The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement(26/2/69) :
The Australian and New Zealand decision to maintain their forces in Malaysia and Singapore despite the British defence withdrawal in 1971 will give Malaysia and Singapore more breathing space to develop stronger defence mechanisms of their own.
We must never forget that although the Australian and New Zealand governments have now decided to continue to participate in the collective defence arrangements after 1971, there is nothing to prevent this decision from being reversed at a later date, if Australians and New Zealanders decide that this is to their own best interest in changed circumstances.
Malaysia should make full use of this breathing space to do basic thinking and planning about her defence problems and needs.
Since the British announcement that she was withdrawing militarily from South East Asia, the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore governments have got down to fundamental reappraised and thinking about their defence requirements. But not Malaysia, which is drifting from day to day, without any overall defence policy.
Indeed, the decision by the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to buy jetfighters when he was in London last month seemed to have been made by him personally at the spur of the moment without the knowledge of his Cabinet colleagues. Surely, the defence of a country must be treated more seriously, and not dependent on the whims and fancies of a personal.
We call on the Malaysian government to do serious thinking on Malaysia’s defence problems, and needs, to encourage a national debate on the issue, and to produce a White Paper on how it sees the defence problems of Malaysia, and how it proposes to deal with the defence future, challenges and needs.
There are many basic problems to be resolved when it comes to Malaysian defence. The defence of a country is not merely a military problem, or otherwise the Americans would have triumphed in Vietnam years ago.
The defence of a problem is inseparable from the political stability and national unity of a country.
Among the basic problems which must be resolved, before there can be secure defence of Malaysia, is to resolve two political problems: what is it we are defending: – a Malay Malaysia, a Chinese Malaysia, an Indian Malaysia, or a Malaysian Malaysia?
Who is to do the defending – only Malays, Chinese, or Indians, or should it be all Malaysian citizens! Should the Malay Regiment continue to be expanded, or should it be integrated in a Malaysian Regiment, open to all races, languages and religions, so long as they are citizens of Malaysia.
There should be a full debate on the defence problems and requirements of Malaysia. It should be held in the press, radio and television, and participated by Malaysians of all walks of life, political colour and communities.
We invite the government to initiate such a debate.