Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Bagan by-election thousand-people dinner at Jalan Raja Uda on Thursday, 7th September 1995 at 9 p.m.
MCA wants the voters of Bagan to sell away the priceless honour of the title, “Democracy City”, for the striking the first blow for democracy and save DAP after the April general election in exchange for a paltry RM600, 000
The MCA always come up with its “secret” weapon on the eve of polling day to stampede the voters to vote for the MCA candidate and the Bagan by-election is no exception.
One of the MCA’s last-minute “secret weapons” is the Education Ministry allocation of RM600, 000 for the Chinese secondary and primary schools in Bagan.
As a result, the MCA wants the voters of Bagan to sell away the priceless honour of the appellation “Democracy City” which the Bagan people would be entitled to if they vote solidly for the DAP on Saturday to give a new lease of life for democracy after the April general election and to save the DAP in exchange for a paltry RM600, 000.
For a paltry RM600, 000, the MCA wants the people of Bagan to give the Barisan Nasional the excuse and right to further guillotine democracy and to gag Opposition MPs in Parlaiment!
Is democracy so cheap to the MCA? To the MCA leaders, everything has a price. They do not understand that there are things in the world which are priceless – and one of them is democracy!
Down through the ages, in every society, there have been great men and women who had laid down their lives for democracy. In Malaysia, DAP leaders had sacrificed their liberties for democarcy and the rights of the people – but not the MCA.
I have myself twice been detained under the Internal Security Act and the former MP for Bagan, P. Patto, was himself an Internal Security Act detainee under Operation Lalang in 1987.
If everyone and everything has a monetary price, then there is no need for DAP leaders to lose their personal freedoms under the ISA. Instead, we could all make a lot of money and become very rich for not losing our personal liberties if we are prepared to sacrifice or compromise our political principles!
The RM600, 000 distributed to the Chinese secondary and primary schools in Bagan is not a private gift by MCA leaders and tycoons but are public money to which the people are fully entitled to because they come from the taxes paid by the people.
Why should the people’s money be used as an electoral bait for votes? If the MCA leaders want to use money as a bait for votes, then it should be RM600, 000 coming from the pockets of MCA leaders and not from the taxpayers’ money.
The MCA has cheapened elections and politics by reducing the whole by-election into a question of money and it should be thoroughly ashamed of itself.
I concede that it is going to be difficult for the DAP to fight against the MCA’s politics of money – using taxpayers’ money as they are angpows from the MCA!
Saturday will decide whether the Bagan voters will show to the MCA that while the people accept the RM600, 000 for the Chinese secondary and primary schools as of right, they are not prepared to sell out democracy, the DAP and the historic opportunity and honour for Bagan to be described as “Democracy City” to be the first to fly the standard for democracy after the April general election for a paltry RM600, 000.