Apology to people of Malacca for the defection of one Member of Parliament and three State Assemblymen in Malacca

Firstly, I want to apologise to the people of Malacca for the defection of one Member of Parliament and three State Assemblymen in Malacca.

I started my parliamentary life in Malacca, where I contested and won the then Bandar Melaka parliamentary constituency in 1969.

I have served three terms as Member of Parliament for the seat of Bandar Melaka, later re-named Kota Melaka, in 1969, 1974 and 1982.

Although I have left Malacca for 31 years, Malacca is always a special place in my 51 years of political struggle to help create a more just, equal, democratic, prosperous and united Malaysia.

I was detained under the Internal Security Act a week after I was elected Member of Parliament of Bandar Melaka in 1969.

Although I have recently been accused by UMNO propagandists and cybertroopers of causing the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur, my ISA detention in 1969. where I was detained for 17 months, had nothing to do with the May 13 riots – as the charges of my detention made no reference whatsoever to the May 13 riots.

During the Special Branch interrogation in my first 60 days of police custody at the Kuala Selangor Police Station lock-up, I was never questioned about the May 13 riots, for the police knew that I had nothing to do with it.

In fact, I was in Kota Kinabalu when the May 13 riots took place in Kuala Lumpur on May 13, 1969.

After the 1969 General Elections on May 10, 1969. I was never in Kuala Lumpur. The results of the 1969 General Elections were only known in the early hours of Sunday. May 11, 1969 after the mountain of votes from the various polling centres were brought to the Counting Centre and counted.

I went back to my family in Paramount Garden, Petaling Jaya later in the day of May 11 to recover from a very hectic and long 51-day campaign period, which took me all over the country and I had at least 10 public rallies in Malacca town.

Going through archives, one of the issues in my first parliamentary contest was a three-point plan which I unveiled in a public rally at Bachang Chew Loy to save Malacca from the fate of a “dead city”, by developing the port of Malacca, establish an industrial estate and develop the rich tourist potention of Malacca with all its historic sites and memories.

I was probably the only elected MP in 1969 who had a “thank-the-voters” procession and a “thank you” public rally, which were hurriedly held on Monday, May 12, 1969, as on Tuesday, May 13, 1969, I was booked on a early morning flight to Kota Kinabalu to help in the election campaign for independent parliamentary candidates, as Sabah and Sarawak general elections of 1969 were staggered two weeks after the elections in Peninsular Malaysia.

I was speaking at a public rally in Kota Kinabalu on the evening of May 13, 1969 when someone whispered to me that riots had broken out in Kuala Lumpur.

The next day, May 14, 1969, the Sabah immigration authorities visited me at my hotel and served an expulsion order from Sabah, nothing to do with the May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur, but because of my public rally speech in Kota Kinabalu as I had not spared the then Sabah Chief Minister, Tun Mustapha for his abuses of power and profligate ways.

Although I deliberately missed the flight out of Kota Kinabalu that day, I had probably saved my life as the supporters of Tun Mustapha were so incensed with my criticisms of Mustapha at the public rally that they went to the airport to “finish” me off.

I left Kota Kinabalu on May 15, 1969 but as Subang airport was closed down because of the curfew in Kuala Lumpur, I dropped off in Singapore for the next three days.

I was advised by DAP leaders and my family not to return, as I was on the “wanted list” for ISA arrest.

But staying abroad to avoid ISA arrest was never an option for me. I had just been elected MP for Bandar Melaka, and when the people are in trouble, it is not the role of a leader to abscond overseas.

I flew back from Singapore on May 18, 1969, and sure enough, the Special Branch were waiting for me and I started my first detention under the ISA – spending my first 60 days under the ISA in Kuala Selangor and the rest of the term in the Muar Detention Centre.

I was unconditionally released on Oct. 1, 1970, as part of the process to end the suspension of Parliament, which took place after the May 13 riots and the declaration of Emergency.

My years as MP for Bandar and later Kota Melaka were exciting times, not only about the expose of mass infant deaths at the Malacca Hospital because of negligence, but the campaign to Save Bukit China to preserve the historic site in Malacca.

I have always been guided by one principle in my 51 years in politics – to serve all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background.

I have always believe that Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity is Malaysia’s greatest asset although there are people who wrongly regard this factor as one of the national ills in the country.

Malaysia can only build a great future and great Malaysian civilization if all races, religions, languages and cultures fully participate and contribute to the Malaysian vision.

In this sense, no one can claim to be a truly Malaysian if he is anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Kadazan, anti-Dayak or anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu or anti-Sikh.

While a Malaysian is a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak, no one can claim o be a Malaysian if he is anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Kadazan, anti-Dayak or anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu or anti-Sikh.

In my 51 years in Malaysian politics, I have never called anyone anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Kadazan or anti-Dayak, or anti-Muslim, anti-Buddhist, anti-Christian, anti-Hindu or anti-Sikh as I will in fact be challenging his or her very core existence as a Malaysian!

Malaysia needs a new political culture of honest, moral and ethical politics in Malaysia, involving three Noes – No politics of fear, no politics of hate and no politics of lies.

In our 51 years of political struggle, DAP had never been anti-Malay or anti-Islam.

This is why we have Malay and Muslim Members of Parliament, both in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, and State Assemblymen, as well as the unprecedented example of Lim Guan Eng crossing the racial and religious divide to defend the honour of an underaged Malay and Muslim girl, going to jail in Kajang Prisons, forfeiting his position as Member of Parliament and disenfranchised from standing for elections for five years from his release from prison.

Has any UMNO leader sacrificed his political career for the honour and dignity of a Malay or Muslim, let alone crossing the racial and religious divide to defend the rights and honour of a non-Malay or non-Muslim citizen?

I am making this re-statement of my political creed and beliefs over the defection of one DAP MP and three State Assemblymen in Malacca.

I call on the people of Malacca to continue their support of the DAP struggle for a just, equal, democratic, prosperous and united Malaysia, and in particular, to save Malaysia from becoming a global kleptocracy and a failed and rogue state.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah