The best way to remember Dr. Chen Man Hin is to continue his vision of a Malaysian Dream – a world class great plural nation which is honest, effective and incorruptible

The best way to remember Dr. Chen Man Hin, founder Chairman of Democratic Action Party for 30 years, and who have dedicated over five decades of his life to Malaysia, is to continue his vision of a Malaysian Dream – a world class great plural nation which is honest, effective and incorruptible.

I thank the longest-serving Inspector-General of Police, Tun Haniff Omar, for the declassification of a over-50 year Official Secrets Act document – the statement which I made to the police while in police custody at the Kuala Selangor Police Station lock-up under the Internal Security Act after I rejected advice not to return to Malaysia and flew back to Malaysia on 18th May 1969.

I was asked by the police in 1969 what were my political beliefs and this is what I stated:

  • Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual ad multi-cultural society and that a viable Malaysian nation can only be formed if all the races and groups in the country are given an equal stake under the Malaysian sun.
  • Unless Malaysians of all races have more in common with one another than with their ‘blood brothers’ counterpart in China, India or Indonesia, Malaysia cannot be said to have become “A Nation of Malaysians”.
  • In a multi-racial society like Malaysia, violence and any ideology of force can only lead to the disintegration of the country because it quickly degenerates into racial conflict. I therefore deplore force and violence of all forms.
  • In a multi-racial society, if any racial group feels it is backward, either educationally, economically, culturally, linguistically, or politically, then racial antagonism will be created. Every attempt must be made to remove these imbalances between the races and groups.
  • Poverty is not a communal problem. It is a socio-economic problem. To regard poverty as a racial problem is to increase racial antagonism in this country.
  • I want a clean, honest, efficient, incorruptible and effective government.

DAP is now 56 years old but we have not deviated from these founding principles, unlike other political parties.

The first four UMNO Presidents, Onn Jafaar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak Hussein and Hussein Onn, for instance, would not be able to recognise the UMNO of today.

Even the former Deputy UMNO President in the early to mid-1980s, Musa Hitam recently said: “My God, what have they done to UMNO”.

It is siginificant that nobody had dared to challenge the observation of an UMNO watcher that in the early days of UMNO, it would be difficult to find a millionaire among UMNO division leaders. After over six decades of Independence, it would be difficult to find an UMNO division leader who is not a millionaire.

It is also significant that other political parties, like the MCA and MIC, have not dared to denounce or dissociate themselves from the mega monstrous 1MDB scandal for over a decade, which made Malaysia infamous worldwide as a kleptocracy.

Today, there is another significant event – the launching of Professor Mohd Kamal Hassan’s new book, Korupsi dan Kemunafikan dalam Politik Melayu by the Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

Sultan Nazrin cautioned Malaysians against being in denial about corruption, an action which he considered a “disease” and “cancerous” outbreak within the society.

He warned against “performing mental acrobatics to deny the existence of the corruption “elephant” that is vividly happening in front of our eyes.

Can Malaysians be inspired by Sultan Nazrain’s words and Dr. Chen Man Hin’s life dedicating himself to a Malaysian Dream to make Malaysia a world-class great plural nation which is honest, effective and incorruptible?

The outpouring of support and solidarity for Dr. Chen Man Hin for his passing reminds me of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem which I studied in school in the fifties

“Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.”

Dr. Chen had led a sublime life and left footprints on the sands of time.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri