Message by DAP secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, for the DAP National Tamil-speaking Seminar to held in Klang on Oct. 23 and 24 1971
The Democratic Action Party is a multi-racial movement, where there is a place for all the languages, cultures and religions found in Malaysia.
Similarly, the DAP seeks to establish a multi-racial Malaysia, where all languages, cultures and religions can flourish freely.
The DAP National Tamil-speaking seminar is one further proof of the DAP’s abiding commitment to the ideal and objective of multi-racialism and cultural democracy.
The Indians in Malaysia have made a great contribution to the wealth and prosperity of Malaysia. They had provided the backbone to the rubber economy, in their daily toil to extract latex which turned into fat profits for the rubber estate owners.
There had been a lot of talk lately about the inequality of wealth between the Malays and non-Malays. Such talks are dangerous, mischievous and detrimental to the unity of diverse Malaysians.
Firstly, it is untrue that the non-Malays are rich and wealthy, while the Malays are poor and downtrodden. The majority of the Malays, Chinese and Indians are poor and downtrodden.
Secondly, the real wealth of the country is not in the hands of the Chinese and the Indians. They are in the hands of the foreigners.
In 1969, of the total $4,678 million share capital, 62.1% was accounted for by foreign interests compared with 22.8%by Chinese, 1.5% by Malays and 0.9% by Indians. Foreign interests accounted for one-half to three-quarters of the share capital of limited companies in estate agriculture, mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, banking and finance. They also accounted for more than one-third of the share capital of limited companies in construction, retail trade and other industries.
Padi farms are practically all owned by Malays. Of the total 4.2 million acres of land under rubber in West Malaysia, 37% were owned by Malays, 42% by non-Malays and 21% by foreigners. Three quarters of the oil palm and coconut acreages on estates in West Malaysia at the end of 1970 were owned by foreigners.
Thus, it will be more pertinent to talk of equalisation of wealth and incomes between Malaysians and foreigners, rather than between Malays and non-Malays.
The Indians in Malaysia today are facing a more acute problem in finding jobs than other communities. This position is aggravated by the serious retrenchment of workers in rubber estates, the traditional employment market for Indians, and the grave unemployment problem in the country.
The 1967-1968 Socio-Economic Household Survey reported that in 1962, the unemployment rate in terms of the labour force for each of the major races in Malaysia, namely Malays, Chinese and Indians, was practically the same at 6%. In 1967/1968, unemployment rate among the Chinese went up to 6.9%, the Indians shot up to 10.3% while that of Malays went down to 5.8%
I believe that a socio-economic study for 1971 will show that the unemployment rate among Indians must have gone up to around 15%.
These are grave problems to the Malaysian Indians and to the country. We in the DAP must study these problems, bring them to the attention of the government and country, and propose solutions which can give every Malaysians, regardless of race, a place under the Malaysian sun.
I wish the DAP National Tamil speaking seminar constructive and fruitful deliberations on the problems of the people and nation.