by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang issued on Sunday, 29th January, 1995:
DAP calls for Full Liberalisation on the march towards a Malaysian Malaysia
Malaysians should stand up in the Chinese New Year and particularly in the coming general elections to expand the minor liberalisations of government policies of the past four years into Full Liberalisation of nation-building policies.
DAP calls on Malaysians to support the demand for Full Liberalisation as part of the march towards a Malaysian Malaysia, which had formed the core of the DAP political objective and struggle since our formation in 1966.
There had been conflicting and contradictory reactions from the Barisan Nasional parties to the DAP’s call for Full Liberalisation. One is that the Barisan Nasional is on the way towards Full Liberalisation; while the second is that DAP’s ‘Full Liberalisation’ movement will lead to chaos and disaster for Malaysia.
Both these reactions are fallacies.
The ‘minor liberalisations’ of the Barisan Nasional Government of the past four years not only do not qualify as ‘Full Liberalisation’, what is even more pertinent is that there is no guarantee that these ‘Minor Liberalisations’ as history has shown that there could be relapses and regressions.
This is because the Minor Liberalisations in the last four years are not the result of basis changes in nation building policies, whether political, economic, educational, cultural or religious and this is why Malaysians continue to be divided into bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras.
In fact, in certain areas, there have been retrogression as in the widespread land acquisition abuses and injustices in the various states arising from acquisition, not for public purpose, but for development by the private sector.
In one case, land was acquired for one massive development project, where the smallholders were being compensated as low as RM26,000 per acre or 60 sen per sq. ft. while the land is being marketed overseas for as high as RM25 per sq.ft. – or over RM1 million per acre!
If the landowners could be treated so unjustly, can the landless, whether the urban settlers or the illegal farmers, expect greater justice under the present system of government?
The second fallacy is that DAP’s call for ‘Full Liberalisation’ will lead to chaos and disaster for Malaysia.
Will there be chaos and disaster if the Barisan Nasional Government accepts ‘Full Liberalisation’ by immediately implementing the following policies:
1. Conduct a free, fair and clean general elections where the Opposition parties can have a minimum of three-week campaign between Nomination Day and Polling Day, fair access to the newspapers, radio and television, hold public rallies and where the Election Commission can independently check electoral malpractices and abuses like the buying of votes;
2. Ensure a responsible, accountable and transparent public services by encouraging and promoting investigative journalism in Malaysia; the amendment of the Official Secrets Act so that it would not protect corruption and abuses of power and the abolition of the annual licensing of newspapers to promote freedom of expression and information;
3. Full recognition and acceptance of the multiracial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious reality of Malaysia by giving fair government treatment to Chinese primary schools, annual government funding to Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and approving the establishment of the New Era College proposed by Dong Ziao Zhong;
4. A full war against corruption in high political places by requiring all political leaders and top government leaders to publicly declare their assets and the establishment of a new Anti-Corruption Commission answerable only to Parliament; and
5. Give justice to landowners who have become victims of the Land Acquisition Act abuses and injustices, as well as to urban and rural settlers so that Malaysians have a roof over their heads and farmers their own land to cultivate.
DAP’s call for ‘Full Liberalisation’ is not a call for a lawless society where individuals enjoy absolute freedom, but for a Malaysia where all citizens are equal, with equal rights and responsibilities – where no community will say that that politically, it is ‘in government but not in power’.
This is why the Full Liberalisation is none than a battle for justice, equality and freedom for all Malaysians – the ideal of a Malaysian Malaysia which had inspired the formation of the DAP three decades ago.