The Joint Communique between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China establishing diplomatic relations

DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang today issued the following statement

The Joint Communique between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China establishing diplomatic relations

The DAP welcomes the signing of the joint communiqué between the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Razak and Premier of China, Chou En-Lai, formally establishing diplomatic relation between the two countries.

The joint communique not only heralded a new chapter in the international relation of Malaysia, South East Asia and China, it also marks the fulfilment of one of the long-standing DAP objective to get the Malaysian Government to change its original pro-American anti-China posture to a non-aligned one.

The difference of the social system between the two countries like Malaysia and China should not and need not precrude a normal and correct nation-to-nation relationship based on the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.

We are happy that ambassadors will be exchanged between the two countries as soon as practicable.

However, the joint communique is disappointing in several respects.

Firstly, it leaves the fate and future of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin in Malaysia unchanged.

According to the joint communique the Malaysian and Chinese Government do not recognise dual nationality. The Chinese Government considers anyone of Chinese origin who has taken up of his own will or acquired Malaysian nationality as automatically forfeiting Chinese nationality.

As for those residents who retained Chinese nationality of their own will, the Chinese Government enjoins them to abide by the laws of Malaysia, respect the customs and habits of the people there and live in amity with them.

The problem with regard to the 200,000 stateless Chinese in Malaysia however is not a problem of dual nationality. The large majority of them are in fact Malaysians in all respect, except in the eyes of the laws. They are born in Malaysia before 1957, have accepted the Malaysian ways of life and are member of Malaysian families as they are the children, brothers and sisters of Malaysian citizens.

If not for the accident of history, circumstances and the time of their birth they would have become Malaysian citizens. They have no tie with China and many of them have no intention of returning to China.

These persons are not persons with dual nationality but have no nationality. These holders of the red identity cards have the normal conditions of becoming Malaysian citizens and what are needed is an enlightened Government policy to give them citizenship so that they can fully integrate into Malaysian society and stop suffering discrimination in terms of finding employment and other civic and human rights and interests.

Before Tun Razak visit to Peking, the minister for Special Functions, Mr. Michael Chen, told the Press that the problems of stateless persons of Chinese origin in Malaysia have been satisfactorily resolved in the negotiations between the two countries.

The Peking joint communique has therefore come as a big disappointment to them, and the DAP calls on the Government to be statesmen-like resolve this problem of 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin in Malaysia.

Secondly, the Joint Communique made no reference about free travel by the nationals of both countries following the establishment of relations. At present only those who suffered from grave illnesses or the elderly can get special permission to visit China. All these barriers between the free exchange and travels between the people of the two nations should be removed so that ‘the barriers of mind and spirit, of misunderstanding and misapprehension’ referred to by Tun Razak can be more swiftly swept away. Free travel between the people of Malaysia and China will also give greater substance and meaning to the reestablishment of the traditional friendship between Malaysia and China.

Thirdly, the Joint Communique made o mention about the reestablishment of the Bank of China in Malaysia to make possible the fullest economic and trading relationship between our two countries. The DAP urges the Government to rescind its previous decision to permit the Bank of China to operate on Malaysia soil.

In making a state visit to China and meeting the Chinese leaders, like Chairman Mao Tze-tung, Premier Zhou En-Lai and establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries, Tun Razak has regained the proper direction and course for the nation’s foreign policy. He should bravely build on from the Peking Communique so that the Malaysian and Chinese relationship can flower into a deeper, mutually beneficial and regionally fruitful one.

It is also our hope that Tun Razak would be able to learn from China’s experience and apply in Malaysia of the policies he has seen at first hand. For instance he should seriously consider the introduction of collective farms, in Malaysia so that the interest of the landless can be look after, and not as of now, where the landed interest has the overriding priority of the Government.