Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang
Call for a joint high-level inquiry by Central and State Government into the industrialisation setbacks in Malacca State
The Malacca State has suffered severe setbacks in the field of industrialisation in 1975. it is all the more regrettable that the State Government has refused to admit this reality and has tried instead to present a picture of roses about great progress in industrialisation this year.
Throughout this year, the various industries in Malacca had carried out retrenchment exercises, or dismissals and termination of service of employees on the most flimsy grounds to reduce their work-force.
The seriousness of the industrialisation setbacks in Malacca in aggravating unemployment can be seen by the closure yesterday of the plastics industry, Hypak Sendirian Bhd in the Air Keroh Industrial Estate. This industry, which is a joint venture between the State Development Corporation with the private sector, had over 500 workers on its payroll. It is shocking that a SEDC-joint venture should close down without consulting or informing its workers, which shows that SEDC-joint enterprises are no better than purely private enterprises in respecting the dignity or labour and the workers’ rights.
Only two new industries attracted to Malacca in last 12 months
Another indicator of the industrialisation setback of Malacca is that only two new industries have been attracted to Malacca in the last 12 months. And from past record and experience, there is no guarantee that these two new industries would actually set up factories and start operation. In fact, there are many industries which had been given approval but which had not gone beyond paper plans!
There are many causes to the industrialisation setbacks of Malacca. Although the economic depression is one reason for general industrial slowdown, the industrialisation setback is caused by other factors, like government red-tape, inefficiency, corruption, inter-departmental and inter-governmental misunderstanding, suspicion and jealousy which cause extreme frustration to intendeds investors.
For instance, it is an open secret that the relations and state of co-operation between the Central and State government agencies in promoting industrialisation are not very satisfactory and are far from well. It has deteriorated to the extent that the Malacca Chief Minister, Tuan Haji Ghani Ali, boycotted the official opening of the Italasia’ Sdn.Bhd’s $7.5 million leather and shoe factory at Tanjong Kling by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Datuk Hamzah Abu Samah, on 15th December 1975. the Chief Minister was scheduled to give a speech in the opening ceremony, but he stayed away without giving any reasons, or advanced notice and had all the guests at the official ceremony waiting for him in vain. The Chief Minister’s absence from the opening is all the more surprising, as apart from being scheduled to speak at the ceremony, the Italasia shoe factory is a joint venture with the SEDC which holds 40 per cent equity.
The Central Government and the Malacca State Government should set up a high-level committee to inquire into the causes and factures which have caused the severe setbacks in the industrialisation of the Malacca State, and bring an end to the inter-departmental and inter-governmental misunderstandings and suspicions which can only frighten away all investors.