I have no regrets in devoting 28 years of my life to the DAP political ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Federal Territory DAP State Dinner held at Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Thursday, 30th June 1994 at 9 pm to commemorate his 25th anniversary as elected Member of Parliament

I have no regrets in devoting 28 years of my life to the DAP political ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia

I was asked last night whether I have any regrets in being an elected MP for 25 years.

My answer was short and brief: I have no regrets whatsoever in devoting 28 years of my life to the DAP political ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia.

In the past 28 years of my political struggle, there had been great trials and tribulations, ups and downs, joys and sorrows, elation and disappointment and sometimes even despair.

However, even though I had been incarcerated twice under the Internal Security Act, the first time for 17 months from 1969 to 1970 and the second time for 18 months under Operation Lalang from 1987 to 1989, I have never felt regret for dedicating the best part of my life to the political struggle to realise the DAP ideals of freedom, justice, equality and wellbeing for all Malaysians.

Even in the darkest and loneliest moments during my two ISA detentions, when at times I felt despair, I never regretted embarking on the political ‘long march’ in Malaysia.

I should have even less reason now to feel regret for the DAP is beginning to see the fruits of our political struggle, and sacrifices, including the DAP’s lonely parliamentary battle particularly in the dangerous seventies and eighties.

The ‘minor and limited’ liberalisations in certain economic and education fields in the past three years would not have been possible if in the 1970s and 1980s, the DAP had not waged a lonely but courageous battle in Parliament to check undemocratic and extremist farces and stoutly defended Malaysia as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysian.

If these who wanted a ‘One Language, One Culture and One Religion’ Malaysia had been allowed to carry out their grand designs unchallenged and unchecked by the DAP, Malaysia today would be a very different nation and society – and there would be no room for the ‘minor arid limited’ liberalisations in certain education and economic fields in the past three years.

Many DAP leaders paid a heavy price for this political battle in the defence of a democratic, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia in the seventies and eighties – including losing their personal freedoms, most notably Sdr. Chan Kok Kit and Sdr. Chian Heng Kai, both of whom were detained for four years and nine months under the ISA.

With the ‘minor, and limited liberalisations’ in the last three years, these sacrifices by the DAP leaders have not been completely in vain.

However, what DAP and the people want are not mere ‘minor and limited liberalisations’, but full and major liberalisations of the entire nation-building policy so that every Malaysian can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun, and everybody can truly claim that ‘We Belong To One Family’ – as Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is fond of saying.

Malaysians of all races cannot claim that ‘We Belong To One Family’ so long as they are divided into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras, or when the government is only content with ‘minor and limited liberalisations’.

The DAP has now a completely new and even greater political challenge for the future – to translate the ‘limited and minor’ liberalisations into ‘full and major liberalisations’ in the country.