(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Last month, former MCA President Tan Sri Lee San Choon, in an interview with Yazhou Zhoukan, "confirmed" merger talks held between the MCA and DAP in the early 1970s. He said:
"I still remember Goh made a telephone call to Lim Kit Siang from Tun Tanís house.
"Lim therefore cannot say that he is unaware of the talks between the MCA and DAP."
I refer to my speech at a DAP function in Seremban on 20th June 1972 which recounted the events:
"When I went up to Kuala Lumpur after the rally, Hock Guan told me that he had met Lee San Choon and Tun Tan Siew Sin. I had no prior knowledge about this first meeting between Hock Guan and the MCA leaders.
"However, before Hock Guan saw Siew Sin, he did ring up Dr. Chen Man Hin, Party Chairman, in Seremban saying that there was a suggestion of a meeting between him and Tun Tan, and Hock Guan asked Dr. Chen whether he would like to go along. Dr. Chen declined as he had to go down to Johore for the Bekok by-election campaign.
"Hock Guan reported to Dr. Chen and me what transpired at his first meeting with Tun Tan and San Choon. Hock Guan said Tun Tan asked the DAP to withdraw from the Bekok by-election, dissolve the DAP, join the MCA and enter the Cabinet.
"The idea that the DAP should dissolve and join the MCA was so unthinkable and abhorrent to our concept of a multi-raical movement and policy that both Dr. Chen and I rejected it.
"But Hock Guan seemed rather keen, unhappy about terminating the discussion, and pressed for a more positive reply and asked on what grounds we would be prepared to have discussions.
"Dr. Chen and I were of the view that there could only be discussions on the basis that the DAP is an integral political movement with no question of dissolution, and that the Alliance must declare publicly its acceptance in principle and practice the DAPís Malaysian Malaysia policy to work for economic, political and cultural democracy.
"Hock Guan was still keen, and said that if the Alliance were amenable, what Ministries should he ask for, and he mentioned something about the Ministry for Urban Development. Both Dr. Chen and I were skeptical about the whole affair as we were convinced that it would come to nought.
"Hock Guan was to tell Tun Tan our rejection the next day. Hock Guan met Tun Tan the next evening, and had a third meeting the same night.
"Both Dr. Chen and I knew nothing about the third meeting. The day following, Hock Guan reported that Tun Tan was firm that the DAP should dissolve and join the MCA.
"For Dr. Chen and I, that was the end of the matter. Hock Guan seemed rather drawn by the idea, and he suggested that probably one of the DAP leaders should, with tacit party blessing, resign from the DAP and join the MCA, become a Minister, and see how effective he could be. Hock Guan suggested that probably Dr. Chen or Kit Siang should do this. It was obvious what Hock Guan was thinking about, and Dr. Chen and I scotched the idea by stonily ignoring it.
"Neither Dr. Chen nor I knew exactly what transpired between Goh Hock Guan and the MCA leaders during the three meetings they have had."