Proposal that every local authority in Perak should name a road in memory of Koo Chong Kong as a recompense by the Perak State Government for the desecration of Koo’s memory and sacrifices by the Ipoh City Council

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Ipoh, Wednesday): I have today  written to the Perak Mentri Besar,  Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol commending him for his swift action in ordering the Ipoh City Council to revert Jalan Tabung Haji to its original name of Jalan Koo Chong Kong.

I had suggested that the Perak State Executive Council, at its next meeting, should direct every local council authority in Perak to name a road in memory of the late Tan Sri Koo Chong Kong as a recompense by the Perak State Goverment for the desecration of Koo’s memory and sacrifices by the Ipoh City Council, which was also a dishonour of Koo’s family,  the police, the King and nation,  as Koo was posthumously awarded “Tan Sri” for making the supreme sacrifice of laying down his life in the service of the people and country.

In my letter to Tajol, I urged him to take the most serious attitude at the heinous insensitivity of the Ipoh City Council in desecrating the memory and sacrifices  of Koo as the  people of Malaysia - and not just the people of Ipoh and Perak - want to know how such a colossal insensitivity of Malaysian history and the multi-racial heritage of the nation could be made by the 24 Ipoh City Councillors.

The claim that the desecration of Koo’s memory in renaming the road was an  “oversight by certain quarters” and the matter should not be further pursued is not only totally unacceptable in a democratic society which demands high standards of accountability and transparency, but is itself  a desecration and dishonour to Koo’s memory and sacrifices, the police, the King and the nation.

In my letter to the Perak Mentri Besar, I reiterated my call for the sacking of the whole Ipoh City Council for the ultimate Malaysian offence of  total insensitivity and lack of pride and respect for Malaysian history and the country’s multi-racial heritage when it renamed Jalan Koo Chong Kong as Jalan Tabung Haji.

I said that if Tajol Rosli thinks  that sacking the entire Ipoh City Council  is too heavy a punishment, the  State Government must nonetheless  impose a penalty on the 24 City Councillors commensurate with their colossal blunder -  as  they should not be allowed to go completely unpunished as a lesson to all councillors, present and future, in Ipoh and other parts of Perak, not  to be high-handed and cavalier with the sensitivities of  a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society.

At the minimum, the 24 Ipoh City Councillors should adopt an unanimous motion of contrition and apology to Koo’s memory and family, the police, the King and nation, as well as establish another memorial to the public  sacrifices and role model  of Koo  in the Ipoh City Council.

I also took the opportunity to urge the Mentri Besar to  set up a panel to review the naming and renaming of roads to ensure that there is fully sensitivity and respect for Malaysia’s multi-racial history and heritage and that there would be an even-handed policy in the naming of roads and places.

Naming of public roads should not be motivated by partisan political considerations but purely by services to the people and nation, and in this regard, patriots like P. Patto, V. Veerappan, Tan Chee Khoon, Lim Lian Geok, Ahmad Boestamann, Ishak Muhammad (Pak Sako), Yusuf Rawa,  Hamid Tuah and others not in the “establishment” should be honoured in Ipoh, Perak  and the country.

Although some of the names mentioned are not Perak-born, the time is long past for such provincialism in Malaysia in the fifth decade of nationhood and the second decade of Vision 2020 and the Bangsa Malaysia concept - and Perak would be setting a good example for other states in promoting a Malaysian identity and consciousness by honouring all Malaysians who have contributed to the national welfare, regardless of  their state of birth.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman