Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Alor Star DAP Branch 20th anniversary dinner held in Dewan Tou Mou Kong, Alor Star on Friday, 18st June 1993 at 7 p.m.
MCA’s Langkawi Project is the best proof of the complete marginalization of MCA’s political role in the Barisan Nasional Government
MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, is now laying claim to be a greet MCA President because of the RM20 million Langkawi Project.
I am not a MCA member and I am not interested in whether Liong Sik is regarded by MCA members as the greatest President of MCA in its 44-year history, greater than Tan Koon Swan, Neo Yee Pan, Lee San Choon, Tan Siew Sin and Tan Cheng Lock.
But I think it is a greet tragedy that in a party which claims to be the sole political representative of the five million Malaysian Chinese, the RM20 million Langkawi Project could be regarded as justification to lay claim to be the greatest MCA President in MCA history!
The RM20 million Langkawi Project is ‘chicken-feed’ when the Government’s total budget this year is RM44 billion and Bank Negara’s RM16 billion forex losses is equivalent to 800 Langkawi Projects
In the present Malaysian scheme of things, the RM20 million Langkawi Project is just chicken-feed! Bank Negara, for instance, lost RM12.8 billion to RM16 billion in foreign exchange pound in the British currency crisis last September.
The RM16 billion foreign exchange losses of Bank Negara last year I equivalent to 800 Langkawi Projects, but Liong Sik and the other three MCA Ministers dare not raise a single query in the Cabinet to demand for full accountability for Bank Negara’s forex losses.
When the country first achieved independence in 1957, it was the result of the common effort of all races in the country, and this was given recognition by the fact that the most senior MCA Cabinet Minister occupies the important Cabinet portfolio of Finance Minister.
Today, MCA leaders only hope for the post of Deputy Finance Minister, and no one in the MCA leadership would dare to ask for the Finance Ministry for the MCA.
If the MCA had played a full and equal role in the Barisan Nasional Government, and its most senior Cabinet Minister had continued to be Finance Minister, it would be responsible for the RM44 billion government budgets for this year and it would have regarded a RM20 million Langkawi Project as most pitiable and insignificant.
In fact, agencies to uplift bumiputeras like MARA, UDA, PERNAS and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) would not touch a project which has a price-tag of only RM20 million!
However, the MCA had become so marginalized in the Barisan Nasional Government that the MCA President regards it as a great feat to have a RM20 million Langkawi Project, although RM20 million is only 0.04 per cent of a RM44 billion budget!
The UMNO leadership in Government has nothing to lose to lend Cabinet support and approval to MCA’s Langkawi Project, when the government does not have to give a single cent for the RM20 million Langkawi project – which would only tantamount to only 0.04 per cent of this year’s total government budget.
It is clear right from the beginning that the MCA’s Langkawi Project is not a educational project, but a political scheme. Liong Sik would probably get at least l00 per cent political profit from the scheme – i.e. it is politically worth l00 times the RM20 million – although educationally, it is unlikely to be worth even one per cent – or RM200,000!
Mahathir should appoint Liong Sik as Education Minister if he could be a miracle-worker’ and rectify the educational imbalances between urban and rural school-children with RM20 million
From the MCA blaze of publicity in the past few months, one would be forgiven for believing that the MCA’s RM20 million Langkawi Project is a ‘miracle cure’ to resolve the problem of imbalances in educational standards, attainments and motivations between urban and rural school-children which the government had failed to achieve since Merdeka in l957, and despite implementing the 3-M or KBSR system a decade ago.
It would be interesting to find out whether Liong Sik and the MCA leaders honestly believe that the MCA’s RM20 million Langkawi Project can rectify the educational imbalances between the rural and urban school-children, when the government has failed in this regard although it is spending over RM7 billion alone on the Education Ministry this year.
Is Liong Sik aware that the Government had spent RM760 million on primary education under the Fifth Malaysia Plan between l986-l990 and estimated to spend RMl.02 billion under the Sixth Malaysia Plan, and despite such expenditures the Education Minister, Datuk Dr. Sulaiman Daud dare not boast that the government could rectify the imbalances of educational standards, attainments and motivation between urban and rural school children.
If Liong Sik could achieve this result with a RM20 million Langkawi Project, then he is a ‘miracle-worker’, and I suggest that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, should appoint Liong Sik as Education Minister not only to show Malaysians, but the whole world, how with RM20 million, the educational imbalances between urban and rural school children could be rectified.
The RM20 million Langkawi Project is a mere MCA political gimmick, especially as the MCA leaders could make use of their government positions to coerce members of the public and select individuals who had benefitted from the government’s privatization programme to donate the entire sum.
What has happened to all the promises of development grants for DAP constituencies ‘adopted’ by MCA Ministers before the last general elections
Malaysians must still remember the highly-publicized MCA scheme before the last general elections, where MCA Ministers went round the country to adopt DAP constituencies, on the ground that these constituencies had been neglected in the national development process.
MCA Ministers made numerous promises about development plans and financial allocations for these ‘adopted’ DAP constituencies, but once the MCA lost in the last general elections, all the promises were promptly forgotten and not a single cent which had been pledged had been honoured.
Undoubtedly, the same would happen to the Langkawi project after the next general elections. Once the MCA found that the Langkawi project has not been able to help them politically to defend current MCA constituencies, all the rural areas and schools which had been adopted by the MCA under the Langkawi Project would be abandoned in the same way as the DAP constituencies which had been adopted by MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers were abandoned after the last general elections.
Anybody who has an elementary idea of the reasons for the educational backwardness of rural school children will know that the RM20 million Langkawi Project is a ‘mere drop in the ocean’ and cannot even touch the surface of the problem. The real problem lies with adequate government funding and development of the rural school facilities, such as adequate trained-teachers, etc.
If RM20 million can rectify the imbalances of educational standards and attainments between urban and rural school children, the problem would have been resolved more than two decades ago, and not wait for Liong Sik’s RM20 million Langkawi project.
In fact, if RM20 million is all that is needed to resolve the gap between urban and rural schools, the MCA Ministers and MPs have sufficient fund to raise this sum on their own.
This is because MCA MPs enjoy the RM300,000 allocation per year for minor development purposes in their constituencies, and MCA Assemblymen are given between RMl00,000 to RM200,000 a year for the same purpose. Without taking into consideration the larger allocations given to MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers, if all the MCA MPs and Assemblymen are prepared to devote their total constituency minor development allocations for two years for the Langkawi project, they would have more than RM20 million without having to ask for a single cent from the public!
Langkawi Project is MCA’s ‘secret weapon’ to ensure the election of MCA Ministers in next general elections because it has lost confidence in the ability of UMNO to muster Malay votes for MCA candidates
The RM20 million Langkawi Project is actually MCA’s ‘secret weapon’ to ensure the election of MCA Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the next general elections because it has lost confidence in the ability of UMNO to muster Malay votes for MCA candidates, as in all previous general elections.
The MCA leaders are aware that the UMNO will be facing a grave test among the Malay voters in the next general elections as a result of the recent constitutional crisis and the conflict between the UMNO leadership and the Malay Rulers.
If UMNO faces difficulty in mustering Malay voter support for itself in the next general elections, it will find it even more difficult to deliver the bank of Malay votes to the MCA candidates in the rural areas, as in all past general elections.
This poses a great crisis for MCA leaders, particularly MCA Ministers and deputy Ministers, who had traditionally depended on UMNO’s Malay votes to get elected into Parliament.
This was why the MCA’s Langkawi Project was born – an attempt by MCA itself to win support in the rural areas because it has lost confidence in the ability of UMNO to deliver Malay votes to the MCA candidates.