Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Member Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat during the 1976 Committee of Supply debate on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
DAP warning that any break of diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China would make neutralisation of South East Asia an impossibility
Antara matlamat-matlamat Kememterian Luar Negeri ialah “untuk mengekalkan dan memperkembangkan hubungan-hubungan baik di-antara Negara kita dengan lain-lain Negara yang mahu mengadakan perhubungan demikian dengan kita.”
In one large area, involving the People’s Republic of China and the new communist States I Indo-China, Malaysia’s foreign relations have not been developed, but on the contrary, seems to have been stalled and frozen.
In fact, it was in this very House last month that a strongman of the ruling party, UMNO Secretary-General, Dato Senu Abdul Rahman, M.P. for the Kuala Kedah, yang telah menyeru kerajaan supaya mengkaji semula hubungan diplomatiknya dengan Negara-negara Komunis khusus-nya dengan Komunis China, meskipun perbuatan itu nantinya memaksa terputus hubungan diplomasi yang ada dengan PRC.
I had thought that we had put behind us that “old fears” of the “cold war” era, but it would appear that in many influential quarters in the rulling party, their foreign policy approaches are still very much controlled by reflexes which they developed during the cold-war era.
The two reasons which have been advanced for the review of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the communist countries- and here, I cannot help but get the impression that the PRC is specifically referred to, while the Soviet Union specifically exclude – are firstly, the increased communist guerrilla activities in both the urban and rural areas, or to use the words of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in a recent paper, “the recent successes of the insurgent forces”, and secondly, the congratulatory message which the Chinese Communist Party sent to the Malayan Communist Party on its 45th anniversary.
There is no evidence, as far as I know, that the establishment of the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur has been responsible in any way or related in any manner to the upsurge in guerrilla activities, both in towns and the jungles.
In fact, the most shocking assassination, that of Ketua Polis Negara, took place before the Prime Minister’s visit to Peking and any establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the PRC.
Not a single government Minister had linked the Chinese embassy with the increased communist guerrilla activities.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest with the Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Wang Yu-Ping, but was it necessary and prudent for Malaysia to over-react to the extent of regarding the sending of a congratulatory message by the Chinese Communist Party to the Malaysian Communist Party on the occasion of its 45th anniversary as shaking the whole stability and security of the Government and serious enough to warrant the contemplation of the rupture of diplomatic relations?
If the sending of a congratulatory message to the MCP by the CCP could lead to great successes in insurgency activities, and threaten to topple the entire government, then our system has become so rotten that it is not worth defending any more.
It is here worth nothing the reactions of the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Adam Malik, to the sending of a similar congratulatory message by the Chinese Communist Party to the PKI this year. When asked about it in a Far Eastern Economic Review issue of July 4, 1975, Mr. Adam Malik said they found out from one of the embassies in Peking that it was only a routine congratulation, every year, like one they end to all communist parties.
Any over-reaction to blame the increased communist guerrilla activities in Malaysia on the Chinese Embassy or on the congratulatory message is merely an attempt to look for an easy scapegoat, and run away from the brutal reality that the communist insurgents in Malaysia can only thrive and flourish if the government provide them with the political, economic, social and cultural conditions to do so by obstinately refusing to change government policies.
I am sure even Dato Senu Abdul Rahman would agree that even if the Chinese embassy should be closed down in Kuala Lumpur, the communist guerrilla activities in the towns and jungles would not be affected one whit.
The normalisation of relations between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China not be affected by the domestic communist guerrilla activities, for if this is to be the deciding criteria, then there can be no normalisation of relations between Malaysia and the PRC, or for that matter, with any ASEAN country.
Chairman Mao Tse Tung had claimed that there would be no need for china to export revolution because he feels justified in hoping that social and economic discontent in South East Asia will create a class of revolutionaries whose misery would drive them into the arms of communists.
The PRC’s ideological commitment and belief that internal contradictions within each country in South East Asia will ultimately change present governments is a fact which every ASEAN country will have to live with, so long as the People’s Republic of China keep to its undertaking not to interfere in the domestic affairs of Malaysia.
Thus, in the joint communiqué signed by Tun Razak and Chou En Lai in Peking on 31st May 1974 during Tun Razak’s visit to the People’s Republic of China, it is stated:
“The two governments hold that although the social systems of the People’s Republic of China and Malaysia are different, this should not constitute an obstacle to the two Governments and peoples in establishing and developing peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.
“The two Governments consider all foreign aggression, interference, control and subversion to be impermissible.
“They are opposed to any attempt by any country or group of countries to establish hegemony or create sphere of influence in any part of the world.”
Any break, therefore, in the diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China as contemplated by Dato Senu, would not only do nothing to check the spate of communist guerrilla activities, but would put the clock back in the foreign policy of Malaysia and would make the Kuala Lumpur Declaration of wanting to turn South East Asia into a zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality into an impossibility.
This is because the neutralisation of South East Asia is only possible with the support of all the great powers, one of which is the [RC, and the rupture of relations between Malaysia and the PRC can only make the neutralisation of South East Asia an utter impossibility.
DAP calls on Malaysian government to move on to establish closer ties and relationship between PRC and Malaysia
Malaysian should not look back anymore in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China, and should move on to establish closer ties and relationship between PRC and Malaysia. Let not another abnormal relationship between Malaysia and China.
During Tun Razak’s visit to Peking, he hosted a banquet in honour of Premier Chou Eu Lai at the Great Hall of the People, where he said:
“The process of knowing and understanding each other better and beret, will, of course, take time. This is not a matter for surprise or even regret.”
“What is important is that we should move on.”
“Let us begin now to lay, stone by careful stone, the foundations of enduring and fruitful friendship between our two countries and people.”
My case is that this spirit should inform and motivate Malaysia’s foreign policy relations with the People’s Republic of China.
Both countries should not give cause for mistrust and suspicion, and in this regard, Malaysia should not merely preach equidistant theory in relationship with the super powers, while being closet to the Soviet Union and more remote from the PRC – as for instance, illustrated by the fact that the government allows Malaysians fairly freely to visit the Soviet Union while clamping down on intending visitors to the People’s Republic of China.
Malaysia should resolve the problem of the 30,000 state-less Chinese of Malaysian descent in further discussion with the PRC
The government should also act without any more delay to settle the problem of the 300,000 stateless Chinese of Malaysian descent, as it was agreed that this matter would be pursued by both governments after the exchange of ambassadors.
This matter should not be allowed to remain in suspended indecision, and the government should reach an accord with the PRC on the matter to conclusively settle the problem, and permit all those stateless who do not opt for Chinese citizenship to become Malaysians, citizens where they fulfil all the requisite citizenship pre-conditions.
Warning against ten South East Asian nations developing into two hostile blocks
Despite the hand of friendship extended by ASEAN at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Kuala Lumpur in May this year to the new communist governments in Indo-China, which would probably be joined soon by another new communist state in Laos, little progress has been achieved in the establishment of normal relations between Malaysia and ASEAN nations on the one hand and the Indo-Chinese communist states on the other.
Calls made by Dato Senu Abdul Rahman for review of Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with communist states because of increased guerrilla activities in the country cannot help such development, but only retard them.
Every effort must be made to bring all the ten countries in South East Asia, irrespective of political ideology or social systems, to co-operate together and prevent the emergence of two hostile blocks, on the communist states of Indo-China and the other ASEAN countries.
It is for this reason that the coming ASEAN summit meeting of heads of government should give the matter deep and serious consideration, on ways and means to initiate co-operation and dialogue between ASEAN nations and the Indo-Chinese communist states.
There had been proposals for the enlargement of ASEAN to include the Indo-Chinese communist states. However, this may not be acceptable to the Indo-Chinese communist states.
We can all still recall that in 1967, at the time of the creation of ASEAN, Indonesia insisted on becoming a founder member thereby forcing the creation of a new organisation, ASEAN, instead of continuing the already existing Association of South East Asia (ASA).
The forthcoming ASEAN summit of heads of governments should seriously consider the formation of a new and more representative seriously consider the formation of a new and more representative and effective South East Asian regional grouping comprising not only the ASEAN nations but also the communist states of Indo-China and Burma and to work for regional stability and co-operation.
DAP calls for a blue-print for the neutralisation of South East Asia which would phase out all foreign military bases on ASEAN soil
Although the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on South East Asia as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality was made in July 1972, the neutralisation of South East Asia is still very vague and intangible.
A blueprint to provide a definite framework for the achievement of this objective is urgently needed, and it is the DAP’s hope that such a blueprint could be agreed upon by the ASEAN heads of governments summit scheduled for next year.
The blueprint should include a target date for the complete phasing out and withdrawal of all foreign military bases on ASEAN soil, as firm and concrete evidence is needed to show the commitment of the ASEAN states to making South East Asia a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality.
Diplomatic status for the P.L.O. Office in Kuala Lumpur
The time has come for the Malaysian government to give more than mere verbal support for the Palestinian struggle.
In this connection, the most concrete step which the Malaysian government can immediately take is to give full diplomatic status to the P.L.O. office in Malaysia, which has been set up since 1969.
Many countries outside the Arabic States, like the People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, India, Uganda, Tanzania, give full diplomatic status to the P.L.O. representative stationed in their countries, and provide, at the host country expense, the offices, residences, and official cars.
Malaysia has lagged behind the other countries in the support of the Palestinian struggle, and I call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to accord full and unlimited diplomatic status to the P.L.O. office and representative, and to provide at Malaysia’s expenses, the offices, residences and official cars for the P.L.O. office.
The Malaysian Aid Palestine Committee has stopped functioning since 1972. In fact, this Committee, under the chairmanship of the Dato Senu, M.P. for Kuala Kedah, does not have a commendable record in the cause of the Palestinian struggle.
I suggest that this Committee should be replaced by an All-Party Aid Palestinian Committee, so that Malaysians from all political spectrums, can come together on the issue of the Palestinian struggle to give non-partisan, humanitarian support and solidarity to the Palestinian struggle.
Another measure which the Malaysian Government can take to help the Palestinian cause is to provide scholarships for Palestinian students in Malaysia has not a single scholarship for the Palestinians.
For a start, the Government should set aside 50 places in Malaysian universities and colleges nest year for Palestinian students.