When Tun Dr Lim formed the United Democratic Party (UDP) after his return from England in 1961, the first president was Datuk Zainal Abidin, his former school teacher. Interestingly, another Malay academician, Syed Hussein Alatas was chosen to become the founding president of the Malaysian People's Movement Party (Gerakan) when it was formed in 1968.
Tun Dr Lim, since his Radical Party days, had always adopted a multiracial and a Malayan (later Malaysian) outlook in his politics. Datuk Zainal, a keen supporter of Datuk Onn Jaafar, later became the Penang Umno Chairman.
At the Federation of Malayan discussion, the question of nationality was furiously discussed. The dichotomy between the Malay rulers' subjects and subjects of the British was clear. Only subjects of the rulers can become Malayans.
Tun Dr Lim was one of the youngest legislative councillors in Penang at that time. He established the Radical Party to fight for self-determination i.e. the right to a personal decision to become a Malayan. In Penang, the biggest movement led by Heah Joo Seang did not want to become Malayans. Obviously, his move was not welcomed by them.
He espoused the 'tu shen' (nationality through birth) concept as an attempt to unite all races to create a truly Malayan society. He was dead against the idea that Malayans are exclusively reserved for members of a particular community 'tu chu'.
Astonishingly, Tun Dr Lim made a transition from the Radical Party (he acknowledged that it was a 'one man' party) to MCA. He was invited to join the party through his good work as a legislative councillor in Penang. He was asked to become the first CM of Penang but he declined and eventually Wong Pow Nee was appointed as the CM.
Tun left the MCA because of his disatisfaction with Umno President Tunky Abdul Rahman over his request for MCA to be given at least 30 parliamentary seats to contest. His request premised on the need to get the approval of the MCA if Umno wanted to amend the constitutions.
He formed UDP in 1961 after the Cobbald Commission. The party contested in a number of local councils elections and won a number of seats throughout Malaya e.g Segamat, Muar, Raub, Seremban, Johor Bahru and Kota Tinggi. The party's influence at the local council level formed a core support for them to contest successfully in the 1964 general elections.
The local council elections was stopped by Khor Khai Boh, an MCA Minister of Local Councils. Khor was member of Singapore's special branch before entering politics.
At the 1964 general elections, the PAP were at loggerheads with Tun Dr Lim. PAP's candidate stood against Tun in Tanjong but lost. In return, two UDP candidates stood in Singapore. Tan Chor Yong of UDP won a seat in the Singapore state legislative.
Next...(the Malaysian Solidarity Convention)