DAP calls on Tun Razak and Dato Hussein Onn to make a clear public statement

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a dinner at Sek Yuen Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, 14 th Sept. 1974 at 8 p.m. given by the supporters of Kuala Lumpur Bandar on the occasion of the election of Sdr. Lee Lam Thye as Member of Parliament for K.L.Bandar.

1. DAP calls on Tun Razak and Dato Hussein Onn to make a clear public statement as to whether they are having second thoughts about the Rukunegara objectives to ‘maintain a democratic way of life’ and are toying with the idea of dispensing away with parliamentary democracy
Two days ago in Kelantan, the UMNO National Vice President, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, spoke slightingly about parliamentary democracy and of the need to ‘ restructure the form and system of government’ in Malaysia.

Last week, in Kepala Batas, another UMNO leader, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, preached that there was no need for Opposition in Malaysia.

It would appear that having failed to demolish and destroy the Opposition during the general elections, especially the DAP in West Malaysia and the SNAP in Sarawak, top UMNO leaders are seriously thinking of destroying the Opposition parties by other undemocratic ways.

The DAP calls on Tun Razak and Dato Hussein Onn to make a clear-cut public statement as to whether the National Front is having second thoughts about the Rukunegara objective to ‘maintain a democratic way of life’ and is toying with the idea of dispensing away with parliamentary democracy altogether.

Let there be no mistake about it. The prerequisite of a parliamentary democracy is the existence of full freedom for an articulate constitutional opposition.

In fact, what Malaysians who are concerned about the political health and future in the country should worry and think about is not how to do away with the Opposition in Parliament and the State Assemblies, but the measures that should be taken in the face of the overwhelming parliamentary majority of the ruling party, which is highly unconducive to healthy government.

A government without a bloated or overwhelming majority is more desirable and conducive to a fair and just government, for it will have to be more responsive to the needs and wishes of the people at large, instead of forcing through policies for which there is no clear overwhelming support by the people. (It is pertinent to note here that in West Malaysia, the National Front secured only 59% of the votes cast).

In getting an overwhelming majority in Parliament and the various State legislatures, the National Front must prove that it is capable of exercising restraint and not misuse power and ride roughshod over the legitimate function, role and activities of the Opposition elected representatives.

It is therefore a matter for serious concern to Malaysians that instead of applying their minds to devising ways and means to provide institutional checks and balances to prevent misuse of power arising from the overwhelming majority it has won in the 1974 general elections, through a variety of undemocratic and unfair methods, National Front leaders are in fact thinking of wiping out the Constitutional opposition altogether.

There is no doubt that if a meaningful and articulate constitutional opposition is prohibited altogether, then the government will have to face the challenge from an Unconstitutional Opposition which will be no less articulate in other methods of political struggle.

The choice before Malaysia is very clear : uphold the Rukunegara objective and ‘maintain a democratic way of life’, or betray the Rukunegara and eliminate the Constitutional Opposition which is articulate, and face the resurgence of an extra-parliamentary, extra-constitutional political battle based on armed struggle.

2. Sugar scarcity: DAP wants a public inquiry into the monopoly of the sugar trade by a handful of people

Sugar and other essential commodities are again in scarcity in various places in the country. Everytime there is scarcity of sugar or other essential commodities, the retailers are invariably blamed.

What the DAP is interested in is to find out to what extent the monopoly of the sugar industry and trade in the hands of a few people had made sugar prices easily manipulated by powerful forces behind public gaze.

I call on the new Minister of Trade and Industry, Dato Hamzah Abdul Samah to hold a public inquiry into the sugar industry and trade, and convince the people of Malaysia that its monopoly by a few persons is to the public interests, especially to the poor in the kampongs, towns and estates.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry should not delay any longer and should immediately order plans for the establishment of a Department for Consumers Affairs to protect consumers from price-fixing by monopolies, cartels and irresponsible manufacturers.

3. Sdr. Lee Lam Thye and Sdr. Farn Seong Tang to be the DAP’s Parliamentary spokesmen on Bandaraya affairs

As the DAP’s Parliamentarians from the Federal Territory, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye and Sdr. Farn Seong Tang will be the DAP’s Parliamentary spokesmen on Dewan Bandaraya affairs.

There is no doubt that the Dewan Bandaraya and the Federal Government need to take a new look at the problems of the people in the Federal Territory, to make Kuala Lumpur a more livable place, in terms of housing, an efficient and smooth traffic system, proper public transportation, clean environment, employment and the quality of life for people in the Federal Capital.

The Federal Government should commission a high-level study to pay the basis for the proper development of Kuala Lumpur, getting the assistance if necessary of international exports and which will hear representations from the people, so that harmony can be achieved in the growth of Kuala Lumpur as the metropolis of Malaysia and the promotion of human happiness for the people in the capital. Development and change which ignores human suffering and pain is no real development at all.