Tun Tan Siew Sin’s deception

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Yew Road, Pudu, on Sunday, January 26, 1969 at 8p.m. to mark the opening of the Pudu DAP Branch the same afternoon

On 9th January, the Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin presented a painless budget, and announced that all is well with the Malaysian economy, although unemployment have reached alarming proportions and the country is in debt by over $4,000 million.

Tun Tan was clearly presenting an election budget to deceive the people, in the hope of getting their votes during the coming general elections.

But a week after Tun Tan announced in Parliament that the Alliance government was holding down defence expenditure, the Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, began a shopping spree in the Western European capitals for jet-fighters, which will cost Malaysia to the tune of $60 million to $100 million.

This is no small sum of money. Where is it to come from? Surely the money won’t fall from the sky. Didn’t Tun Tan know that the Prime Minister was going to shop for expensive jet-fighters?

Tun Tan Siew Sin has deliberately deceived the people of Malaysia in his 1969 budget. It is clear that the Alliance has decided to go on a shopping spree for defence hardware which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But the Alliance government has not shown this in the budget, because it will mean increases in taxes on a scale which has never been known in Malaysia before.

What Tun Tan Siew Sin is doing is to wait for the general elections to be over, before imposing far-ranging taxes to meet the Alliance’s new defence bill.

From past Alliance performance, one can be sure that the Alliance Ministers will go for prestigious defence hardware, which will cost a lot of money, but which will be of little use to Malaysian purposes.

The Alliance government’s habit of extravagance and waste has become too ingrained to change. They waste millions of dollars on prestigious and unproductive projects like the Subang International Airport, the Parliament House, Angkasapuri, the Subang Golf Course, the National Monument.

Similarly, in defence, the Alliance will do the same thing, buy expensive defence weapons and jet-fighters, and get Malaysia into higher taxation and deeper debts, without greatly increasing Malaysia’s defence capability.

Tun Tan Siew Sin should stop bluffing the people. He should be frank and let the people know what defence shopping plans the Alliance has in mind, and let the people give or deny them the mandate.

What is the use of 16 mirages jet-fighter if the people of Malaysia are divided and disunited? The Mirages may land in foreign airports and never come back.

It is clear that the Alliance government has not done any deep thinking about Malaysia’s defence problem and needs. There must not only be a thorough and full discussion and debate of our defence requirements in the Cabinet, but in the nation as well. The DAP therefore calls on the government to initiate a nation-wide discussion, through the press, radio, television, to tackle this vitally important problem which can mean the survival or death of the Malaysian nation.