Speech- by Parliamentary General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Slang at the Jalan Bendahara nine-storey-flat to launch off the DAP nation-wide Full Liberalisation campaign starting in Malacca on 19 November 1994
Full Liberalisation should be the foremost and primary issue in the next general elections,
Tonight, the DAP officially launches the nation-wide Fall Liberalisation campaign to ensure that the minor liberalisation of the last four years takes a giant step forward not only to undo the injustices and inequalities of government policies of the past but also to lay a firm foundation for full liberalisation and in the country,
I do not propose to waste time with MCA and Gerakan leaders claiming who is responsible for minor liberalisation of government policies in the last four years – whether it is the DAP, or the MCA and the Gerakan..
When I first identified Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s minor liberalisation moves in certain educational and economic fields two years ago the MCA and Gerakan leaderships were not even aware that such minor liberalisation moves were afoot.
The reason was simple. When Mahathir initiated the minor liberalisation moves in 1991, it was not because of the representations and pressures from the MCA and Gerakan leaders. In fact, if the MCA and Gerakan leaders had their way, there would have been no minor liberalisation of government, nation-building policies at all.
This was why after the 1990 general elections, when UMNO and UMNO leaders reprimanded the Chinese electorate and questioned why they were so ‘ungrateful’ as not to support MCA and Gerakan candidates, no MCA or Gerakan leader dared to come forward to defend the democratic rights of the Malaysian Chinese to choose whatever party and candidate they want.
Instead, the MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik ‘added oil to the fire’ by publicly declaring that the Malaysian Chinese should be contented with their position in Malaysia, claiming that the Chinese in Malaysia were very fortunate in having more political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious rights as compared, to the Chinese in other counties.
If Mahathir had taken Liong Sik’s opinion, that the Chinese were already ‘heaven’s favourite children’ in Malaysia, then there would have been no minor liberalisation of government nation-building policies in the last four years
If Mahathir had taken Liong Sik’s opinion, that the Chinese were already ‘heaven’s favourite children’ in Malaysia, then there would have been no minor liberalisation government nation-building policies in the last, four years.
In the earlier three great DAP general elections victories in the urban areas in 1969, 1978 and 1986, MCA and Gerakan leaders, had been able to convince the UMNO leadership that there was no need for my basic nation-building policy changes as the Chinese, electorate in the urban areas operated under the ‘law of the pendulum’ and would return to the Barisan Nasional fold in the subsequent general elections.
The MCA and Gerakan leaders were making the same case That there was no need for any basic nation-building policy changes after -the 1990 general elections and this was why Liong Sik came out with the theory That the Chinese are ‘heaven’s favorite children’ in Malaysia.
It was because Mahathir has become a wiser Prime Minister after fighting the DAP for three general elections that he was not influenced by Liong Sik’s theory. He realised that the DAP’s second consecutive victory in the urban areas in the 1990 general elections required a more intelligent and flexible response as compared to previous, DAP general elections victories in 1969, 1978 and 1986.
Furthermore, in the first meeting of Parliament in December 1990, the DAP made it very clear that in the national interest the UMNO leadership should understand why the Chinese in Malaysia had rejected MCA and Gerakan in the 1990 general elections, that what the Chinese wanted were their basic citizenship birthrights and a review of government nation-building policies.
Credit to Mahathir for being pragmatic enough to initiate minor liberalisation
Mahathir realised that if the DAP can create history by securing Chinese urban electoral support for two consecutive general elections, the Barisan Nasional Government cannot take for granted that the Chinese in Malaysia would behave in accordance with the ‘pendulum theory’ and would return to the Barisan Nasional fold in the subsequent general elections.
Instead, the Barisan Nasional government would have to compete with the DAP to win over the support of the Chinese urban electorate.
I give credit to Mahathir for being pragmatic enough to read the signs of the times. It is a great pity that leaders who claim to represent the Malaysian Chinese in government have been so obtuse, myopic and slow-witted as not to realise the depth of the aspirations of the Chinese in Malaysia for liberalisation and democratisation so that they can become full Malaysians in the full sense of the word.
Having failed to contribute to the minor liberation of the past four years, the MCA and Gerakan leaders should have taken the lead to ask Mahathir to transform the minor liberalisation into full liberalization. Instead, they have taken public position opposition the Full Liberalisaion call of the DAP.
MCA and Gerakan propagandists have no real answer to the DAP’s call for Full Liberalisation expect to hurl abuses and invectives and to claim that the DAP is not fit to advocate Full Liberalisation.
In actual fact, it is the MCA and the Gerakan who are not fit to talk about Full Liberalisation not only because they are threatening the people that Full Liberalisation would created chaos and havoc in Malaysia, tear the country asunder, but also because they had done nothing in the last two decades to prepare the conditions for the minor liberalization of the past four years and its translation into a Full Liberalisation.
In the past thirty years, the DAP had faced unpopularity, opprobrium and persecution and detention of its leaders to unfurl the standard of multi-racialism, multi-lingualism, and multi-culturalism and checked the powerful extremist forces which wanted to create a ‘one-language, one-culture and one-religion’ Malaysia.
In many cases, the DAP was painted as anti-national and even disloyal forces for speaking up for rights of the people. A classic case was the Bukit Cina issue in Malacca state government’s plan to demolish Bukit Cina and DAP leaders were warned by top government leaders that they would have to face dire consequences for launching the nation-wide Save Bukit Cina Campaign.
In fact, this was one of the grounds for which I was detained under the Internal Security Act for the second time under the Operation Lalang in 1987.
Another classic case is Malaysia’s establishment of diplomatic relations with China.
At present, Malaysia has become a very close friend of China. But in the 1960s, when calls for the recognition of the Communist Chinese Government by Malaysia could lead to the use of the Internal Security Act detention-without-foul law, I had publicly in the Serdang by-election in 1968 and the 1969 general elections advocated an independent Malaysian foreign policy which accorded recognition to the People’s Republic of China and supported it., admission into the United Nation.
At that time, no MCA leader had dared to take such a far-sighted position,.
MCA and Gerakan should hold emergency delegates meetings to decide whether to support Full Liberalisation campaign
It is no exaggeration to say that in the past. 30 years the DAP had fought to preserve and open roads for the present generation to travel while the MCA and Gerakan had played the opposite role which was to aid and abet extremist forces which wanted to deny opportunities which are the rights of all citizens which would close off many roads for Malaysians.
Now, the MCA and Gerakan are again playing their ignoble role in the history of Malaysia by being the stumbling block for Full Liberalisation in this country.
I urge the MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to convene emergency general meetings of their respective parties for their delegates to decide whether in the national interest, MCA and Gerakan should set aside petty party differences and give full support to the Full Liberalisation campaign so that all Malaysians can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun.
All political parties and Malaysians must take a common stand that what they want is not minor liberalisation but full liberalisation and this should be the foremost and primary issue in the next general elections.
The DAP will take the Full Liberalisation campaign to all states and levels of society and we believe that those who genuinely believe in the noble objectives set out in Vision 2020 will have no hesitation in supporting the DAP’s Full Liberalisation campaign.
Only those who give lip-service to Vision 2020 but do not understand or fully support its noble objectives can reject the DAFs Full Liberalisation campaign.
In fact, if the Barisan Nasional is firmly opposed to the DAP’s Full Liberalisation campaign, then Malaysians must question whether it is sincere and serious about Vision 2020 at all.