by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, March 16, 1993:
Gerakan is getting as panicky as MCA over the erosion of UMNO’s Malay power base
The MCA national leadership conceived and launched the Langkawi Project because it is very concerned that UMNO’s political power base in the rural areas had been undermined as a result of the constitutional crisis over the Rulers’ immunity, to the extent that UMNO would not be able to muster its bank of Malay votes to the rescue of MCA candidates in the next general elections.
The Gerakan leadership is getting as panicky as the MCA leadership over the same question. This is because both MCA and Gerakan cannot stand on their own strength, but must depend on UMNO’s bank of Malay votes to get elected in general elections. The near defeat of the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, if he had not been bailed out by UMNO’s Malay votes in the Bruas Parliamentary constituency in the last general elections is the best illustration.
This background explains the various statements by Gerakan leaders in the past few weeks making groundless attacks against the DAP.
The Gerakan leadership at both national and state levels have in fact become so panicky that if I should be seen in Tanjong Bungah or pass through it, it immediately creates a political crisis in Gerakan – whether in the Penang Chief Minister’s office or in the Gerakan headquarters.
This political panic has also caused Gerakan leaders to try their utmost to undermine the DAP’s public standing by distorting the DAP’s stands and statements.
For instance, Penang Chief Minister Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, is trying to paint the DAP as a ‘royalist’ party. In the process, he had to give support to the argument by the Gerakan in Parliament on March 9 rejecting that entrenched clauses in the Malaysian constitution like constitutional guarantees for mother-tongue languages in Article 152 and citizenship rights for non-Malays in Part III are different from ordinary clauses in the constitution.
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should explain why he had betrayed the pledge that he gave in 1982 to ‘attack into the Barisan to rectify the Barisan’ when he is now taking the position that constitutional guar-antees for mother-tongue languages in Article 152 and citizenship rights for non-Malays in Part III of the Malaysian Constitution are no more ‘entrenched provisions’?
Is this the price Dr. Koh Tsu Koon has to pay to continue as Penang Chief Minister?
Tsu Koon should admit that he and the Gerakan leadership had committed a great mistake in unilaterally renouncing the entrenched status of mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays in the Malaysian Constitution
Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is trying to cloud the issue when he declared that Gerakan would stand by the constitutional provisions on mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays, whether it means standing up against the Rulers or UMNO.
In the first place, what is the worth of such a declaration when Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the Gerakan leaders had unilaterally renounced the ‘entrenched constitutional status’ of mother-tongue lan-guages and citizenship rights of non-Malays in the constitution?
Secondly, who is to believe such a declaration when everybody knows that the real power in the Penang State Government is not the Chief Minister but his deputy?
If Dr. Koh Tsu Koon cannot even stand up to his Deputy Chief Minister, what is the use of his talking about standing tip to the UMNO national leaders?
I would advise Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to put the rights and interests of the people above party and political interests, and admit that he and the Gerakan leadership had committed a great mistake in unilaterally renouncing the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays.
The Gerakan leaders should explain why they have chosen to unilaterally renounce the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays, when even extremist UMNO or UMNO Youth leaders had not questioned them. Is this Gerakan ‘master stroke’ to put them in a more favourite status than MCA in the eyes of UMNO leaders?
Are the Gerakan leaders preparing the ground so that extremist UMNO and UMNO Youth Leaders could be seen to be fair and rational when they question the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays?