DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement:
DAP calls for a full-scale public inquiry into the accidental shooting of two innocent tappers by security forces in Kuala Kangsar on 27.5.1974 to restore the public confidence in the security forces
I have today written a letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, calling for a full-scale public inquiry into the accidential shooting of two women tappers in Kuala Kangsar, by security forces on 27.5.1974, to restore the public confidence in the security forces and to prevent the deterioration of relations between the people and the government.
I have also urged the government and to pay ample compensation to the families of the two dead women tappers, for written government assurance to meet the full educational and living expenses of the seven children who have been rendered motherless by the shooting.
In my letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, I said:
“While in Kuala Kangsar yesterday, 2.6.1974, the Member of Parliament for Batu Gajah, Sdr. Lim Cho Hock, and I met the husbands of the two woman tappers, Lee Lai Mai, 26(I/C 1024622) and Wong Yue Kew @ Wong Kwai Tow, 31, (I/C 3093629) who were shot dead by the security forces at Kampong Ribai, Kuala Kangsar on 27.5.1974 at about 4 a.m., while the two woman tappers were cycling to their morning tapping.
We also met the villagers from their kampong, Pasong Ulu, who were all very disturbed by the tragedy, and we later visited the site of the shooting and killing at Kampong Ribai.
“The shooting of two innocent, unarmed women tapers on their morning rounds by security forces have greatly shaken the confidence of the people, not only of Pasong Ulu, but Kuala Kangsar and the surrounding areas, on the security forces and given them much to worry about their own safety and that of their near ones.
“Although the authorities have admitted that this was an accidental shooting, the matter cannot and should not be allowed to rest there, if public confidence in the security forces is to be restored, and the deterioration of relations between the people and government prevented from taking place.
“What makes the shooting all the more inexplicable and unjustifiable is that Pasong Ulu and Kampong Ribai never had security problems, is and was never a black area, and that on the day of shooting in question, no curfew was imposed, nor were the people in the area aware of the presence of security forces.
“Both women tappers head-lamps when cycling to work at about 4 a.m. on the day in question, and from eye-witness accounts, there is completely no reason or occasion to justify any accidental shooting.
“The two women were shot about 70 feet away, when approaching the soldiers. One died on the spot, while the other least half an hour in great pain and crying agony,
“There is a great sense of insecurity by the labouring class in Pasong Ulu and Kuala Kangar, after the shooting incident. In fact, the people of Pasong Ulu were so disturbed that they did not go out to tap for five days after the shooting.
“What has happened is not merely accidental shooting, but irresponsible shooting, as a result of which, seven children have been rendered motherless and robbed of mother love. Madam Lee Lai Mai has left behind four children, two boys and two girls, with ages ranging from three to six, while Madam Wong Yue Kew has left behind three children, a boy and two girls, with ages ranging from 3 to 11.
“There is no doubt that the people of Kuala Kangsar and elsewhere in Perak have lost considerable confidence in the security forces, and the relations between the people and government are at an all-time low.
“The government has often called in the people to co-operate closely with the authorities and the security forces, but the Kuala Kangsar shooting affairs has mollifies all these appeals and antagonized the people.
“To restore the people’s confidence in the security forces and the government, and to repair the damage done to the relations between people and government, the one pre-condition is that the authorities must not condone such trigger-happy, free-shooting incidents.
“The government should institute a full-scale public inquiry and punish those persons responsible for the irresponsible shooting, amounting to the murder, of two innocent, unarmed women tappers in an area which has never been a security problem.
“If the government attempts to cover up the Kuala Kangsar security shooting of two unarmed civilians, the net results must be a further undermining of public confidence in the security forces and government.
“Furthermore, as a gesture of the government’s repentance for the two unjustified shootings killing two innocent women tappers, the governments, whether Federal or State, or both, should pay ample compensation to the families of the two dead, and give written government guarantee to support the seven motherless children for all educational expenses, up to university level, and to looking after of their living expenses.
“A grave public wrong has been done by the security forces on two Malaysians and their families, and the government must be large-hearted enough to admit its mistakes, punish the wrongdoers and make ample compensation. The people of Pasong Ulu and Kuala Kangsar look forward to your doing what is right and just in this tragedy.