Lim Kit Siang replies to Lee San Choon

Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary General, Sdr Lim Kit Siang, issued the following statement to-day:

Lim Kit Siang replies to Lee San Choon

I was very amused by the Labour Minister, Lee San Choon’s reply to me when he wound up the debate in Parliament on the Employment (Amendment) Bill on Thursday.

He made a fierce and wild attack on me and the DAP but made no reference to the many arguments and points which I had raised in Parliament showing why in parts, the Employment (Amendment) Bill 1976 was against the interests of the workers and in some instances tantamounts to taking away existing legal rights.

Owing to a shocking and unthinkable incident, I was unable to reply to Lee San Choon’s wild allegation. I had 2 weeks ago given notice to move 10 amendments to the Employment (amendment) Bill during the Committee Stage. Under the Standing Order, I was required to give only 1 day’s notice but I gave 2 weeks notice so that the Minister and his officials would have more time to study my proposals.

However, when during the Committee Stage when I stood up to propose the amendments which I had properly and officially notified, the Speaker refused to allow me to do so on the grounds that he did not receive the notice. This is most unthinkable as every Member of Parliament and every Minister had been given a copy of my proposal amendments by the Parliamentary staff. Lee San Choon had before him a copy but he did not have the decency to admit it, knowing that if I had an opportunity, I would be able to expose all the nonsense he had uttered.

Instead of dealing with the various important issues I had raised in my one hour speech on the defects of the Employment Ordinance 1955, Lee San Choon went on a political tirade and accussed me of being arrogant.

I am not surprised by Lee San Choon’s behaviour because I had shown in at least three specific instances that although he is the Minister of Labour, he does not know his own labour laws. Having his ignorance exposed publicly not only before his own MCA MPs but also before the other Barisan Nasional MPs and government officials, it is not surprising that he embarked on a wild attack against me and the DAP.

He had boasted in his reply that he had contested in four parliamentary elections and that at every time he had increased his majority but he did not tell Parliament that he moved from one constituency to another with each general elections.

He accused me of losing the support of people claiming that this is proved by the reduced majority that I got in the 1974 general elections as compared to the 11,000 majority which I won in Bandar Melaka in the 1969 general elections.

He did not mention that the 1969 Parliamentary constituency is different from the present parliamentary constituency or in the last five years, several tens of thousands of registered voters had been deregistered.

In any event, if what Lee San Choon says is true about losing support among the people and voters of Malacca, as purportedly shown by the reduce majority between the 1969and 1974 general elections, then is Lee San Choon, MCA President, courageous enough, brave enough to contest against me in Kota Melaka in the next general elections, or even now in a special by-election in Kota Melaka?

He boasted in his reply that the MCA had been getting more and more support but everybody knoes that every MCA MP, including the MCA President, owes his elections not to the MCA;s own appeal or success but solely on UMNO’s support and voters. Without UMNO’s support and votes, not a single MCA MP will get elected.

In running away from the points and issues on labours laws and amendments which I had raised, and in launching a political attack on me, Lee San Choon had shown that he is unable to answer my criticisms on the Employment (Amendment) Bill 1976.

He accused me of being arrogant. I am not arrogant person but I despair for the workers that they have a Minister of Labour who is not only a representative of the moneyed class, but he does not even know or understand his own labour laws of his own proposed labour law amendments.

He is at liberty to interpret my expression of despair t the miserable lot of workers at having such a labour Minister as an expression of arrogance. This is only another measure of his look of understanding.