by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 26th September 1994:
Malaysian Chinese accept and support the ‘Little Liberalisation’ of the past three years but want the government to know that they are not enough as they want ‘Big Liberalisation’.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information, Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman, said in Malacca yesterday that “if the Government’s present free, moderate and liberal policies still cannot secure the acceptance and support of the Chinese community, UMNO will review such policies”.
This is the first such statement to be made by an UMNO leader and it will not be the last, and this is why it is important that UMNO as well as Barisan Nasional leaders understand the full implications before other UMNO leaders repeat such threats to withdraw or cancel the ‘free, moderate and liberal policies’ unless the Chinese in Malaysia support the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections.
The first question that comes to mind is why did Fauzi make such a threat?
I can think of only one answer. Despite the generally favourable conditions for the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections, the MCA and Gerakan leaders are still worried that they cannot get significant support from the Malaysian Chinese electorate, and they need the help of UMNO leaders to threaten the Chinese voters to support the MCA and Gerakan in the next general elections.
However, the MCA and Gerakan leaders have failed to realise that such threats by UMNO leaders have put them in an even worse light.
The MCA and Gerakan leaders have lately been trying to claim credit for the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the government in the past three years.
Such claims that the MCA and Gerakan Presidents have succeeded in securing little Liberalisations in government policy in the past three years become completely untenable when a UMNO parliamentary secretary can publicly warn that these ‘Little Liberalisations’ could be scrapped if the Chinese do not support the Barisan Nasional in the next, general elections.
This shows that an UMNO Parliamentary Secretary is at any time more influential and powerful than MCA and Gerakan Ministers, even when they are Presidents of MCA and Gerakan.
In fact, when Fauzi said that UMNO might review the ‘Little Liberalisations’ if the Chinese, do not support the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections, Fauzi is openly admitting that these ‘Little Liberalisation’ policies have nothing to do with MCA and Gerakan leaders.
Are the MCA and Gerakan leaders in full agreement with Fauzi that if the Chinese do not support the MCA and Gerakan candidates in the next general elections, they want UMNO to review and scrap the ‘Little Liberalisation’ policies of the past three years?
I challenge the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to declare their respective party stand on Fauzi’s threat in Malacca yesterday!
It is most regrettable and deplorable that in 1994, when the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are talking about the ideals of Vision 2020, there are still people who want to resort to the politics of intimidation as threatening that UMNO will review the ‘Little Liberalisation’ policies if the Chinese do not support the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections.
Fauzi and all UMNO leaders should understand that the Malaysian Chinese accept and support the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years, but they want the Barisan Nasional government to realise that these ‘Little Liberalisations’ are not enough, as they want ‘Big Liberalisation’ so that all Malaysians can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.
The Chinese in Malaysia have the right to support the DAP and vote against the Barisan Nasional in the next general elections, not because they reject the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years, but they want these ‘Little Liberalisations’ to be transformed into a ‘Big Liberalisation’ in all aspects of nation-building.
The ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years do not fall down from the sky or are the result of the ‘charity’ or ‘generosity’ of the UMNO leaders, but had been forced on the government because of the people’s consistent support for the DAP’s political struggle in the past three decades for a more just and equal Malaysia.
Just as the Barisan Nasional government had been forced by the DAP’s 1990 general elections result – where the DAP created history in securing the urban electoral support in two consecutive general elections – to introduce ‘Little Liberalisations’, the people’s next great task, is to get the Barisan Nasional to widen the ‘Little Liberalisations’ into ‘Big Liberalisations’ by voting for the DAP in the next general elections.
I hope the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, could state his stand on Fauzi’s statement, as Anwar had been going, round the country making himself very popular with Chinese crowds with his declaration in Mandarin, ‘We Are All One Family’.
If Fauzi is right, will Anwar, stop declaring in Mandarin that ‘We Are All One Family’ if the MCA and Gerakan are unable to gain significant support from the Chinese voters, in the next general elections and will Anwar then declare in Mandarin ‘We Are Not One Family’?
Fauzi should stop indulging in the politics of threats and intimidation. He should realise that ‘Little Liberalisations’ are not just meant for the Chinese in Malaysia, but for the good of the country as a whole.
If the UMNO leaders want to review and scrap the ‘Little Liberalisations’ after the next general elections, they might as well review and scrap Mahathir’s Vision 2020.
It is people like Fauzi who make such threats who do not really understand the dynamics of Vision 2020.
In fact, if Vision 2020 is to be realised, then the DAP’s call for the transformation of the ‘Little Liberalisations’ into ‘Big Liberalisation’ should be fully supported by Fauzi and the UMNO leadership!