Datuk Han Choon Khim Should Explain How Including The Words “Ketuanan Melayu” In Form 5 History Textbooks Can Look After The Interests Of All Malaysians, Especially Non-Malays

 In The DAP Pandamaran Branch Dinner
by Lim Guan Eng

(Klang, Saturday):  DAP invites all MCA & UMNO MPs who spoke out against the 10% toll hike by Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan(PLUS) on the NSE in Parliament to participate in nation-wide protests against Works Minister Datuk Samy Vellu’s announcement that the 10% hike will be implemented on 1.1.2005. Failure to do so would only prove that these few UMNO MPs were only playing sandiwara politik who only `main-main’ in opposing the toll hike. 

This is the most unkind New Year gift given by Datuk Samy Vellu to 25 million Malaysians. Clearly BN and Datuk Samy Vellu is willing to make 25 million Malaysians sad so that one company can enjoy a Happy and Rich New Year. Malaysians are angry that one company can be so greedy when they are already raking in huge profits both from toll charges and compensation.  

Works Minister Datuk Samy Vellu had said yesterday that the government had to pay RM 80 million compensation  annually to (PLUS). This RM 80 million compensation is to offset losses owing to the freeze on toll rates since 1998, when the annual toll increase was changed to an increase once every 3 years. The concessionaire agreement was also extended from 2018 to 2030. PLUS has collected more than RM 9 billion since 1987 with more expected to come in the next 25 years. 

In September 2004, Datuk Samy Vellu said the Government has paid out RM1.04 billion in compensation to highway concessionaires as part of efforts to increase gradually toll rates over a five-year period from 1999:

  • PLUS (concessionaire of the North-South Expressway);

  • Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd or Litrak (Damansara-Puchong Highway);

  • MTD Capital (Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway);

  • Konsortium Lingkaran Tengah Sdn Bhd or Elite (North-South Expressway Central Link);

  • Projek Lintasan Kota Sdn Bhd or Prolintas (Ampang-Kuala Lumpur elevated highway);

  • Linkedua Bhd (second link expressway between Johor Baru and Singapore); and,

  • Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd (Penang bridge).

Apart from the annual RM 80 million compensation, PLUS also earned an additional compensation of RM331.68 million this year for agreeing to close the Senai toll plaza in Johor in 2 March 2004 instead of 2030. This additional RM 332 million was in exchange for the RM1.2 billion it would have lost in collections over the next 26 years. 

With such generous guarantees, it is not surprising PLUS enjoys the highest operating margin amongst toll concessionaires in the world of 82-3%, recording pre-tax profits of RM 736 million over a turnover of RM 1,580 million in 2003. Projected profits by PLUS this year is expected to be RM 800 million all contributed by Malaysians who continue to suffer congestion in highways and toll plazas.  

Datuk Samy’s excuse that this is not his decision but the government as the government would have to pay RM 38 billion if toll hikes are not allowed is unacceptable. Malaysians still remember he signed the agreement with PLUS in 1987 and he must explain why he did so 17 years ago when he knew that the government had to pay RM 38 billion in compensation. Datuk Samy Vellu should understand why Malaysians are so angry until they want him to resign when he is seen to protect and fatten the profits of one company at their expense. 

This is the difference between DAP and BN- DAP is against toll hikes whereas BN supports it. BN has obtained a huge mandate in the March general elections to protect the interests and welfare of ordinary Malaysians, not to defend the profits of one company. DAP calls on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to intervene with PLUS to stop the toll hike as a way of fulfilling his promise to protect the people’s interests 

BN must behave responsibly and remember such a mandate in the elections is not for personal gain but for public benefit. Should the government stubbornly press ahead, the people made the wrong choice in believeing BN’s promises. For those who voted for BN should remember how BN betrayed their promise to look after the people’s interests and remember to register their protest in the next general elections. 

Datuk Han Choon Khim Should Explain How Including The Words “Ketuanan Melayu” In Form 5 History Textbooks Can Look After The Interests Of All Malaysians, Especially Non-Malays

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Han Choon Khim should explain how including the words “ketuanan Melayu” in Form 5 History secondary school textbooks can look after the interests of all Malaysians, especially non-Malays. Since this issue was brought up by DAP two months ago, Datuk Han has kept silent until he could not do so when I submitted a memorandum on the need to use education as a force of unity not as a political weapon to divide Malaysians to Education Minister Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn on 10.12.2004. 

When asked by reporters, Datuk Han tried to evade the issue by saying that he had not read my memorandum as it was given to Datuk Hishamuddin and not to him as well as that the Education Ministry had to consider the interests of everyone. I can not understand such evasive explanations because even if Datuk Han had not read my memorandum, he can read the Chinese papers. And so far Datuk Han can not explain how adopting “ketuanan Melayu” in history textbooks is favourable to the rights of non-Malays in Malaysia. 

Clearly Datuk Han is lying and does not want to tell the truth that MCA and he dares not protest against against the words “ketuanan Melayu” in history textbooks. MCA may accept being second-class citizens as long as MCA leaders are comfortable in their Ministerial posts. But DAP believes that the non-Malay community would not accept a discredited racial dominance concept that reduces non-Malays to second-class citizens. 

The Education Ministry’s explanation on 15 December 2004 that “ketuanan Melayu” was mentioned as part of nation-building concepts after the Second World War and before Merdeka. After Merdeka, the words “ketuanan Melayu” was not mentioned. Such an explanation by the Ministry is misleading as it is stated that “British mengiktiraf semula ketuanan Melayu sebagai asas pembentukan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu”. And everyone knows that Perseketuan Tanah Melayu is the precursor of modern Malaysia. 

In other words, if we accept the historical thinking of the Form 5 history textbooks, our nation is founded on the racial dominance concept of “ketuanan Melayu”. This is not just wrong but completely unacceptable and irresponsible that harms nation-building and national unity.  

Racial dominance was the main cause of the Second World War causing much tragic loss of life, bloodshed and suffering. For the Education Ministry to revive this racial dominance concept of “ketuanan Melayu” at our schools to brainwash our students is not just irresponsible but dangerous as it encourages racial superiority and racial inferiority. MCA must bear full responsibility for failing to defend the historical rights and heritage of Malaysians. 

DAP reiterates our call that all references of “ketuanan Melayu” be removed from our history textbooks. Our children should be taught as being part of one nation and one Malaysian race not taught the dangerously racist ideology of “ketuanan Melayu” or “ketuanan bukan Melayu”


* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General