Adjournment Speech by DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat, on Wednesday, 17th July 1974
DAP calls for public inquiry into shooting of two women tappers by security forces in Kuala Kangsar to restore the people’s confidence
On 27.5.1974, at about 4 a.m., two women tappers, Lee Lai Mai, 26, (I/C 1024622) and Wong Yue Kew @ Wong Kwai Tow (I/C 3093629) from Pasong Ulu, Kuala Kangsar, were cycling to their morning tapping when they were shot and killed by security forces at Kampong Ribai, less than a mile from their homes.
Both women tappers wore head-lamps when cycling to work on that morning in question, and from eye-witness accounts, there was completely no reason or occasion to justify any accidental shooting.
The two women were shot about 70 feet away, when approaching he soldiers. One died on the spot, while the other survived for at least for half an hour in great pain and agony, without assistance being rendered to them.
Although the authorities have admitted that this was an accidental shooting, the shooting of two innocent, unarmed women tappers on their morning rounds 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.
Already, this shooting incident has greatly shaken the confidence of the people, not only of Pasong Ulu, but Kuala Kangsar and the surrounding Operation Setia areas in the security forces and given them much to worry about their own safety and that of their near ones.
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 the security forces.
There is a great sense of insecurity by the laboring class in Pasong Ulu and Kuala Kangsar, after the shooting incident. In fact, the people of Pasong Ulu were so disturbed that they did not get 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 Yew has left behind three children, a boy and two girls, with ages ranging from 3 to 11.
The government has often called on the people to co-operate closely with the authorities and the security forces, but the Kuala Kangsar shooting affairs has nullified all these appeals and antagonised 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 must institute a full-scale public inquiry and punish those persons responsible for the responsible shooting and deaths, amounting to murder of two innocent, unarmed women tappers in an area which has never been a security area.
If the government attempts to cover up the Kuala Kangsar security shooting of two unarmed civilians, as it is doing, the net result must be a further undermining of public confidence in the security forces and the government.
Furthermore, as a gesture of the government’s repentance for the two unjustified shootings and killings, the governments, both Federal and State, should pay ample compensation to the families of the two dead, and give written government guarantees to support the seven motherless children for all educational expenses, up to university level, and to look after their living expenses. I am shocked that the latest report I have receive is that the affected families have no date not yet received a single cent either from the Federal or State government.