MCA leaders should grow out of the prism of "racial politics" and have a national outlook in keeping with the Bangsa Malaysia concept of Vision 2020


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): It is very sad that four decades after Merdeka in 1957, MCA leaders still cannot grow out of the prism of "racial politics" and have a national outlook in keeping with the Bangsa Malaysia concept of Vision 2020.

In the Repah by-election campaign, MCA leaders keep harping on the communal theme of "racial politics" warning about the dangers of "dividing Chinese political strength"!

MCA Vice President and Deputy Home Minister, Ong Ka Ting, for instance, warned of "unthinkable consequences" to Chinese rights in Malaysia if the DAPís call for another "political earthquake" as in the Teluk Intan by-election finds response in the Repah by-election.

Firstly, let MCA leaders like Ong Ka Ting explain why they cannot grow out of the prism of "racial politics" and begin to think of themselves as Malaysians first and foremost in keeping with the concept of Bangsa Malaysia in Vision 2020.

Secondly, what are these "unthinkable consequences" to the Chinese in Malaysia if Repah creates another "political earthquake" like in the Teluk Intan by-election. In fact, can Ong Ka Ting spell out what are the "unthinkable consequences" which have already been created adversely affecting the rights of the Malaysian Chinese as a result of the Teluk Intan by-election "political earthquake"?

Thirdly, is Ong Ka Ting aware that when the DAP calls on the voters of Repah to create a "political earthquake", we are not merely calling on the Chinese voters, but also on the Indian and Malay voters in Repah to collectively create this "political earthquake"? The Teluk Intan by-election "political earthquake" on May 17 was not created by the Chinese voters in Teluk Intan alone, but was the result of the decisions of the Malay and Indian voters as well.

I hope MCA leaders can stop living in the past of the 50s and 60s and must be prepared to attune themselves to face the new challenges that the country and Malaysians must grapple with in the 21st century. In his Repah by-election speech two days ago, Ong Ka Ting keeps harping on how the Chinese in Malaysia cannot afford another "political earthquake".

I am really amazed at Ong Ka Tingís speech as the senior Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayub, had on Saturday called on all political parties and political leaders not try to stir up racial sentiments in order to win.

Megat said: "If the Chinese raise racial issues, the Malays and Indians too will follow suit, thus jeopardising the racial harmony in our country".

Why is one Deputy Home Minister calling on political parties and political leaders not to raise racial issues while the other Deputy Home Minister is doing precisely that in harping on racial issues, even talking about the Chinese in Malaysia having only 27 per cent of political power which could not be divided further?

I am tempted to ask the MCA leaders whether they have 27 per cent of the political power in the Barisan Nasional government or whether their political role have become so marginalised that they donít even have five per cent of political power in the Barisan Nasional government - but as I do not want to ignore Megat Junidís call, I shall not press the MCA leaders for an answer.

However, let me disabuse the MCA national leaders of the wrong impression that the DAP is only calling on the Chinese voters in Repah to create a "political earthquake", or even worse, the lies spread by the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Mohd Isa that the DAP is repeating our so-called Teluk Intan tactics calling on the Malay voters not to come out and vote allegedly on the ground that the MCA can win without Malay votes.

DAP wants the Malay voters in Repah to come out to vote on polling day on Thursday so that together with the Chinese and Indian voters create a "political earthquake" to serve the following state, national and local objectives:

State: To send a message to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that the people of Negri Sembilan wants to have a new Mentri Besar who is less arrogant, more humble and people-oriented, who would not stoop to unethical practices as telling lies and publishing "false news" just to win elections and who would correct the injustices arising from abuses and misuses of power, as in the arbitrary and inequitable land acquisitions from 1991-1996 for private development by certain private individuals.

National: To send a clear message to the Barisan Nasional government that the people support the removal of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik and Tan Sri Muhammad Taib as Malacca Chief Minister and Selangor Mentri Besar respectively; want zero corruption as a top national agenda; a fair and accountable Attorney-General who does not abuse his discretionary powers of prosecution and the restoration of press freedom in Malaysia.

Local: Even greater development for Repah in the next two years with the election of a DAP Assemblyman, as the Barisan Nasional would have to pour in more funds and allocate more development projects in the constituency in its effort to win back Repah in the next general elections in another two yearsí time.

As Deputy Home Minister, Ong Ka Ting should explain to the voters of Repah whether he had contributed to the restoration of press freedom in Malaysia or whether he had caused the press to be more unfree.

Ong Ka Ting should realise that Freedom House, which conducts an annual survey of print and broadcast media in most countries of the world, measuring press freedom by assessing the impact of laws, administrative decisions and economic or political influences on the content of the news media, has given Malaysia a very poor rating in its latest survey.

The countries surveyed are placed in three categories of having (i) a free press; (ii) a partly free press; and (iii) a "not-free" press. Malaysia is grouped in the third category of having a "not-free press".

Just as Malaysians should feel proud when M. Magendran and N. Mohanadas scaled Mount Everest, Malaysians must similarly feel ashamed that the Malaysian press is regarded internationally as belonging to the "not-free press" category.

It is more important for Ong Ka Ting to explain why the Malaysian press have such a poor international rating instead of raising racial issues in the Repah by-election.

(26/5/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong