Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, when launching the new book of collection of political speeches and writings by DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Siputeh, Liew Ah Kim at the Selangor Assembly Hall on Tuesday, October 18, 1.994 at 7.30 pm
DAP to launch a nation-wide campaign to spread the message of ‘Full Liberalisation’ to achieve it Malaysian Malaysia to all parts of the country tor the next three months
When Ah Kim asked me to contribute a foreword to his new book, I re-read some of his political writings which I had first read when I was in Kamunting Detention Centre for 19 months as an Internal Security Act detainee after the Operation Lalang arrests in October 1987.
They reminded me of the encouragement and upliftment which these writings gave me at that time for it was most heart¬ening to know that the battle for justice, equality and freedom for all Malaysians for which I had lost my freedom for the second time was still being waged unremittingly outside. In fact, some of Ah Kim’s writings in his new book was directly inspired by the Operation Lalang mass detentions at the time.
Recently, I was going through some of the papers of my first Internal Security Act detention in 1969, such as the allegations setting the grounds for my detention; my rebuttal to the grounds for my detention; and some of my correspondence while in detention, including my two letters to the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman both in August 1969 offering a formula for restoring national unity, democracy, peace and harmony in Malaysia after the May 13 riots.
I later found that both these letters to Tunku never reached him, for he was at that time rapidly losing power although he was still in name the Prime Minister of Malaysia for another year or so.
There is one common underlying theme to Ah Kim’s latest book of political writings, my papers of my first ISA detention 25 years ago, and in fact, throughout the political struggle of the DAP in the past 28 years – our mission for a just, equal and democratic Malaysian Malaysia.
The reasons why I was detained in 1969 under the Internal Security Act were the same for my second ISA detention in 1987 – although the so-called ‘facts’ and ‘allegations’ used by the Home Ministry were different.
In both my ISA detentions, the central grounds are the DAP’s opposition to ‘One Language, One Culture’ policy and our espousal of a Malaysian Malaysia
Central to both sets of grounds of detention to incar¬cerate me under the ISA in 1969 and 1987 were the DAP’s opposi¬tion to ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy and our espousal of a Malaysian Malaysia.
On 30th July 1969, I issued a point-by-point rebuttal to the six allegations as grounds for my detention, and I con¬cluded my rebuttal with the following words:
“My every public statement and stand was motivated by my sense of Malaysian nationalism and patriot¬ism. I was born in Malaysia and I shall die in Malaysia. I have no other land as my home. I have children who are growing up in Malaysia and who are going to live in Malaysia. I feel that it is my duty to do my part to build a multi-racial society and harmonious Malaysia, for without such a society, all Malaysians will suffer.”
On 31st December 1969, I send a letter to the DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin and to all party leaders and members from detention in Muar reaffirming my faith in a Malaysian Malaysia, where I said:
“We must get more and more Malaysians to accept, in principle and in practice, the following funda¬mental propositions of multi-racialism:
That no race is a master or super race in Malaysia.
That Malaysia should not be dominated by by any one race, whether in politics, economics or culture.
That Malaysia is not the exclusive home or any one race, but the home of all Malaysian citizens.
That a model Malaysian is not a Malay, a Chinese or an Indian, but any Malaysian-minded and centred citizen, whose primary affiliation is to the nation and not to race.”
When 18 years later, I was detained for the second time under the Internal Security Act, I was served with ten allega¬tions as grounds for my detention.
After my point-to-point rebuttal to the allegations, I concluded:
“The DAP’s actions throughout all these years have been guided by the spirit of contributing to nation-building by quenching racial fires, and not to nation-razing by sparking them. For this reason, we dare to challenge anyone to cite any issue of racial connota¬tions which had been sparked off by the DAP. These issues have, invariably, been started or sparked off by the Barisan Nasional leaders at the Federal or state government level, and the DAP joined issue to defuse them of their potential for racial tensions that would surely undermine national under¬standing and unity if these issues are al¬lowed to ferment and fester.”
Many DAP leaders, members and supporters went through great sacrifices for their steadfast commitment to the ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia in the past 28 years, whether ISA detentions, court prosecutions or other forms of persecutions and harassments.
Liew Ah Kim is one of the handful of DAP leaders left who had devoted over two decades of our life to the ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia and are still in the forefront of the struggle
Liew Ah Kim is one of the handful of DAP leaders left who had devoted over two decades of our life to the ideals of a Malaysian Malaysia and who are still in the forefront of the struggle, led most notably by the DAP National Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin (who would be celebrating his 70th birthday next month), and includes DAP Natiorial Deputy Chairman, Karpal Singh, Deputy
Secretary-General P. Patto, Deputy National Treasurer, Fong Kati Lun, International Secretary, Gooi Hock Seng, CEC members Peter Dason, Chian Heng Kai, Lau Dak Kee, Chua Kow Eng, and State Assemblymen Mahadevan Nair, Loh Jee Mee and Wong Yauk.
Contrary to what many may expect, we welcome the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ in the past three years, because these are the minor fruits’ of the national struggle for a Malaysian Malaysia in the past-three decades.
These ‘Minor Liberalisation’ did not fall from the skies, have nothing to do with the MCA or Gerakan and are not because of the ‘generosity of heart’ of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
How can MCA, for instance, claim credit for these ‘Minor Liberalisation’ when the MCA leaders dare not speak up for the legitimate rights and interests of the. Malaysian Chinese in Government, Cabinet or even in Parliament?
After the 1990 general elections, where the MCA could not get more than 25 per cent of Chinese electoral support, the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Silk said that the Malaysian Chinese should be contented because the Chinese in Malaysia have more political, economic, educational and religious rights and freedoms than the Chinese in any other country.
This was Liong Sik’s response to the public accusation of UMNO and UMNO leaders that the Chinese in Malaysia were ‘ungrateful’ and asked what they wanted in not supporting the MCA and Gerakan in 1990 general elections.
At that time, the MCA and Gerakan leaders could not reply to UMNO leaders that the Chinese in Malaysian wanted ‘Full Liberalisation’ nor had they any idea of ‘Minor Liberalisation’. This is the best rebuttal of their present claim that they had been responsible for the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years.
While the people welcome the ‘Minor Liberalisation’, they must not be deluded into thinking that there is anything permanent or unchanging.
I remember in 1971, there was great euphoria in the country when the Silver Star Artistic Troupe from Hong Kong with a glittering and well-known pro-Peking cast including allowed into Malaysia for the first time and performed to capacity crowds in eight nights of performance in various parts of the country.
The Silver Star Artistic Troupe ushered a sense greater ‘liberalisation’ in the country, but this did not prevent the severities and the early eighties becoming the most dangerous period of nation-building in Malaysia where if not for the DAP, the ‘One Language, One Culture’ Policy would now be in an ad¬vanced stage of implementation with all its horrendous conse-quences.
While the people welcome the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years, they must make clear that what they want is not ‘Minor Liberalisation’ but ‘Full Liberalisation’ involving basic policy changes in all aspects of nation-building policies where every Malaysian enjoys an equal place under the Malaysian sun.
The next great battle of those who 28 years ago set out to establish a Malaysian Malaysia is therefore to translate -the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the last three years into ‘Full Liberalisation’ to achieve a Malaysian Malaysia.
The next general elections is therefore not about whether the people support ‘Minor Liberalisation’, but whether the people want ‘Full Liberalisation’.
It is most unfortunate that those who had not contributed to the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ are now trying to sabotage the campaign for ‘Full Liberalisation’ by scare-mongering that it would lead to unrest, chaos and disintegration as happened to the Soviet Union.
I would leave to another forum to rebut such baseless and irresponsible scare-mongering, but would like to ask these scare-mongers as to how the implemention of the following five measures under the DAP’s ten democratisation measures of ‘Full Liberalisation’ could tear Malaysian asunder as they are warning:
*The lifting of the ban on public rallies;
*The repeal of the annual licensing laws for newspapers;
*The repeal of the ‘ultimate objective’ of the National Education Policy;
*Making Anti-Corruption Agency fully independent answerable only to Parliament and with powers to confiscate unusual and extraordinary wealth of Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar; and
*Conducting a fair, free and clean general elections where opposition parties are allowed fair and equal access to the mass media, whether news¬papers, radio or television channels.
DAP will next month launch a nation-wide campaign to spread the message of ‘Full Liberalisation’ to achieve our objective of a Malaysian Malaysia and this campaign will be taken to all parts of the country for the next three months.