Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secreatary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Tapah Dinner held at Tapah Balai Rakyat on Tuesday, 27th January 1976, at 8p.m.
DAP calls on Dato Hussein Onn to reveal the main features of the Third Malaysian Plan to allow a national participation in its formulation before presentation to Parliament in March.
The Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, will present the Third Malaysia Plan to Parliament at a special meeting in March for adoption.
By the time the Third Malaysia Plan is presented to Parliament for approval, although Parliament is theoretically the body to decide on it, the Plan has already become a fait accompli, and the Plan would have been printed and bound in beautiful volumes, where not a word would be changed whatever is said in Parliament.
In a democratic society, which believe in the participation of the people in every stage of the decision-making process, the formulation of the Third Malaysia Plan is even more important that the formal presentation of the Plan to Parliament for adoption.
For it is in the formulation stage, that the people or interested sectors and organisations can ensure that their views and opinions are taken into account by the planners for incorporation into the Final Plan.
In other countries, the formulation of a Development Plan spanning five or seven years are accompanied by wide-spread debate about the overall and sectoral trends and objectives in the press, universities, public forums and others means of public platform. But in Malaysia, the formulation of the Five-Year Plans seems to be conducted in great secrecy, as if afraid that the public may come to know about it, and revealed only when it is presented to Parliament.
I see no reason why the long-term development plan of a country should be shrouded in such secrecy as if the new Budget proposals of new taxes.
The public should be allowed to contribute ideas and view about the shape and contents of the Third Malaysia Plan, when government minds and still open during formulation stage, and not when the Plan has already been finalised and beautifully bound. The government planners and decision makers must allow the public to know the ideas and proposals they have in mind for the Third Malaysia Plan, to allow the public an opportunity to comment or oppose them, before a final conclusion is taken.
The democratic spirit in the formulation of the Third Malaysia Plan is lacking, and I call on Dato Hussein Onn to immediately reveal the main features, or proposals of the third Malaysia Plan, to enable a public debate on it in all available forums to take place now, so that all the ideas and proposals that would be thrown up in the process would be taken into account by government planners final presentation to Parliament in March for formal adoption.
DAP criticises increase in hospital fee and charges
The Government, in keeping with its indifference to inequalities and injustices suffered by the poor and low-income groups in Malaysia, have increased hospital fees and charges.
A poor patient who ask for a X-ray, in the Government Hospitals, has now to pay $75, while previously, it was $10. This amounts to half to a month’s income to the majority of poor Malaysians. It would appear that in Malaysia, only the rich MCA towkays, or the privileged like Ministers, Members of Parliament and government servants, can afford to get X-rays.
Government Hospital X-rays are to be beyond the means of the poor, and who are therefore denied of the opportunity to find out early what they are suffering from, and a life of health.
The Health Minister, Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew, should cause an entire review of the increase in hospital fees and charges and make revisions of them so that the poor are not denied essential health services in the hospitals because of prohibitive and unconscionable costs.
ASEAN summit in Bali next February should desist from on a security or military character, and should work towards an easing of tensions in South East Asia.
The leaders of the five ASEAN governments are to meet in Bali next month. It is vital to the stability of this region that ASEAN should desist from taking on a security or military character.
The ASEAN organisation, which started as a regional orgainisation to promote closer economic, social and cultural relations in the region, would work towards to easing of tension in South East Asia, and avoid taking of ant measures which heighten tensions, as any militarisation of ASEAN would do.
There are some who want to see ASEAN adopt a politics of confrontation against the Indo-Chinese communist states. This will be short-sighted, and can only usher in a new era of inter-state instability and tension in the region.