by Parliamentary Opposition leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 19th March 1993:
DAP warns Gerakan and MCA not to sacrifice the constitutional rights of the people and the community in their competition for UMNO favours for the coming general elections
The MCA and the public must have been surprised at my public praise of the MCA Ministers for not following the example of the Gerakan leadership in unilaterally renouncing the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages and citizenship rights of non-Malays in the recent Parliamentary debate on the 1993 Constitution Amendment Bill to remove the Rulers’ immunity.
I have made this praise so as to warn the MCA Ministers not follow in the footsteps of the Gerakan leadership, as from past MCA record, the MCA Ministers are capable of doing what the Gerakan leadership had done.
DAP must warn the Gerakan and MCA leaders not to sacrifice ¬the constitutional rights of the people and the community in their competition for UMNO favours.
Malaysians can still remember that in November 1991, the top MCA leadership made its greatest concession in its 42-year, party history when it renounced the constitutional basis, foundation and guarantee for the existence and. continuation for Chinese primary schools.
This renunciaticn was made by the MCA Deputy President, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, when in a speech in Bukit Mertajam, he declared that “ensuring that the over a thousand Chinese primary Schools can continue to use Chinese as a medium of instruction is not because of the constitutional stipulation that each community could have free use and study of its mother tongue, but because of the provision of the Barisan Nasional government under the Education Act.”
Lee Kim Sad had further said: “The Chinese community should understand that the constitution guarantees the free study and use of the mother tongue but this does not mean that Mandarin mustv be the medium of instruction in Chinese primary schools,”
From these, MCA it is clear that the MCA leadership had renounced fundamental principle that Article 152 of the Constitutional provides a constitutional guarantee and basis for the existence of the Chinese primary schools.
At that time, when the MCA leadership was subjected to a barrage of attacks by the DAP for its greatest concession in its 42-¬year party history, Gerakan leaders also passed adverse comments on the MCA leaders.
It is to the credit of the Gerakan leaders that in November 1991, they did not endorse the MCA leadership’s, renunciation of the constitutional basis, foundation and guarantee for the existence and continuation for Chinese primary schools.
The question is why 16 months later, in the special Parlia¬mentary sitting of March 9, 1993, the Gerakan leadership has gone even further than the MCA Ministers in November 1991 when it unilaterally renounced the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue lan¬guages in Article 152 and the citizenship rights of the non-Malays in Part III of the Malaysian Constitution.
There could only he one reason: The next general elections is getting nearer, and the Gerakan and the MCA., in their competition for UMNO’s favours particularly in the allocation of electoral constituencies, are back in their old game of vying as to who is prepared to give more concession, even though they concern fundamental rights of the people and the community.
The people have reason to worry whether in this competition, the MCA leadership may outbid the Gerakan leadership by making even more outrageous concessions.
DAP calls on the Gerakan and MCA to stop this competition to renounce the fundamental and constitutional rights of the people and community for their own selfish party interests.
In the interests of the rights of the people and the community, I would urge the MCA leadership to clearly repudiate its November 1991 stand renouncing the constitutional basis, foundation and guarantee for the existence and continuation of Chinese primary schools. Similarly, I would urge the Gerakan leadership to openly repudiate its present stand to unilaterally renounce the entrenched constitutional status of mother-tongue languages under Article 152 and the citizenship rights of non-Malays under Part III of the Malaysian Constitution.