MCA and UMNO – From “brothers”
in Alliance to “master and slave” in Barisan Nasional in five decades?
Speech at DAP Kepong Dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
The Chinese night editions this
evening, front and inside pages, are dominated by news of the MCA Youth
annual general assembly in Malacca this morning with the cover photograph
of the entire MCa Youth Central Committee members on stage standing up to
wave copies of the Malaysian Constitution when the MCA Youth leader Datuk
Liow Tiong Lai said that instead of brandishing the keris to make a point,
it is better to wave the Federal Constitution.
In blaring headlines, the newspapers quoted the eight words of “ren bu fan
wo, wo bu fan ren” in relation to Liow‘s speech when he said: “We in MCA
and MCA Youth won’t be easily bullied by others, ren bu fan wo, wo bu fan
ren; ren ruo fan wo, wo bi fan ren. In the BN family, we are brothers,
there is no master and slave, there is no question of who is being scared
of who or whom should kowtow to whom,”
The Chinese saying is a warning of retaliation when one is offended.
But the high-point of the whole proceeding was that the Umno Youth deputy
leader, Khairy Jamaluddin, who attended the MCA Youth annual general
assembly instead of the youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, did
not understand a single word of Liow’s fierce speech and warning as this
part of the MCA Youth leader’s speech was completely omitted in his Bahasa
This immediately raises the question whether the whole proceeding was just
a “sandiwara” for the Chinese media and Chinese audience.
Liow made a good point that instead of brandishing the Malay keris, one
should wave the Federal Constitution to defend and uphold one’s
fundamental rights as entrenched in the Constitution, the Merdeka social
contract and the Malaysia Agreement which brought Sabah and Sarawak into
But the place to wave the Federal Constitution is not at the MCA Youth
Assembly with the Umno Youth deputy leader not understanding what all the
“show” is all about, but in the Cabinet and Parliament and at a time when
fundamental nation-building principles and rights were being unilaterally,
arbitrarily and unconstitutionally undermined!
Six years ago, when the Federal Constitution, Merdeka social contract and
Malaysia Agreement was gravely eroded, why didn’t any MCA or MCA Youth
leader wave the Federal Constitution in Cabinet and Parliament to defend
the fundamental nation-building principles and rights laid down in the
Constitution, Merdeka social contract and the Malaysia Agreement?
Instead of MCA and MCA Youth leaders waving the Federal Constitution six
years ago to defend and uphold the fundamental nation-building principles
and rights agreed by our forefathers on the attainment of Independence 50
years ago, MCA and MCA Youth leaders were all putting up their hands to
support the unilateral, arbitrary unconstitutional revision of the Federal
Constitution, Merdeka social contract and Malaysia Agreement.
Liow’s use of the Chinese saying, “ren bu fan wo, wo bu fan ren; ren ruo
fan wo, wo bi fan ren” reminds many of another MCA Youth leader in the
past, as this was also one of his favourite quotations. But when things
came to a crunch during the Operation Lalang in 1987, he was the first to
run away from the country while DAP leaders like Karpal Singh, Dr. Tan
Seng Giaw, Lim Guan Eng and the late P. Patto and V. David did not flinch
in the Internal Security Act crackdown where I was detained for the second
time and all of us dispatched to the Kamunting Detention Centre to be
“guests” of His Majesty’s Government.
But the most thought-provoking part of Liow’s speech is his statement: “In
the BN family, we are brothers, there is no master and slave, there is no
question of who is being scared of who or whom should kowtow to whom,”
This has logically given rise to the question whether the relationship
between MCA and UMNO in the past 50 years had deteriorated from “brothers”
in the Alliance to “master and slave” in the Barisan Nasional – to use
Liow’s own words?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman