Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Bandar Hilir Padang on Saturday, 1st April 1972 at 9 p.m.
DAP calls for repeal of Sales Tax
This is the second DAP public rally in Malacca for my colleagues and I to report to the people of Malacca the latest political situation in the country, and the recent proceedings in Parliament and the Malacca State Assembly.
DAP calls for abolition of 5% Sales Tax
The DAP Members of Parliament were the most outspoken in Parliament in opposition to the Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin’s, new-fangled 5% Sales Tax, because of the hardships it would cause the poor and the low-income bracket.
Although there is a list of goods exempted from the 5% Sales Tax, the working of the Sales Tax is sure to raise the cost of living of the poor, who are already burdened with a multitude of problems, like the spiraling rise in the price of essential commodities, the fall in their earnings from the collapse in the price of rubber, the mounting unemployment in the country, and to the people of Malacca, the general lack of economic activities and opportunities after the British withdrawal from the Terendak camp.
All the small-scale industries, like furniture-making, printing, jobbing, have also to pay Sales Tax, undermining their profitability and therefore existence.
Now, even the dead are not spared, for coffin-makers have also to pay Sales Tax.
One little-noticed power that Tun Tan Siew Sin has taken upon himself is that he can vary upwards the Sales Tax from 5% to either 10% or even 20%.
In all his years as Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, has not shown sympathy or understanding for the poor, whether in towns or kampongs, new villages or estates.
This 5% Sales Tax is the latest example, and the DAP condemns the 5% Sales Tax for the hardship it causes the poor, and call for its abolition.
Finally, it must be noted that although the Finance Minister has at present exempted some items from the Sales Tax, he has the absolute power to, at a later date, withdraw these exemptions, without recourse to Parliament. With Tun Tan Siew Sin noted for his anti-poor tendencies, it is not far-fetched to expect this to take place in the days to come.
For the past one year, housewives and consumers in Malaysia have been the most frustrated class of people in the country. Every time they go shopping, they would find one good or another having increased in price.
With the small pay-packet in the hand of the poor, the rise in the price of an entire range of goods has strained the resources and nerves of housewives and consumers.
Yet, when I raised this in Parliament recently, the finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, said that there is great price stability in the country, and that there had only been 1% increase in the price index. It is therefore impossible to expect any help and sympathy for the poor from such Ministers, who themselves come from capitalist class.
The sugar crisis at the beginning of this year is a good example of the incompetence and heartlessness of a government which is basically unconcerned about the fate of the poor. It is here worth noting that our nearest neighbor, Singapore, has no sugar crisis – because the government there act firmly against profiteers and speculators.
I have received reports that the sugar manufacturers are now urging the Ministry of Trade and Industry to approve increase in the price of sugar in April.
I would like here to warn the Ministry not to approve any increase in the price of sugar, which will be an added blow to the poor. The sugar manufacturers have made a pile of fortune from the sugar industry and they should be required, in the national interest, to reduce their profit margin in the interest of not aggravating the hardships of the millions of workers, farmers, fishermen.
I would like here to urge the minister of Trade and Industry, Inche Khir Johari, to announce that the government will not permit any increase in the price of sugar for the next 12 months, to once and for all, resolve the artificial sugar crisis in Malaysia.
Call for further extension of date to allow import of China-made goods from Hong Kong and Singapore
On April 20, China-made goods will have to be imported through Pernas direct, and can not come in through a third country, except medicinal herbs.
It is widely feared that this move will lead to further increase in the price of commodities. At a time, when the people are already suffering grave hardships, the government must avoid any measure which will only add to their burden.
China-made goods have been popular with the poor, whether Chinese, Malays or Indians, because of their cheap price. If their prices increase, it is the poor who will suffer.
I will therefore call on the government to further extend the April 20 deadline banning import of China-made goods through Hong Kong or Singapore, in the interest of the poor of all races.
DAP Call on government to stop its Article 30 Citizenship Verification exercise
A few days ago, a government spokesman announced that there are still 158,000 Article 30 Citizenship papers which have not been submitted for verification.
The DAP is adamantly opposed to this Verification Exercise of Article 30 Citizenship, and calls on the Government to halt this exercise.
All those who acquired the Article 30 Citizenship papers became citizens on good faith, and it is illegal and unconstitutional on the part of the government now to cancel any Article 30 citizenship.
We have been told that the MCA new blood are a new leadership, who dare to speak out for the people, and do as they say.
It is significant that on this question of Article 30 citizenship verification exercise, the MCA new blood, whether he is Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Mr. Alex Lee, or Mr. Lew Sip Hon, had not spoken out against the verification exercise.
I would here challenge that MCA new blood leaders, including Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Mr. Alex Lee, Mr. Lew Sip Hon, and all others, to state categorically that they are opposed to the government verification exercise of Article 30 citizenship papers, and use their position in the Cabinet and in the Alliance party to halt this verification exercise.
If they can do this, then it will be proof that they can exercise some influence in policy-making decisions of the Cabinet and the Alliance and not mere stooges.
Let the MCA new blood, let Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Mr. Alex Lee and Mr. Lew Sip Hon, prove themselves!