Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Pagoh, Johore on Saturday, 22nd June 1974 at 8 p.m.
DAP calls on the government to immediately settle the problem of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin without waiting for the exchange of ambassadors between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China
Before Tun Razak made his six-day visit to the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Michael Chen, the Minister of Special Functions, said that the problem of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin have been satisfactorily resolved in the diplomatic negotiations between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China.
However, when the joint communique signed between Tun Razak and Premier Chou En Lai in Peking was released on May 31, it was found that this problem had not been resolved.
The 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin who hold red identity cards still hold red identity cards, and it is a great mistake for anyone to think that after Tun Razak’s visit to China and meetings with Chairman Mao Tse Tung and Premier Chou En Lai, holders of red identity cards can now change them into blue identity cards, become citizens and get jobs. To Tun Razak’s credit, he did not suggest at any time on his return that red identity card holders can now change them into blue ones.
When Mr. Michael Chen was in Muar last week, he said this problem of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin would be solved after the exchange of ambassadors between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China, in about six months’ time.
Whether this question of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin would be resolved after the exchange of envoys between Malaysia and China is a debatable question.
However, I see no reason why the problem of the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin cannot be settled immediately. This is basically a domestic question, and has nothing to do with the People’s Republic of China.
Under the Peking communique, no person should possess dual nationality. But the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin do not possess dual nationality, but no nationality. The options before them is to choose between being a Chinese national, which the majority of them would not want as they have become Malaysians in all senses except in law and have no intention of going back to China, or remaining ‘stateless’.
The Malaysian government can immediately resolve this problem by offering the 300,000 stateless persons of Chinese origin the option to choose between being a Chinese national or a Malaysian citizen. There is no good reason why this offer must wait for the exchange of ambassadors between Malaysia and China, and the DAP herewith urges the Malaysian government to settle this problem immediately.
2. The continued backwardness and poverty of Malaysia’s 450 new villages is proved by the fact that no leaders attending the Islamic Foreign Ministers’ Conference will be visiting anyone of them
It is most unfortunate that after so many five-year plans and the appointment of two Ministers of New Villagers, the 450 new villagers and the 900,000 new villagers in the country remain the forgotten people of Malaysia.
The new village backwardness and poverty can be best illustrated by the fact that none of the leaders attending the Islamic Foreign Minister’s Conference would be visiting anyone of the 450 new villages, although they will going to visit Felda schemes and modal kampongs. In fact, the leaders of the Islamic Foreign Ministers’ Conference should be taken to see the new villages, for this will vividly nail the lie that all the Chinese are rich while all he Malays are poor, and they will realise that the majority of Malaysians of all races are poor, while the bulk of our national wealth and income are in the hand of foreigners.
Lee San Choon, as the second New Village Minister, should stop confining himself to empty promises and a lot of publicity, but get land for the new village landless, homes for the new village homeless and jobs for the new village jobless. Let the neglect of the 450 new villages these 24 years be ended, and let the 900,000 new villagers cease to be the forgotten people of Malaysia.