The DAP – a workers’ Party

Speech by DAP Serdang by-election candidate, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, who is also DAP Organising Secretary, at DAP by-election rally at Sungei Besi Tin Mines on December 24, 1968 at 8 p.m.

The DAP is the only democratic socialist party in Malaysia, which seeks to abolish all forms of inequality and exploitation of man by man, race by race or class by class.

The Alliance is a feudal compradore government, which is hand-in-glove with moneyed capital to squeeze every cent out of the exploited workers. The Gerakan, through its spokesman Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas at the cultural debate with the DAP, scorned at socialism.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Inche Senu Abdul Rahman, said socialism is a foreign ideology. The Gerakan, through its spokesman Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas, also scorned at socialism, as a Western product.

In Malaysia, after Merdeka, the plight of the workers have not improved. There are tens of thousands of workers who have to work under inhuman working conditions, like 12 hours a day, seven days a week, at ridiculously low pay, without medical benefits and other benefits, completely at the mercy of employers.

The DAP, though its Parliament spokesman, Mr. C.V. Devan Nair, had consistently opposed and condemned the Alliance’s labour laws, in particular the Industrial Relation Act, which have furthered tied the workers in human bondage.

The DAP’s basic objective is to abolish the unjust inequalities of wealth and opportunities under the present Alliance system, and to establish an economic order which will give all citizens the right to work and full economic returns for their labour and skill, to ensure a decent living, and social security to all those who through sickness, infirmity or old age can no longer work.

This is why we are pressing for the four following points:

1. State Social Security for the aged, infirm, sick, redundant and unemployed, in both urban and rural areas, to ensure that no Malaysian starve or go in want through no fault of his own.

2. Minumim wage for all manual workers, whether in estates, mines or factories, to ensure that every worker gets a fair wage, lead a decent and human life for himself.

3. Revision of labour laws in the country to protect workers from management victimization, intimidation, arbitrary actions and to safeguard the worker’s fundamental rights;

4. Legislation to control fragmentation of estates to ensure that no worker suffers as a result of it.

The DAP also calls for the amendment for the Workmen’s Compensation, which was first enacted nearly two decades ago and are now gravely inadequate to meet present needs. The amount of compensation for death and injuries for workers’ dependents should be increased by at least 100%.

We also urge the government to accord recognition to May Day as a paid public holiday to mark the dignity of labour.

Before I conclude, I wish to say a few words about the Gerakan by-election campaign in Serdang.

I have always believed that politics is the highest public calling in the service of men and society, and that it is not politics which is dirty, but dishonourable and unscrupulous men who have dirtied the waters of politics through trying to gain cheap profit or publicity by whatever means.

I still believe in the high purpose of politics. But I must confess that I have been most disappointed by Dr. Tan Chee Khoon’s campaign of unprincipled attack on me personally and DAP.

I am beginning to understand why the Labour Party wanted to expel Dr. Tan Chee Khoon for being opportunistic and for betraying the party principles.

I advise Dr. Tan Chee Khoon that there is nothing more precious than one’s moral integrity and honesty. I for one am not prepared to win any election through dishonest and unscrupulous means, or through baseless personal attacks and unfounded and malicious lies.

I appeal to Dr. Tan, for his own sake and the sake of Malaysian politics, to halt the Gerakan’s campaign of slander, lies and downright falsehood against the DAP. Let the Gerakan justify its policies but stop character assassination.

It would be a pity if Dr. Tan should thrown away all his moral scruples in the Serdang by-election campaign, all for the sake of ensuring that it is not the DAP, but the Alliance, which wins the by-election. For Dr. Tan knows that Gerakan cannot win in Serdang.