The ‘new champion’ of Malaysian workers – Tan Sri T.H.Tan

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the inaugural meeting of the protem committee of the Kuchai DAP Branch on 25th March 1969 at 9 p.m.

In a statement on Monday, the Secretary-General of the Alliance, Tan Sri T.H.Tan, said no party could match the record of the Alliance in service to the workers.

It must come as a shock to the workers of Malaysia to find in Tan Sri T.H.Tan the self-styled now champion of Malaysian workers.

But it is so easy to expose the Alliance for its empty profession of concern for workers’ welfare.

A recent example is the lock-out of 70-odd workers by the management of Central Printing Co. at Petaling Jaya. The management locked –out the workers because the workers united to form a union, and submitted claims for revised salaries and improved working conditions.

The management’s lock-out was a mass punishment of the workers for their unionization. In enlightened and progressive countries, such blatant anti-labour acts are never allowed.

But in Malaysia, not only are these blatant anti-labour acts permitted, they have the support and encouragement of the government.

This was why the Ministry of Labour, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Lee San Choon, refused to lift a finger to help the locked-out workers of the Central Printing Co. at Petaling Jaya.

On the contrary, the government and Mr. Lee San Choon told the workers to kow-tow to the management’s demands.
The Central Print Co. was supposed to be closed down because of its financial losses. But it has now re-opened and re-started production, with new employees. This clearly prove the ulterior motive of the lock-out.

But what has happened to the locked-out workers? They have swelled the ranks of the unemployed, after over 20 of them were detained for picketing outside the printing premises. All those dismissed workers will feel greater resentment against the present system which does not allow them to ask for a more decent living standard and the right to form a union.

If the Alliance, as Tan Sri T.H.Tan claims, has unequalled record in the service of the workers, what has he to say about the recent case of the Central Printing Co. at P.J.

What has Inche Manickavasagam or Mr. Lee San Choon to say?

So long as the Alliance leadership Is made up of millionaires and rubber magnates, tycoons, the workers’ lot will be a miserable one. I can give a string of instances where helpless workers were exploited without mercy, and crushed when they tried to unite to protect their legitimate rights and interests.

I hereby challenge Tan Sri T.H.Tan, the Alliance and the MCA to justify its collusion and conspiracy with the Central Printing Co. to browbeat, crush and exploit the workers.

Let the Alliance labour record be illustrated by its handling of the lock-out of the Central Printing Co. at P.J.