DAP calls for repeal of Internal Security Act and closure of Taiping detention camp

Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Taiping DAP Solidarity Dinner organized by the Taiping DAP Branch at Kwongtung Association, Temple Street, Taiping, on Saturday, 8th December 1973 at 7p.m.

DAP calls for repeal of Internal Security Act and closure of Taiping detention camp

Taiping, which means Great Peace, is now acquiring new identification which I am sure the people of Taiping do not relish.

This is Taiping becoming the headquarters of political detention in West Malaysia, with the closure of the Batu Gajah and Muar detention camps.

The Internal Security Act, which permits detention without trial for indefinite duration, is an Act which offends the rule of law and natural justice.

We have seen so many people detained indefinitely without good reason under the Internal Security Act that this measure can only be seen as a highly oppressive instrument to stamp out dissent and opposition.

Examples that easily come to mind are Hamid Tuah, the peasant champion, who was put behind bars for two years for his courage and conscience for championing the cause of the landless in Malaysia. Another example is the PSRM State Assemblyman from Pahang, Dzulkifli bin Ismail, whose reason for detention is equally flimsy and untenable.

I call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, to review every case and release every one of the four hundred political detainees whom the government cannot prefer charges against in open court, and as for the rest, to put them on trial publicly. The Taiping detention headquarters should be closed down and the Internal Security Act abolished.

Many political detainees who have been released from detention find it impossible to return to normal life, especially with a variety of government restrictions imposed on them.

These restrictions should all be lifted so that all ex-political detainees can become full members of society, and will have no difficulties either in getting employment or going abroad for further studies, as they now face.

Call for a government of vision, statesmanship and courage to solve the basic problems of nation building in Malaysia

The people’s discontents and frustrations cannot be abolished either by applying the Internal Security Act by detaining persons indefinitely without trial, or by trying to seduce and subvert opposition parties into joining the National Front.

Malaysia is blessed with great natural resources. She is the world’s leading producer for rubber, tin, timber, palm oil, pepper. With a wise, even-handed and statesmanlike government leadership, the people of diverse races should be able to come together in one spirit to build and share in the prosperity of Malaysia.

Unfortunately, this is not the case, and we find our natural resources and wealth frittered away in unproductive projects or grabbed by foreigners or by a small class of Malay and Chinese capitalists.

The agents of foreign interests and the coterie of Malay, Chinese and Indians capitalists go round the country to spread the myth that the riches in Malaysia are in the hands of the Chinese, while all Malays are poor. In fact, the majority of the Malays, Chinese and Indians are poor, and the greatest imbalance in wealth is not between Malays and non-Malays but between Malaysians and foreigners.

Those who deliberately spread such myths and falsehoods, to continue to divide Malaysians of all races, are the real enemies of a multi-racial Malaysian nation.

Recently, during the Mid-Term Review Debate in Parliament on the Second Malaysia Plan, an Alliance Member of Parliament, Datuk Tajuddin Ali, commented on DAP’s call for a genuine restructuring of Malaysian society.

Datuk Tajuddin said the Chinese do not want to join the armed forces and the police because the pay was low, and that the Chinese are money minded for if the salaries for the armed forces and police are raised, they would then make a rush for these jobs.

Datuk Tajuddin makes the mistake of regarding all Malaysian Chinese to be like MCA politicians, who are all money-minded.

I have no doubt that if a proper recruitment exercise had been conducted, there would be sufficient non-Malays who would want to join the armed services and the police.

What is needed in Malaysia today is government which has the vision, courage and statesmanship to rise above considerations of race, solve the problem of poverty as a socio-economic one and not a racial question, and redistribute the wealth and income of Malaysia equitably to all Malaysians so that there is no ground or room for suspicion, doubts and growing disunity.