Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, when he officially opened the Cha’ah DAP Branch in Johor on 29th August 1971 at 5.30pm
DAP calls for (i) full employment policy (ii) positive government steps to reduce price of essential commodities, like rice, sugar, salt and cooking oil
This is the second DAP Branch in the Bekok constituency to be opened, a further evidence of the solid gains we made in the Bekok by-election.
When we contested in the Bekok by-election, we spoke of the grave problems of unemployment in the country, and the growing hardships of the people.
These problems have worsened these few months. Rubber prices have been hitting the 40 cents mark, and had in fact, fallen below 40 cents recently.
Malaysian economy is greatly dependent, in fact over dependent, on rubber, and the fall in the rubber price has reduced the money and purchasing power not only of rubber tappers, but shop=keepers, traders, hawkers and workers.
Unemployment has continued to rise, with more and more youths each year leaving school without prospect of jobs, accompanied by more and more workers thrown out of work without hope of getting a new one.
In fact, the government itself admitted that it could not solve the unemployment problem. The Second Malaysian Plan admitted that under the First Malaysian Plan, the pace of new job creation could not keep up with the strong spurt in labour supply. As result, unemployment rose from about 180,000 or 6.5 per cent of the labour force in 1965 to about 250,000 or about 8 per cent in 1970.
Under the Second Malaysian Plan, even if the Plan is successfully carried out, there will be 300,000 unemployed. The Second Malaysian Plan, therefore, in the government’s own figures, is a Plan to have 300,000 unemployed people.
The DAP calls on the government to work for full employment of all Malaysian labour force. This is possible if we have a dynamic, far-sighted and intelligent government.
Coupled with mounting unemployment, reduced earning arising from the fall in rubber price, the increasing cost of living in essential commodities has compounded the hardships of the people.
The rise in the price of essential commodities hit the poor in the towns and the rural areas hardest, for they cannot do without the essential items.
The government will be doing the poor of all races in Malaysia a great help if it take positive , concrete steps to check the rise in the prices of essential commodities and reduce the prices of the basic ones, such as sugar, salt, cooking oil and rice.