MCA leadership should not "support in principle" the 17-point Hua Tuan petition but oppose in practice the implementation of its concrete proposals

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): I welcome the statement by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik that he would explain  to the Cabinet on Wednesday the MCA’s views on the 17-point  Hua Tuan petition encapsulating the political, economic, legal, educational, social, cultural or religious demands of the Malaysian Chinese Associations for the coming general election.

As a first step, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should publicly retract his statement during his pre-election visit to Selangor last Monday that the Malaysian Chinese Associations’ Election Demands was a "threat" to the Barisan Nasional,  that  the Malaysian Chinese Associations should  not to try to pressure the government, as the Barisan Nasional only wanted "unconditional support from the people".

At the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, both the Prime Minister and the Cabinet should reaffirm the right of all sectors of Malaysian society to make clear their demands about their political, economic, social and educational aspirations with the approach of general election and such a reaffirmation should be announced in a post-Cabinet media conference.

The demand by any political party or leader wanting only "unconditional support from the people" during an election  is most undemocratic and irresponsible, making an utter mockery of the purpose of an  election, which is an occasion for the voters to renew their political mandate by subjecting the various political parties and candidates seeking election to scrutiny of their past record and future pledges.

It is to counter such an undemocratic spirit and approach that democracy-conscious and justice loving Malaysians have formulated the "People are the Boss!" Declaration,  which states in its preamble:

In presenting the "People-Master" concept, the "People Are the Boss" Declaration said:

The Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday should not only address the 17-Point Petitition of Hua Tuan but  should also endorse the "People Are the Boss" Declaration.

Liong Sik’s comments on the Hua Tuan  Petition, however, are very disturbing and the MCA leadership should ensure that it does not render the Hua Tuan petitition meaningless.

For instance, although Liong Sik said that the matters brought up in the Hua Tuan petition "touched on universal values" and had the consensus of most people and the MCA recognised many of the points raised, "However, as some of them are long-term goals, the question is which forum and in what circumstances (would be appropriate) to discuss them".

As example, Liong Sik said that there would come a time when the Internal Security Act would not be needed. However, this would not be possible for now.

It would be most unfortunate if the MCA leadership has decided on the tactics of appearing to give support to the Hua Tuan petition in principle, but opposing the actual implementation of the detailed proposals of the 17-point petition in practice.

What Malaysians want is the repeal of the Internal Security Act now, and not in some distant future of say 100 or 200 years!

The third point of the Hua Tuan petition is to  "Uphold human rights and justice", which made seven specific demands, i.e.  to ratify all the international covenants and United Nations Conventions; extend the powers of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission to ensure that it is truly independent and representative;  ensure the judiciary and the office of the Attorney-General are truly independent;  repeal the Internal Security Act;  enact a Freedom of Information Act; amend the Trade Union Act, the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Police Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act to bring them into line with human rights standards; and protect the freedom of speech, assembly and association.

It is meaningless for the MCA leadership to say that they support in principle the Hua Tuan’s 17-point petition call to "uphold human rights and justice" but it is not prepared to support anyone of the seven concrete proposals in practice on the ground that the time and conditions are not ripe now for the implementation, but may be in a century or so!


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