Speech by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang when launching the Pull Liberalisation campaign in Perak at a ceramah at the Tou Boo Kong Hall in Ipoh on Saturday, 10th December, 1994 at 8pm
Malaysia today would be a very different country if there had been no DAP in the past 28 years
DAP MPs and leaders can feel proud that when Chinese education, Chinese primary schools, Chinese Independent Secondary Schools faced their greatest threat in the 1970s and early l980s, they were there to stand up in Parliament in the defence of Cultural Democracy.
Those were the darkest and most dangerous period of nation-building in Malaysia, which culminated in the demand for a ‘One-Language, One Culture’ Policy in utter disregard of the fact that Malaysia is a nation of many races, languages, cultures and religions.
In the sixties, there were calls for the ban on ‘un-Malaysian’ symbols like the dragon in Malaysia, the closure, of Chinese and Tamil primary schools and even the closure of Chinese and Tail newspapers. In the 1970s a powerful Cabinet Minister seriously suggested the replacement of the lion dance by the tiger dance!
Malaysia would be a very different country today if there had been no DAP in the past 28 years to oppose, resist and check the undemocratic forces which wanted to establish a ‘One Language, One Culture’ Malaysia, and there would definitely be no ‘Minor Liberalisation’ in certain government economic and educational measures in the past three years.
The ‘Minor’ Liberalisation’ of the past three years must be seen in the context of the 28-year political struggle of the DAP for a Malaysian Malaysia aria the people’s consistent support for this political objective.
The ‘Full Liberalisation’ will serve as a standard to measure how tar short the Barisan Nasional’s ‘Minor Liberalisation’ had fallen from the legitimate aspirations of the people
It is the greatest fallacy for anyone to think that the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ had fallen from the skies, or is the result of the ‘charity’ of ‘the Barisan Nasional Government, or even worse, is the achievement of the Gerakan and MCA. This is not the case.
The ‘Minor Liberalization’ are the ‘tiny results’ of the long-ten political struggle of the people with the PAP for a more just and equal Malaysia – a Malaysian Malaysia – for the past three decades.
If we see the ‘Minor Liberalization’ completely out of context of the people’s struggle with the DAP for a more just and equal Malaysia, as if Malaysian politics started in 1991, we will get the impression that the Barisan Nasional Government is getting more and more enlightened and, we should be happy and content
However, It we judge the Minor liberalisation in the context of the people’s political struggle with the DAP for the past three decades, we will then be able to place it in a proper context.
Although we welcome the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years, we cannot over look the fact that in the past three decades, the rights of the people had suffered serious erosion and that the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years had not even fully restored these lost rights.
If we regard the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years as ‘three forward steps’, and look at them in isolation, then they are a great advance. However, if we place the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ in the context of the past three decades, where the Barisan Nasional policies had made the people to ‘go back by thirty steps’, taking ‘three steps forward’ while welcome is clearly not sufficient or satisfactory.
This is why DAP has called for Full Liberalisation’ as the people and the DAP cannot be content and satisfied with the ‘Minor Liberalisation’ of the past three years – which have not even restored the political, economic, educational, cultural and citizenship rights eroded away in the past three decades.
The ‘Full Liberalisation’ call of the DAP will not only serve as a rallying cry for all Malaysians to demand a more, just and equal Malaysia where all Malaysians can enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun, it will also serve as a standard to measure as to how far short the Barisan Nasional’s ‘Minor Liberalisation’ had fallen from the legitimate aspirations of the people.
DAP challenges MCA to declare its stand on the National Charter for Mother-Tongue Education
One acid test as to whether the MCA leadership can support full liberalisation is the DAP’s National Charter for Mother-Tongue Education.
A week ago, during the debate in Parliament on the Ministry of Education, I read out the DAP Charter for Mother- Tongue Education and asked the Barisan Nasional component parties and the government to give full support to the Charter.
The Charter is aimed at restoring mother-tongue educations to their rightful place in the national education system and which would also mean full government recognition for a comprehensive system of Chinese education, from primary, national to university level.
Under the Charter, the government would give full financial support to Chinese primary schools and would launch a crash programme to build new Chinese primary schools to meet the needs of the pupils.
The government would also give annual financial allocations to the Chinese independent secondary school arid recognise their Unified Examination Certificate.
Private universities, including those using Mandarin and other languages as media of instruction would also be allowed in the country.
I had expected the MCA Deputy Education Minister Dr. Long. Chan Onn who was in the House when .1 spoke, to reply on behalf of the MCA and the government on their stand on the National Charter for Mother-Tongue Education. Instead Long Chan Onn chickened out’, and it was the other Deputy Education Minister Dr. Michael Toyad who answered.
The MCA leadership should stop running sway from taking a stand on the National Charter on Mother Tongue Education. Its failure to support this National Charter will be equivalent to its failure in 1961 to oppose the 1961 Education Act, its failure in 1969 to give full support to the proposed Merdeka University, and its failures in the past few decades to get official government recognition and regular financial support for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools.
The DAP challenges the MCA to come foreward and to declare clearly and unequivocally its stand on the National Charter for Mother Tongue Education. If it is not prepared to give its full support to the National Charter, then let the MCA leaders have the courage to give, reasons for their rejection of the National Charter for Mother-Tongue Education.