Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when he officially opened the Kampong Simee DAP Branch in Ipoh on Sunday, 13th August 1972 at 4.30 p.m.
DAP calls on Malaysian Government to be firm in its dealings with the Indonesian Government to protect Malaysian fishermen from piracy from armed, uniformed naval Indonesian personnel
Last night, when attending the DAP public rally at Pulau Pangkor, I had occasion to learn from first hand the hardship and sufferings of the fishermen of Pulau Pangkor, particularly caused by the piracy in the high seas.
When I asked the government in Parliament few days ago what measures it was taking to protect Malaysian fishermen from piracy, the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Tun Dr. Ismail said the government has both sea and air patrols to counter and check piracy.
These assurances, though they sound very well on paper, do not impress the Pulau Pangkor fishermen at all.
For years, the Pulau Pangkor fishermen had been the victims of high-sea piracy. Whenever they reported to the marine police about the robbing of their fishing gears, catches, nets, and other property to the local marine police, they never get redress. On the contrary, they will get reprimand and scolding by the marine police.
This is why Tun Dr. Ismail said there were only 14 cases of piracy last year and 7 cases from January to June this year. The fishermen, whether from Pulau Pangkor or in Malacca, prefer not to report to the marine police, which can only put them to more inconvenience and reprimand without any redress whatsoever.
The Malaysian fisherman in Pulau Pangkor, Malacca and other parts of the Western seaboard of Western Malaysian have stayed inshore, for they fear victimization by the pirates when they go out to sea.
As a result, their earnings have fallen, leading to greater hardships. This has also led to fish scarcity, causing a rise in fish price in the market.
The Government has admitted in Parliament to my questioning that many of the pirates are armed, uniformed naval personnel from Indonesia. The Malaysian Government should be firm in its dealings with the Indonesian government to put a stop to such highly-organised piracy of Malaysian fishermen by Indonesian naval patrols.
The DAP calls on Malaysian government to immediately initiate discussions with the Indonesian authorities to give protection and safeguard to our Malaysian fishermen when they go out to sea. The Malaysian marine police should stop berating and scolding Malaysian fishermen when they lodged reports.
The government handling of the Pulau Jerak piracy of 50-odd Pulau Pangkor fishermen is most unsatisfactory. Pulau Jerak is in international waters, and instead of encouraging and protecting local fishermen, the Marine Police have warned the Pulau Pangkor fishermen not to fish in Pulau Jerak or face the consequences.
The government needs to change its attitude towards the fishermen, as they belong to the poor and have-not strata of Malaysian society, which the Malaysian government has promised to help under the Second Malaysia Plan.