Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the prize-giving ceremony for the DAP essay competition to commemorate his 25th anniversary as an elected Member of Parliament at the Cha Clan Association Hall, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 8th September 1994 at 11 a.m.
DAP’s objective in the nest general election to transform the ‘Little Liberalisation’ of the last three years into ‘Big Liberalisation’ is the third phase of the 28-year DAP political struggle for a Malaysian Malaysia.
The DAP’s objective in the nest general election to transform the ‘Little Liberalisation’ of the last three years into ‘Big Liberalisation’ is the third phase of the 28-year DAP political struggle for a Malaysian Malaysia.
In the first phase of the DAP political struggle since its formation in 1966, the DAP held its Vision of a Malaysian Malaysia. This also coincided with the darkest and most dangerous period of nation-building in Malaysia particularly from the sixties to the eighties when the voices of extremism and unreason sought to establish an undemocratic, ‘One Language, One Culture’ Malaysia.
This resulted in the mass migration of Malaysian professionals oversea – a brain drain from which Malaysia has not fully recovered, as otherwise Malaysia could have become the first ‘Little Dragon” and would today be at least four times richer than at present.
In this darkest and most dangerous period of nation-building in Malaysia, the DAP was the lone voice in Parliament and the State Assemblies to oppose, resist and check these undemocratic, ‘One Language, One Culture’ forces.
I shudder to think what Malaysia would be like today if there had been no DAP in the past 28 years, as some of the following events would have come to pass:
The implemention of the ‘ultimate objective’ of the National Education Policy where there is only one language-medium schools, which means the conversion of the Chinese and Tamil primary schools to national primary schools under Section 21(2) of the 1961 Education Act and the deregistration of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools;
Ban on Malacca, the most ancient Chinese cemetery hill in Malaysia symbolizing the 500-year Sino-Malay co-operation and existence would have been demolished, leading to the demolition of other historic cultural and religious heritages in the country;
The successful establishment of ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy, with the following consequences;
Lion dance would have been banned and replaced by tiger dance;
Progressive restriction on the use of other languages apart from Bahasa Malaysia, whether on radio, television, mass media, signboards or other arenas; and
Islamisation in all aspects of national life.
The DAP would have justified its existence and the support which the people had given to it since its formation in 1966, if this is all that the DAP had achieved – as the beacon which steered Malaysians out of the darkest and most dangerous period of her nation-building process.
But the DAP had achieved more than checking and defeating the force of extremism and unreason which wanted to create a ‘One Language, One Cultural’ Malaysia.
In the second phase of the DAP struggle from 1990, the DAP had also succeeded in creating the conditions to force the Barisan Nasional government to embark on ‘Little Liberalisation’ measures in the past three years.
DAP’s pull-out from the NECC in 1989 and the DAP’s second consecutive general election victory in the urban areas in the 1990 general elections were two important factors resulting in the ‘Little Liberalisations’ in the past three years
I had in July challenged both the MCA president, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan president, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to spell out the details of the ‘Little Liberalisations’ in government policies in the past three years, since both the MCA and Gerakan had claimed credit for them.
Neither the MCA President nor the Gerakan President was ble to give a single instance ofj such ‘Little Liberalisations’ in the past three years which the MCA or Gerakan can really claim credit.
The ‘Little Liberalisations’ in the past three years have nothing to do with MCA or Gerakan. Thy have not fallen from the skies, but are the result of the consistent support given by the people for the DAP in the past 28 years for a more just, equal, open and democratic Malaysia.
The DAP’s pull-out from the national Economic Consultative Council (NECC) in 1989 and the DAP’s second consecutive victory in the urban areas in the 1990 general election were important factors creating the condition for the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
The MCA leaders had tried to distort recent history, claiming that the ‘Little Liberalisations’ were the result of the ‘courageous struggle of the MCA’ in the NECC, while the DAP abandoned its responsibility by pulling out of the NECC.
Who willbelieve that the MCA is capable of standing up for the rights of the Malaysia people in general and the Chinese community, whether in Government, Cabinet, Parliament or in the NECC?
The recent farce of the MCA Youth leader, Chan Kong Choy, leading a 51-man delegation to have a dialogue with the Prime Minister, and having to retract his announcement that he had discussed the issue of bumiputra quotas with the Prime Minister, is a good example of the ‘bonelessness’ of not only MCA Youth leaders, but also MCA leaders, in Government, Cabinet, Parliament or in the NECC.
The DAP had not joined the NECC when it was first formed on 19th January 1989, in protest against the continued detention of DAP leaders under the Internal Security Act under Operation Lalang.
When DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng , and I – the last two Operation Lalng detainees – were released in April 1989, the DAP agreed to join the NECC.
Right from the beginning of DAP participation, the DAP pointed out that the NECC in its deliberations for the past four months, had missed its most important objective.
The NECC had its initial meeting formed sub-committees on poverty eradication, restructuring of society, economic performance and human resources development, but there was no subcommittee to assess whether the NEW Economic Policy 1971-1990 had achieved its overriding objective to achieve national unity.
It was at the DAP’s proposal that the NECC set up a special sub-committee to assess the most important problem of nation-building.
However, by August 1989, the DAP felt that there was not much purpose in the DAP continuing in the NECC. This was because the UMNO leaders were not taking the NECC seriously, sending only their third and fourth-rank leaders.
With the MCA and Gerakan representatives playing their traditional role of ‘yes-men’ to UMNO, the DAP decided that it could make a greater impact on influencing post-NEP nation-building policies by pulling out of the NECC instead of remaining in the NECC.
DAP was not the only body which pulled out of NECC. Others who also pulled out of the NECC included Dong Jiao Zhong, the Selangor Chinese Assemble hall, religious representatives like Dr. Paul tan and much later, PRM, PAS and individuals like former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ahmad Nordin, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Chooi Mun Sou and Dr. Jomo K. Sundram.
The DAP’s pull-out from the NECC, coupled with the DAP’s second consecutive general elections victory in the urban areas in the 1990 general elections, forced Mahathir to introduce ‘Little Liberalisations’ in certain economic and educational measures.
However, what the DAP and Malaysians want are not ‘Little Liberalisations’ but ‘Big Liberalisations’, where there would be a full democratization of the political, economic, educational, cultural and other nation-building process in the country.
This is why the DAP has entered into its third phase of our political struggle to realize our objective of a Malaysian Malaysia, and why in the next general elections the central issue of the DAP is to mobilize Malaysian to transform the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years into a ‘Big Liberalisation’ of nation-building policies in Malaysia.
Fauzi should apologies to the Chinese community and all Malaysians for resorting to the politics of intimidation when he said that UMNO would review its ‘liberal’ policies if the Chinese do not vote MCA and Gerakan in next general election.
The statement by the parliament Secretary to the Ministry of Information, Datuk Fauzi Abdul Rahman in Malacca last Sunday 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” is a timely reminder to all Malaysians that they must not take such “Little Liberalisations” for granted and why they must support the DAP’s call for “Big Liberalisation”.
Fauzi should apologies to the Chinese community and all Malaysians for resorting to the politics of intimidation. Furthermore, he has contradicted the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who announced only a few days ago the end of ‘the politice of race’!
Fauzi’s statement is further proof that MCA and Gerakan had contributed nothing to bring about the ‘Little Liberalisations’ of the past three years.
The Fauzi episode, where an UMNO parliamentary secretary could talk louder than the MCA or Gerakan President, has again highlighted the irrelevance and marginalistion of the role of MCA and Gerakam in Barisan Nasional government and politics.
This is because the MCA and Gerakan, which claims to represent the Malaysian Chinese, actually does not represent the Chinese in Government, but represent UMNO to the Chinese community. This is why the MCA and Gerakan Candidates had to depend on UMNO’s Malay votes to win in general elections!
This remain me of what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had to say about the MCA in 1969, as recalled in the book “Mahathir Di Sebalik Tabir” by former Utusan Melayu group editor, Zainuddin Maidin, which was launched by Anwar Ibrahim last week.
This is what Zainuddin Maidin wrote:
Pada 5 Jun 1969, Dr. Mahathir memberikan reaksinya terhadap kenyataan Presiden MCA, Tun Tan Siew Sin untuk tidak menyertai cabinet berikutan dengan kekalahan teruk partinya dalam pilihan raya 1969. Dr. Mahathir berkata, “Tun Tan Siew Sin tak payah tarik diri, MCA sepatutnya disingkirkan dari kabinet.”
Beliau amat tidak senang dengan beberapa buah dewan perniagaan Cina dan lain-lain pertubuhan Cina yang meminta MCA menimbangkan semula keputusan itu. Katanya, “Sokongan dewan-dewan perniagaan Cina Kepada Tun Tan Siew Sin tidak boleh dianggap sebagai sokongan orang Cina secara keseluruhannya.”
“Kalau MCA hendak tahu sama ada ia disokong oleh orang Cina atau tidak maka ia terpaksa menaggu pilihanraya sekali lagi. Untuk menunggu pilihan raya sekali lagi tentulah terlalu lama dan kerana itu MCA tidak mustahak duduk dalam kabinet.”
The above extract explains why the MCA – which could secure only some 20 per cent of Chinese electoral support in the 1990 general elections – and the Gerakan, are so irrelevant and marginalized in the Barisan nasional government and political decision-making process, and have nothing to do with the ‘Little Liberalisaton’ measures of the past three years.
The next general elections will be the DAP’s most difficult general elections as well as most meaningful – as it offers a new opportunity for all Malaysians and assure for future generations a guaranteed future if we can succeed in transforming the ‘Little Liberalisatrion’ of the past few years into a ‘Big Liberalisation’ where all Malaysians enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.
Let Malaysians unite behind the DAP to make the third phase of our political struggle – to achieve a ‘Big Liberalisation’ as a giant leap towards our goal of a Malaysian Malaysia – a most memorable, meaningful and historic one.