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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No 21. August 28, 1974

Put Defeated....

Put Defeated.....

Dear Sir,

In the last issue of 'Suara Siswa' I was amused to read that two out of four articles printed were criticisms of my friend B. Put. One made an indirect attack on him by saving "If the MSA has a radical president (say for example one with the convictions of R. Pui), then the entire policy of the Association will swing to the left."

What he has been saying as far as I know from my long time friendship with him since schooldays in Kuching, is that he is only extreme in the sense that he believes in democratic ideals. He himself has argued that if to hold such views means being a 'leftist' then it must be very trendy as all politicians here and elsewhere claim to uphold similar views! May God defend us from such people!

The second one was by Mr Ken Lim who is very short sighted to say the least. He said WMSA "just cannot condone the actions of Robert Pui....I am not impressed by the arguments that we should think of our future generations in the case because:
1)We are not certain how much we could achieve by this self sacrifice.
2)Are we sure there Is no other way of achieving our aim without sacrificing ourselves.
3)When one's action is strongly backed by the left-wing group, this is not independent nor wise, because Malaysian Government will immediately view it unfavourably even before one says anything, however reasonable it is."

I shall not set out the more derogatory things Mr Lim said of my friend. I think the three things he has said is enough to destroy any credibility he has left with the Malaysian students. His first statement shows his inward looking approach to life as opposed to Robert's more humane approach. In the second he asks a question without attempting to answer it. I would suggest that no one in history has achieved anything without sacrificing something. Only one type of person has managed not to sacrifice anything to gain something, that is the opportunist. It is worrying that someone who is supposed to represent the interests of such a large group of people should appear to be an opportunist. I hope Mr Lim will criticise himself and change his approach.

As for an alternative way to achieve 'our aim' Robert has put forward reasonable ways such as petitioning the home government to bring to its notice the concern of Malaysians here about the dictatorial approach it takes in governing the country. He has also suggested petitioning the UN. Are these proposals so extreme that we have to take a lily livered approach? I ask Mr Lim to give me some examples of 'ways' of changing the home government apart from voting it out of power which he knows Is impossible to do.

In his third argument in defending his own lack of initiative he reasoned that he cannot back Robert because of his 'left-wing' support. I wonder what this means as I have been unable to find out in my conversations with him, that he has the support of the NZ Communist Party, Labour Party or the Young Nationals or even the October Club. That leaves the NZUSA. If we care to trace the history of this body, it has always stood up against injustice everywhere in the world. Ken Lim talks about his great achievements in organising social functions but has he ever supported wider causes than helping the handicapped? NZUSA in my opinion has been the only organisation that has so far sincerely looked after the interest of overseas students. Lim perhaps could learn from it.

Whatever he says some things are clear. He agrees that there is injustice at home. He agrees that something should be done about it. He has had to come out to condemn the Malaysian Government in the Khoo issue and also against the interference by the High Commission last year. He has committed himself this much and I do not think he can attempt to separate himself from his actions by declaring that he is against Robert. It is too late!

The conclusion to be drawn from 'Suara Siswa's' attacks seem to be based on a scare that Robert is going to run for next year's MSA Presidency. I urge you to do so Rob, MSA needs a strong leadership.

Keep up the good work, Old Mate.