Challenge to Liong Sik to a public debate on his statement that the Malaysian Chinese "must learn to behave like a minority race" and "donít start behaving like a majority race or else you are asking for trouble" as to whether it is conducive or detrimental to the concept of Bangsa Malaysia


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): In Kota Kinabalu yesterday, MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik  said the DAP should stop misleading Malaysians, especially the Chinese community.  Liong Sik also  attacked me for being "two-faced", that the DAP claimed that it was opposed to the setting up of an Islamic state but at the same time it continued to work with PAS.

The DAP had always been open, transparent and consistent on our stand on the Islamic State and our relations with other political parties, whether in government or opposition, whether PAS or other political parties.

Right from the beginning, the DAP had maintained our opposition to the establishment of an Islamic State, not that the DAP is anti-Islam or anti-Malay, but because an Islamic state is unsuitable for a plural society like Malaysia, with its diversity of races, languages, cultures and religions.

Just as the DAPís perserverance and consistency has finally led UMNO and Barisan Nasional to concede that the nation-building process  in Malaysia must be based on the policy of integration and not assimilation, the DAPís perserverance and consistency has led PAS to modify its earlier stand that it would not co-operate with other political parties which do not support its concept of an Islamic state.

There is nothing "two-faced" about the DAPís stand, that the DAP remains steadfast and will not compromise in our opposition to the establishment of an Islamic State but that the DAP is prepared to co-operate with PAS or any other political party, whether in Opposition or Government including MCA, to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.

Is this something beyond the comprehension of Liong Sik and the MCA leadership?

As Liong Sik and other MCA leaders have been claiming, PAS had always stood for an Islamic state, right from the beginning of its establishment in the fifties.

If co-operating in any form with PAS tantamounts to support for its concept of an Islamic State, and that any claim otherwise is to being "two-faced", then Liong Sik will be one the earliest "two faced" politicians in Malaysia.

Going by Liong Sikís logic, Liong Sik started his political life as a "two-faced" politician, for he first stood in the 1974 general elections when PAS was a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition government, and Liong Sik later served as a Deputy Minister together with PAS in the Barisan Nasional coalition government 1974-1977.

This is probably in keeping with Liong Sikís philosophy, which he  spelt out at an unusually candid moment in his appearance at the National Press Club in February this year for a talk on The Malaysian Chinese: Crisis and Choice where he told the press:
 

Was it in keeping with Liong Sikís philosophy to "learn to behave like a minority race" that he dared not declare that he was opposed to the PASí concept of an Islamic state when he cohabitated with PAS in the Barisan Nasional government from 1974-77 for fear of "asking for trouble", i.e. not being offered candidature for a Parliamentary seat and appointment as a Deputy Minister?

The DAP is very different from the MCA, for we declare from the very outset that we are opposed to the establishment of an Islamic State in Malaysia, and we want the PAS leaders to know that this stand is not because of irrational fears but because of very strong and valid reasons, such as non-Muslim Malaysians denied of their full citizenship rights in a Islamic state, the position of women, hudud, etc.

The DAP is not prepared to help PAS in its objective to establish an Islamic state, but we are prepared to work with PAS to restore justice, democracy and good governance in Malaysia, to ensure for instance that the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case or Ministerial incompetence like the totally unnecessary and avoidable deaths of 86 people in Negri Sembilan and the destruction of the pig-rearing industry as a result of misdiagnosis, mishandling and mistreatment by the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng of the so-called Japanese encephalitis (JE) outbreak   cannot happen again in Malaysia -  that people can have confidence again in the important institutions of government and state, whether it be the independence of the judiciary, the professionalism of the police,  the integrity,  incorruptibility and competence  of the government or the independence and freedom of the mass media in the country.

In fact, the DAP is prepared to work and co-operate with MCA on these great issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, but dare  Liong Sik and MCA cross party lines and co-operate with DAP on these issues?

The answer is in the negative, as over the decades, these are precisely the great issues which Liong Sik and the MCA leadership have not dared to address, which probably reflects Liong Sikís philosophy of how a "minority race" should behave.

Liong Sikís "minority race" philosophy is the greatest insult to the concept of a Bangsa Malaysia, where all Malaysians are entitled to full citizenship rights of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

Instead of making baseless attacks on the DAP, it is more important to address Liong Sikís "minority race" philosophy, for if accepted, it will have far reaching implications for nation-building in Malaysia.
For this reason, I challenge Liong Sik to a public debate on his statement that the Malaysian Chinese "must learn to behave like a minority race" and "donít start behaving like a majority race or else you are asking for trouble" as to whether this is conducive or detrimental to the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.

(31/5/99)


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