoped that Dr. Koh Tsu Koon would not have lost all his political ideals, and they are entitled to ask why a person who swore to ‘attack into the Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional’ should also surrender his fundamental principles and beliefs!
Gerakan owes a full and clear explanation why it had voluntarily surrendered the entrenched constitutional status of mother-¬tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays, and the ration¬ale for such a startling policy change by Gerakan.
Is this the price the Gerakan leaders are prepared to pay so that they could displace MCA and get into a position of top favourites of the UMNO leaders?