Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Menglembu, Perak, on Saturday, 20th July 1974 at 9 p.m.
1. DAP condemns National Front Members of Parliament for deliberately sabotaging parliamentary proceedings to prevent the people’s grievances and problems from being raised in Parliament.
During Wednesday and Thursday’s meetings in Parliament, Members of Parliament from the MCA, Parti Gerakan, the PPP, UMNO and Parti Islam conspired to sabotage parliamentary proceedings to prevent two important issues from being raised in Parliament.
The first one was in connection with the unjustified and irresponsible shooting of two innocent, unarmed women tappers by security forces in Kuala Kangsar while on their way to morning tapping on May 27 at about 4 a.m. and the consequent loss of public confidence among the people of Kuala Kangsar and the surrounding Operation Setia area; and the need for a public inquiry and the immediate payment of ample compensation to the families concerned to restore such public confidence in the government and the security forces.
The second subject was in connection with the police ban on the Malam Kebudayaan Chun Lei organised by the University of Malaya Chinese Language Society in April in aid of the Chinese Independent Secondary School, and the arrest of eight organisers of the Chun Lei project.
Both these matters were subjects of widespread public interest, and I had given notice to raise them as adjournment speeches in Wednesday and Thursday.
On both occasions, when I was raising the subjects, Members of Parliament from MCA, Parti Gerakan, PPP, UMNO and Parti Islam deliberately absented themselves from the Chamber or left the Chamber if they were inside so that the House had to be adjourned, and the subjects prevented from being raised, because if the lack of the requisite quorum of 26 members of Parliament.
It is bad enough that the MCA, Parti Gerakan and the PPP Members of Parliament are not prepared to speak out and represent the interests of the people in the Dewan. Not content with that, they have all ganged up to frustrate the grievances and the problems of the people from being raised in Parliament.
This is the type of Members of Parliament we have from the MCA, Parti Gerakan and the PPP. They are not interested in the people’s problems. What is worse, they want to people’s problems to be swept under the carpet and forgotten. After joining the National Front, the PPP and Gerakan MPs have completely changed character.
The general elections is about 30 days away, the people throughout the country must exercise their precious vote to demonstrate that they do not want these type of Members of Parliament which the National Front will be offering to the people. What the country needs is more Opposition Members of Parliament who are not prepared to be ‘yes-men’, but are courageous and dedicated enough to stand, inside and outside Parliament, to speak up for the people and expose the corruption, injustices and malpractices that is so rampant today in the National Front government.
2. DAP will campaign for revision of the labour laws in the coming general elections
The DAP will campaign for the revision of the labour laws in the coming general elections, which is generally expected to be held between August 10 – 24. The labour laws in the country were framed and passed by Members of Parliament in the Alliance and National Front who had no sympathy for the sufferings and hardships of the workers. These laws help the capitalists to make maximum profits at the expense of the blood, sweat and tears of the workers.
In the last few years, strikes and industrial disputes have increased about a hundred-fold, because the capitalists take advantage of the anti-labour laws to sack workers on all sorts of pretext, when basically, their basic aim to make more profits.
For instance, only last week, in Malacca, the animal-feed factory, Sin Heng Chan (Malaya) Sdn. Bhd., dismissed 35 long-serving employees who had worked for the company from 8 – 12 years. The 35 workers were dismissed not because the factory was making losses, but because the factory was making millions of dollars of profits a year which enable it to embark on a modernisation and expansion programme and to go for automation. These workers could easily be fitted into other departments, as the factory, when it went public two years ago, announced that it would require more workers and create more employment when it carries out the expansion and modernisation programme. The total monthly salary bill for these 35 long-serving employees is only about $3,000. Instead of giving them other employment in the factory, they were dismissed and thrown onto the employment heap; and the factory employed instead a foreigner as manager whose salary per month exceeds the total monthly salaries of these 35 workers.
If there are good labour laws in this country, the interests of these 35 workers can be protected.
3. Call on the people to vote DAP candidates solidly and not fall into National Front scheme to split opposition votes
The National Front parties are only worried about the DAP in the coming general elections, for they know that the DAP has consistently worked for the people’s interests for the last five years, and not like some parties, which come to life only when they catch the election fever, and go back to sleep after elections.
The National Front will resort to all sorts of devices to try to defeat the DAP, and one of them is to spy to split opposition votes by sponsoring three or four-concerned contest.
The people in Perak and in the rest of the country must not allow the National Front to succeed in their scheme to split opposition votes, and should support solidly DAP candidates to ensure that their voice is effectively heard in Parliament and the State Assemblies.