Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tan long, Lim Kit Siang at the appointment over DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar account with MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lira Keng Yaik at the Emperor Hotel, Malacca on Saturday, July 10, 1993 at 10 a.m.
Liong Sik was a member of the MCA leadership faction which conspired with the Malacca Chief Minister, Rahim Tamby Cik, right from the beginning ten years ago to try to demolish Bukit China
Last week, the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik thought he had eaten ‘the leopard’s heart1 and challenged me to produce within a week the DAP’s Save Bukit China One-person One-dollar account.
Liong Sik should know that DAP leaders are not the same as MCA leaders who could be accused and challenged without, any response. As a result, I accepted his challenge and invited him to come to Emperor Hotel next to Bukit. China today for me to reveal the DAP’ s Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar account.
If I had challenged Liong Sik to produce accounts, I would be there if he dared to do so. For instance, I hereby challenge Liong Sik to produced the RM20 million Chang Min Tien Education Fund account or the Bolton Finance Account and if Liong Sik dare to produce either account, I would be there to question it, even if it is in the heart of the MCA Headquarters.
But Liong Sik is different. He challenged me to produce the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar Account, and when I invited him to this morning’s appointment, he turned tail and dared not attend.
The reason is very simple. Liong Sik knew that he was making wild allegations which are completely baseless which he could not substantiate in a public encounter as this morning’s appointment.
There is of course another deeper reason why Liong Sik dare not keep the Bukit China appointment this morning.
Challenge to Liong Sik to deny that he was fully privy to the conspiracy of Rahim Tamby Cik to demolish Bukit China ten year ago
This is because Liong Sik was a member of the MCA leadership faction which conspired with the Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tarriby Cik, ten years ago to try to demolish the most ancient Chinese cemetry hill in Malaysia – Bukit China.
I challenge Liong Sik to deny that he was fully privy to the conspiracy of Rahim Tamby Cik ten years ago to demolish Bukit China, dig up the 12,000 graves which had rested on Bukit China for centuries, throw .them into the sea and use the soil for land reclamation so that a commercial centre can rise up from a levelled Bukit, China and create fortunes for UMNO and MCA leaders.
I have received information pointing clearly to the fact that Liong Sik was fully involved in the conspiracy of Rahim Tamby Cik ten years ago to demolish Bukit China, and I challenge him to a public meeting for him to deny it. I am prepared to produce evidence to prove that Liong Sik was actively involved in Rahim Tamby Cik’s conspiracy to demolish Bukit China ten years ago at this public meeting.
Today’s appointment is very significant, because it was exactly ten years ago that the Malacca Chief Minister, Rahim Tamby Cik, conceived his conspiracy with the advice and support of the MCA faction leadership of which Liong Sik was a prominent leader to demolish Bukit. China.
As Rahiin Tamby Cik said at the time, Bukit China was a ‘white elephant’ for Malacca town, and as Liong Sik’s MCA leadership faction argued, the people of Malacca should not ‘live in history’, but must be prepared to demolish Bukit China to allow for development of a housing and a commercial centre!
If not for DAP’s Save Bukit China campaign, Bukit Chins would have been demolished today
There is no doubt that if not for the opposition mounted by the DAP which launched a nation-wide Save Bukit China campaign, Bukit China in Malacca today would have been levelled!
It is most shocking that Liong Sik, who was a leader of the MCA faction which conspired with Rahiin Tamby Cik ten years ago to demolish Bukit China, could now claim to be the ‘saviour’ of Bukit China.
However, he was smart enough in not pressing his preposterous claim too far as to attend this morning’s Bukit China appointment!
The Greeks have a saying that “those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad”. Liong Sik seems to think that just, because he has become all-powerful in MCA – crushing all opposition in the MCA where Datuk Lee Kim Sai has become a ‘lame-duck’ MCA Deputy President – he could take on the DAP, forgetting that he has got a lot of ‘skeletons in his cupboard’.
Liong Sik should be thoroughly ashamed of his role in conspiring with Rahim Tamby Cik ten years ago to demolish Bukit China. At the height of the Save Bukit China campaign launched by the DAP, even the former MCA President, the late Tun Tan Siew Sin, told the Malacca State Government to lay its hands off Bukit. China. Bapa Malaysia and the first Malaysian Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman also advised Rahim Tamby Cik and his MCA conspirators “that the best way to handle Bukit China is not to touch Bukit China”
DAP’s success to save Bukit China from demolition is one of DAP’s greatest political successes in its political struggle
DAP’ s success to save Bukit China from demolition is one of DAP’s greatest political successes in its political struggle, for it is not just the saving of a cemetry hill, but the saving of the roots of the Malaysian Chinese in Malaysia, the historical evidence of Chinese contribution to Malaysian nation-building more than 500 years ago and the cultural heritage of Malaysia as the product of a Sino-Malay co-operation going back to the fifteen century!
Of course, the DAP leaders and supporters paid a heavy price for the success of saving Bukit China ten years ago.
DAP leaders, for instance, were arrested and. charged in court for taking part in the numerous DAP Save Bukit China campaign activities, like the weekly Save Bukit China walk-arid-jog up Bukit. China itself; the Save Bukit China cycle-relay from Kuala Lumpur to Malacca; the Save Bukit China long-march to Bukit China from three different starting points namely Alor Star, Kuantan and Johore Bahru; the Save Bukit China ceramahs and dinners through the country; the 300,000 Save Bukit China signature campaign and lastly the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign.
I did not take a single cent from the Save Bukit China campaign, on the contrary my role in the Save Bukit China campaign was an important reason why I was detained for a second time for 18 months under the Internal Security Act during Operation Lalang in 1987.
I do not regret for one moment being detained under ‘the Internal Security Act for leading the campaign to save Bukit China, and would do so again -without hesitation. But MCA leaders like Liong Sik should understand why we cannot allow them to question our integrity as insinuating that we have made money from the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign.
For the record, it was in October 1983 that it first became known that the Malacca Chief Minister, Rahim Tamby Cik, in conspiracy with MCA faction leaders including Liong Sik, wanted to demolish Bukit China, excavate the 12,000 graves on the ancient cemetry hill to throw them into the sea for- land reclamation and convert the area into a housing and commercial complex.
However, it was only in February 1984 when the Bukit. China issue became a public controversy. In April 1984, the DAP pursued the issue in the Malacca State Assembly and declared our opposition to the plot to demolish Bukit China.
In August, 1984 I announced the DAP Save Bukit China signature campaign with a target of 200,000 signatures, but we collected 300,000 signatures in less than three months which we presented to Cheng Hoon Teng trustees in early November 1984.
At the end of November 1984, the Malacca State Government escalated its pressure to demolish Bukit China by demanding payment of $2 million quit rent and arrears for 17 years going back to 1967.
This was why on 7th December 1984, I announced the launching of DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign for the legal fight against the unfair and oppressive $2 million quit, rent demand.
The purpose of the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign was not the amount of funds to be collected, but the symbolic support for the cause by the maximum number of Malaysians
The whole objective of the campaign was not the amount of funds to be collected, but, to get every Malaysian citizen to contribute at least, a symbolic one dollar to demonstrate his support for the Save Bukit China campaign.
This was why in the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign, we only printed receipts for one dollar, five dollars and ten dollars as the objective ‘was not so much the money as the mass support for the Save Bukit China campaign and to fight the unfair $2 million quit rent demand by the Malacca State Government.
We had intended to give ourselves two to three years so that the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign could reach the maximum number of Malaysians, but in the event, we called off the campaign in less than a month – before the campaign had got into full swing.
This was because on 1985 New Year’s Day, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, warned that racial polarisation in the country was reaching a critical stage. In response to Dr. Mahathir’s statement, DAP announced on January 2, 1985 that it was prepared to co-operate to reduce racial tensions and voluntarily announced the suspension of the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign. In return, we asked that the Malacca State Government should reciprocate with three measures, namely: cancel the Malacca State Government’s plan to compel the development of Bukit China, withdraw the $2 million quit, rent demand and withdraw the State Government notice to acquire a portion of Bukit China for road construction.
Although the DAP Save Bukit. China One-Person One-Dollar Campaign campaign was only at its initial stage before it was suspended, and before anyone demanded to know the amount -we had collected, we announced on 15th February 1985 the total sum we had collected in the first three weeks of the campaign.
This statement was issued by the DAP National Publicity Secretary, Sdr. Liew Ah Kim on 15th February 1985 announcing that the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign had collected $21,928.50, with the following state-by-state breakdown:
Negri Sembilan 1,115.00
I would say that it was very creditable effort, that the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar campaign could reach some 20,000 persons in the initial period of three weeks, before it had gone into full swing.
This amount had since been kept, separately in fixed deposit, and as at 15th June 1993, it totalled RM33,732.79 including interest .
It. is not that the DAP did not want to hand over the collections from the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar Campaign to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Incorporated – the trustees of Bukit China.
Exchange of Letters between Lim Kit Siang and Ee Yew Lin in July 1985
In fact, on 4th July 1985, I wrote to the then Chairman of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Incorporated, Ee Yew Lin, as follows:
Mr. Ee Yew Lin,
Cheng Hoon ‘Teng Temple Incorporated,
No. 22, (Upper Floor of No. 20),
Jalan Gelanggang, Malacca.
DAP’s Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar Campaign
As you are aware, following the ultimatum issued by the Malacca State Government at the end of November for the payment of the $2 million quit rent, arrears and fines for Bukit China within a month, the DAP launched a One-Person One-Dollar campaign to organise and highlight the people’s protest against such a high-handed and oppressive demand.
The campaign was later suspended to create conditions to allow for an amicable settlement of the entire Bukit China issue, including the $2 million Bukit China quit rent demand.
While we waited the outcome of the attempts to reach such a settlement to the Bukit China issue, as far back as in February this year, our Malacca DAP Organising Secretary, Sdr. Chia Kee Teck contacted your goodself to make arrangement for the handling over of the monies which we had collected from the One-Person One-Dollar campaign. The total collection of the campaign, amounting to $21,928.50, was announced in the local press by the Chairman of the Campaign Committee, Sdr. Liew Ah Kirn, on 16th February 1985.
However, at your suggestion that we hold the monies for the present, we have not yet handed this collection over to the Cheng Boon Teng Temple Incorporated.
We now find ourselves in the invidious position of being repeatedly accused of bad faith, insincerity and even criminal breach of trust in not handling the collection over to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Incorporated. In fact, there were even suggestions that either my party or I myself had misappropriated the monies for our own use.
I do not know the reason for your suggestion that we hold the monies for the moment, but in view of the unfounded accusations being levelled against my comrades and I, I am writing to you to find out whether the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Incorporated is in a position to accept the monies concerned, which we are ready to hand over at any time.
May I end by expressing my great admiration for the firm stand taken by you and the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple trustees in defence of the people’s constitutional rights in the Bukit China issue.
(Lim Kit Siang)
This was the reply from Mr. Ee Yew Lin:
“19th July 1985
The Honourable Mr.Lim Kit Siang,
Parti Tindakan Demokratik,
(HQ)77, Road 20/0, Paramount Garden,
Dear Mr. Lim Kit Siang,
Thank you for your letter of 4th July, 1985 which I have referred to the Trustees. The Trustees are grateful to the Democratic Action Party for the action in starting a fund.
We are concerned to learn that accusations have been made against your Party with regard to the disposal of the money which you have collected. We confirm your statement that your campaign was suspended in order to create a climate in which negotiations could take place with Government with a view to an amicable settlement.
We also confirm your paragraphs 3 and 4.
These negotiations are still in progress and although slow and intermittent we nevertheless believe that there is a possibility that amicable settlement will be reached.
Both sides have agreed not to disclose any details of the course of the negotiations until settlement is reached.
This decision was made with a view to depoliticising the dispute.
If it is possible the Trustees would prefer that you should retain this Trust Money in your Account pending clarification of the situation.
As already stated the Trustees would prefer if possible that the matter should remain in abeyance for the time being.
The Trustees reciprocate the kind expression of goodwill in the ultimate paragraph of your letter.
(Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Inc.)
On 8th September 1992, the DAP National Organising Secretary, Sdr. Kerk Kim Hock was instructed by the DAP Central Executive Committee: to write to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Trustees on the handling over of the Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar fund, which stood at RM31,225.09 with interest.
Cheng Hoon Teng replied on 30-th September 199.2 through its Secretaries with the following letter:
“Mr. Kerk Kim Hock,
National Organising Secretary,
Democratic Action Party (Headquarters},
24, Jalan 20/9,
46300 Petaling Jaya,
Save Bukit China Fund
Thank you for your letter dated 8th September 1992 regarding your party’s intention to hand over the above Fund standing at $31,225.09 as at 5 August 1992 to the Standing Committee of the Temple. We have been instructed by the Standing Committee to inform you that the Standing Committee have already resolved that the monies donated by well-wishers to the Corporation’s Bukit China Fund for the purpose of paying quit rent is no longer required and shall be refunded to the donors since the Bukit China quit rent case in Court has already been resolved.
Consequently, the Standing Committee have to decline your very kind and generous offer with thanks.
On behalf of the Standing Committee, we wish to express our appreciation of your party’s concern and support for the Corporation’s cause and efforts to resolve the Quit, Rent issue.
For: Tan Swi Chay & Co. Sdn. Bhd.
On 8th December 1992, Sdr. Kerk wrote again to the Chairman of Cheng Hoon Teng Trustees as follows:
Cheng Hoon Teng Trustees,
Save Bukit China Fund
Thank you for your reply dated 30 September via Tan Swi Chay & Co. Sdn. Bhd, (Secretaries),
I have been further instructed by our Central Executive Committee to inform you of our wish to contribute the Save Bukit China Fund standing at. $31,225.09 as at 5 August 1992 towards the Bukit China Beautification Committee to erect a Memorial commemorating the successful struggle to save and preserve Bukit China from being levelled by Melaka State Government in 1983-84.
Kindly let us know if you are agreeable to our idea of contributing the fund to the Beautification Committee and would you please inform us as to how we can approach the Beautification Committee.
(Kerk Kim Hock} National Organising Secretary”
We are still “waiting for a reply from Cheng Hoon Teng Trustees,
DAP reserves the right to take legal action against all allegations of impropriety with regard to the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar Fund
I want to declare that the DAP reserves the right to take legal action against all allegations of impropriety with regard to the DAP Save Bukit China One-Person One-Dollar Fund.
DAP lawyers have been instructed to study the entire matter with the view to initiate legal proceedings.