Protect Malaysian fishermen in the Straits of Malacca from armed, uniformed naval piracy

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Public Rally at Batu Berendam, Malacca on Saturday, 8th Sept. 1973 at 9 p.m

DAP calls on the Malaysian Government to protect Malaysian fishermen in the Straits of Malacca from armed, uniformed naval piracy in international waters

In the last one month, we read in the press that the Malacca fishermen were victims of two cases of piracy in international waters in the Straits of Malacca. In the first piracy, five vessels were involved, while in the second case, 19 vessels were involved.

The fishing boats, gear, catches and other properties were seized and detained along with the fishermen, until they were ransomed with solid cash. It is reported that the ransom money paid for the release for each vessel is $3000, which works out to a total ransom money of over $70000 for the 24 vessels robbed and fishermen kidnapped. I have received complaints that during the period of detention, awaiting release on payment of ransom money, the Malaysian fishermen were ill-treated.

That the Malaysian fishermen from Malacca and other coastal areas along the Straits of Malacca have been the constant victims of high-sea piracy is a well-know fact to the people and government. That these high-sea pirates are armed, uniformed naval personnel from Indonesia in naval gunboats is not only a public knowledge, but has been admitted by the late Tun Dr. Ismail when I questioned him on the question in the August session of Parliament last year.

It is regrettable however that the Malaysian authorities have failed to take positive measures to protect Malaysian fishermen from high-sea harassment and victimization by Indonesian armed, uniformed pirates, as illustrated by the two recent incidents of piracy of Malacca fishermen.

The Malaysian Government should take up this lawlessness and piracy on the Malacca Straits international waters with the Indonesian Government, and in the spirit of ASEAN fraternity, seek Indonesian assistance to check their Indonesian naval personnel from pirating Malaysian fishermen, endangering their lives and property.

I have received complaints that when the Malaysian fishermen lodged reports with the local marine police about acts of high-sea piracy they were treated very unsympathetically.

The Malaysian Defence Ministry should intensify naval and air patrols to ensure that Malaysian fishermen can carry out their livelihood in safety.

In this connection, the Malaysian fishermen in Malacca and other parts of the country should organize themselves and take up this matter with both the State and Federal authorities.

If my services are required, I am prepared to render all assistance in this regard.