Lim Kit Siang to Alliance Ministers: Stop competing among yourselves as to who go overseas more often!

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Pulau tikus Market, Penang on Thursday, 27th March 1969 at 9 p.m.

There is a competition among Alliance Ministers as to who travel abroad most often and stay overseas longest – at the taxpayers’ expenses!

The three Ministers who are way ahead of others in this Cabinet contest are Inche Khir Johari. Education Minister. Mr. Khaw Kai Boh, Housing Minister, and Inche Sardon bin Jubir, Transport Minister. It is no wonder that these three Ministries are in such terrible mess.

Inche Khir Johari is producing school children who, after sixe years of schooling, are hardly literate. Mr. Khaw Kai Boh build so few houses in the last five years that he had to put up huge advertisement boards throughout the country to boast about his so-called housing achievements. In the first four years of his office, Inche Khaw built 1,500 units per year –when in Singapore, the same numbers of houses are being built every month! As for Inche Sardon, his Malaysian railways is always in the red and the trains always late, while his ports are the terror and agony of all traders, because of their indescribable inefficiency, incompetence and corruption.

If these Ministers had paid more attention to their public responsibilities, they might have done a better job. But no, they are more interested in looking out for opportunities to go abroad and have a nice time.

At the drop of hat, and with the slightest excuse, they will take off for oversea, whether it is for some family planning conference in Chile in the case of Inche Khir Johari, or some scouting jamboree at the other end of the world for Inche Sardon bin Jubir, or just to lead a woman basketball team to Korea in the case of Mr. Khaw Kai Boh.

Up to today, I still cannot understand why a male Minister had to lead a woman basketball team overseas. One would have thought a Minister of His Majesty’s Government would have more onerous and important responsibilities and duties to attend to than to be a chaperon of dozen-odd woman basketball players in Korea!

A serious-minded Prime Minister would never allow his Cabinet Ministers to compete with one another to orbit round the globe. I will therefore call on the Prime Minister to put a stop to his Ministers from running around the world, when they should pay more time and attention to their portforlios. The Ministers themselves should also realise their duties and stop competing among themselves as to who go overseas more often and stay abroad longest.

But this state of affairs illustrate the happy-go-lucky attitude of Alliance Ministers to their duties. This is why 12 years after Alliance rule, Tun Tan Siew Sin has piled up $4,000 million national debt for Malaysia – or at the rate of $400 for every person, whether man or woman, adult or child. And this is also why unemployment have been allowed to soar to unprecedented heights to around 500,000 people, while Tunku Abdul Rahman talks irresponsibility about there being no unemployment problem in Malaysia.

The Alliance government is a regime of wastrels and spenders. After the elections, at the next budget, the Malaysian people will have to pay for their extravagance and waste in the form of increased and new taxes.

This was what happened after the last general elections in 1964, when Tun Tan Siew Sin introduced a whole range of regressive and obnoxious tax measures, like the famous Tan Siew Sin tax on telephone, the payroll tax, the turnover tax, the development tax, the increases in business registration fees, driving licence fees, etc.

The same fate will await the people of Malaysia after the next month elections, when they will be required to pay more taxes to finance the Alliance’s extravagance and waste.

When Tun Tan Siew Sin formulates his budget, one cannot expect sympathy and understanding from him for the poor. Tun Tan Siew Sin belongs to the millionaire class, and he just does not understand the misery, suffering and poverty of the workers, peasants, rubber tappers, or even the unemployed – because he had never experienced the pain, humiliation and suffering of the downtrodden and exploited.

This is why Tun Tan Siew Sin is in the habit of imposing taxes which hit the poor hardest, while letting off the rich who are most able to pay like, for instance, the development tax and the short-lived crown cork tax.

May 10 is the polling day for the general elections, and it is the day for all Malaysians to register their protest and opposition to Tun Tan Siew Sin’s economic and financial polices, and their disapproval of the Alliance’s policy of waste and extravagance – while hundreds of thousands of Malaysians room the streets, towns and villages without jobs.

The DAP calls on the people of Penang to vote solidly for the opposition in the general elections, and in particular for the rocket and the DAP in the Penang Utara Parliamentary constituency and the Jelutong, Kelawei and Tanjong Bungah state constituencies.

For us in the DAP, we want these constituencies which we are contesting to become the base to launch a democratic socialist Malaysia and we are confident of sweeping the decadent Alliance out of office in subsequent elections because we in the DAP have the stamina, dedication, grit and ideology to keep on our political struggle until final victory is ours.