Call on MCA and Gerakan to identify themselves with the democratization forces in the country by officially supporting the lifting of the 16-year ban on public rallies


Speech by Parliament Leader, DAP Secretary-General and mp for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the Perak DAP State 10,000-People Dinner at Tou Bou Kong Hall, Ipoh on Friday, 19th august 1994 at 8 p.m.

Call on MCA and Gerakan to identify themselves with the democratization forces in the country by officially supporting the lifting of the 16-year ban on public rallies

MCA and Gerakan are the two political parties most strongly opposed to the lifting of the 16-year ban on public rallies because they fear that this would be a negative factor for them in the next general elections.

In fact, there are already MCA and Gerakan leaders who are claiming that the lifting of the ban on public rallies will cause grave security problems for the country and result in racial and religious tensions, giving May 13 Incident in 1969 as an example.

This is not only utter nonsense but most irresponsible behaviour on the part of the MCA and Gerakan and I call on these two political parties not to be obstacles to the democratization in Malaysia by opposing the lifting of the 16-year ban on public rallies.

The lifting of public rallies would not cause any security problems not racial or religious tensions, for Malaysians have become mature enough to cherish both their democratic rights as well as inter-racial and inter-religious peace and harmony in Malaysia.

MCA and Gerakan leaders should stop misleading Malaysians into believing that public rallies were banned because it was the cuase of the May 13 riots in 1969.

Public rallies were allowed in the 1974 general elections and were banned by the Police on June 4, 1978 solely for one reason, because the Police wanted to “maintain maximum vigilance from now until Merkeka Day on August 31 because of the possibility of violent incidents on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Communist Party of Malaya on June 20” and “that such incidents may be carried out in States where there have been no previous manifestations of communist activity.”

It is very clear therefore that public rallies were banned in 1978 not because they were a threat to public order or the cause of racial or religious tensions, but solely because of the 30th anniversary of the MCP armed struggle.

The public rally ban was meant for a three-month period to expire on National Day in 1978. Although there was not a single incident during that period to justify the ban, public rallies had been prohibited for the last 16 years.

This is a great test for MCA and Gerakan Whether they stand for democracy, or are prepared to sacrifice democraic principles for their narrow petty party and self-interests.

I call on the MCA and Gerakan leaders to rise above their party and self interests, and identify themselves with the democratization forces in the country by officially declaring their support for lifting the 16-year ban on public rallies.