DAP calls for reform of income tax laws

DAP calls for reform of income tax laws to provide for an educational rebate for Malaysians with less than $15,000 annual income to finance their children’s post-institutions in Malaysia or abroad.

Viewed in the light of past budgets, where the general tendency is to impose increasingly heavy incidence of taxation on Malaysians, particularly the lower income groups, Tengku Razaleigh’s maiden budget featuring the $60 income tax rebate appears to be a relief.

However, when measured against the government’s public commitment to help the poor, to eliminate poverty and social and economic inequality, Tengku Razaleigh’s budget is very disappointing.

The $60 tax rebate are mere crumbs which cannot help the low-income groups to restore even their purchasing power, to meet the increasingly high cost of living, and the family and social responsibilities of a taxpayer.

When I say this, I do not mean that the low-income groups do not welcome or need this $60 rebate which works out to $5 a month. They welcome and need this $60 rebate, just as a stranded traveller in the desert would welcome and need three drops of water offered to him to quench his killing thirst.

But immediately after drinking the three drops of waters, the stranded desert traveller begins to suffer from the killing thirst. In the same way, immediately after the receipt of the $60 rebate and their expenditure on essential items, the low-income Malaysia begins to suffer from economic want and inequality.

Tengku Razaleigh hoped that the lower income groups would be able to increase their savings from tax changes like the $60 rebate. This show how out of touch the Finance Minister is with the economic plight of the low-income groups. It is like asking the stranded desert traveller suffering acutely from thirst to save up the three drops of water.

There is however a different here. The $60 rebate is not a gift of the government to the low-income group. The $60 is the result of the sweat and toil of the low-income, and should rightly not be taken away from him.

In fact, the tax rebate of $60 for an individual and $30 for a non-working wife, or a working wife who does not elect to be assessed separately on her employment income, should at least be doubled – with rebates also for the dependent children.

It is only in this way that the lower-income groups can get meaningful help from government with the objective of redressing poverty and eliminating social and economic injustices.

The Finance Minister said the tax rebate of $60 would have the same effect as though the personal relief deduction from total income is increased by $1,000 to those in the lowest taxable income group.

As the Finance Minister should know, what the low-income groups have been asking are not an increase of $1,000 duductible personal relief, but $2,000, and also other reliefs for non-working wife and dependants.

The Finance Minister has also explained why instead of increasing the personal relief deductions from total income in arriving at the chargeable income, he has decided on a tax rebate of $60. He said this is more equitable as a flat increase in the personal relief would benefit the higher income brackets more.

While the Finance Minister’s argument is acceptable, I do not understand why his views of progressivity – that the more should pay more and the poorer less – is not incorporated into the tax rebate. As the purpose of the tax rebate is to “reduce the cost of living of Malaysians in the lower income groups, surely Malaysians in the high income brackets do not need the $60 rebates.

I therefore call on the Finance Minister to re-examine the tax rebate with the purpose of meaningfully helping the poor by (i) confining it only to those from the lower-income brackets caught by the present income tax incidence; and (ii) to double the tax rebate to $120 for each taxpayer, $60 for non-working wife, and rebates also for dependent children.

Educational Rebate

Income tax laws, to be an instrument of equity and the fairer distribution of income and social opportunities, must not be rigid and inflexible – but must be alive to the economic problems and difficulties of taxpayers.

There has been a lot of talk about restructuring of society, but there does not appear to be any realisation of the need to restructure our taxation laws to achieve a progressive, poverty-free Malaysia.

It is indeed ironical and a Malaysian tragedy that, while every year, the government claims that it is spending more and more money on education, more and more Malaysian youths experience the loss or dimunition of higher education opportunities in Malaysia.

The only avenue left for them is to go overseas like England, Australia, to pursue further studies.

Apart from the wealthy families, this is a crushing financial burden on parents who have to bear these educational expenses. It will not be hard to imagine the financial burden of parents who have two or three children in post-secondary stage and doing higher studies abroad – which is becoming more and more common. This is not because Malaysians have become richer and are more able to afford to send their children to study overseas, but because parents are forced to raise funds by whatever means, even getting into debts, to send their children overseas.

I know there are powerful leaders in government and ruling parties who frown upon and are critical of the increasing spate of Malaysian students going abroad for higher studies.

These leaders are narrow-minded and short-sighted. Higher education is a form of national investment, and as their policies have made it impossible for them to find places in local universities and colleges, not let or hindrance should be put in the way of free pursuit of higher studies abroad.

In fact, far from putting obstacles in the way, the government – as a government of the people – has a duty to help Malaysian parents in the financial burden of sending their children for higher studies overseas.

The Finance Minister announced in this budget an accelerated depreciation allowance as high as 80 percent on plant and machinery to encourage the establishment, modernisation and expansion of selected industries and activities. The purpose is to encourage physical investment leading to greater productivity. Education is a human investment leading to greater national productivity. If capitalists and manufacturers are encouraged and given incentives to invest in physical plants and machinery, I do not see why an enlightened government should not encourage Malaysian citizens in investing in human capital and qualified manpower by sending their children abroad for higher studies when they could not find locally.

The government subsidises Malaysian students who study in the local Malaysian universities. But it does not give a single cent of subsidy for students who go abroad for higher studies, although their contribution to the country will not be less than Malaysians who study in the local institutions. On the countrary, the Ministry of Education seemed bent on making it more difficult for students to go abroad for higher studies – as for instance, the recent regulation imposing a $1,500 deposit for every intending student to the United Kingdom.

I therefore call on government to grant tax reliefs or an educational rebate to Malaysians with less than $15,000 annual income to meet the educational expenditures of their children abroad, where they have not received governmental help, both on grounds of equity, as this will help remove social injustice and make the lower income Malaysians more able to compete with the higher-income Malaysians, and on grounds of national interest – as this a valuable form of national investment in human skills.

It is for this reason why I feel quite disappointed by the Finance Minister’s budget, for he failed to grasp the opportunity to lead a feseh approach to the budgetary policies by identifying areas where innovative fiscal and budgetary policies can be of most impact in achieving the objective of a fairer, more just and equal Malaysian society.

Development Tax Relief should be extended to hawkers and pretty traders

The Finance Minister has proposed that development tax relief be granted to small growers in the argicultural sector and farmers, and that in respect of individuals only, income in excess of $3,000 or $2,000 for a partner with a partnership source be subject to development tax. The Finance Minister said this relief is to relive the burden on the lower income group.

The Third Malaysia Plan claims that unlike the Second Malaysia Plan, it now fully recognises that there is not only rural poverty, but urban poverty as well. But this often contradicted by government actions. This is one of them.

I cannot understand why Tengku Razaleigh is discriminating against the urban lower income group who are burdened by the development tax, like hawkers, pretty traders, etc., and I urge that this development tax relief to extended to all small-time hawkers and pretty businessmen.

Road tax increase on motor-cycles

From the point of view of reducing the cost of living of the lower-income groups, the upward revision of road tax on motor-cycles is unjustifiable as it is only the lower-income groups who go around in motor-cycles. The government can easily net the 2 million it wants from this increase from increasing duties on luxury goods.

I call on government to drop the proposal as every tax charge likely to add hardships on the lower income groups must be reviewed and abandoned.

Although the 1977 Budget did not introduce any new appressive taxes, it may be too early to rejoice. Firstly, the operating expenditure budgetted at $6,301 million does not provide for (a) any salary revisions; (b) any additional security and other expenditures that are over and avove the 1977 Budget estimates.

From government accounts, these two items may account for an additional $1,000 million. And as Tengku Razaleigh said early in his budget???, “Fiscal and monetary measures need not be introduced at Budget time alone, but could be adopted anytime between Budget sessions”, the Finance Minister is leaving open the possibility of introducing taxes before the nest Budget in a year’s time.

Can the Finance Minister categorically assure the taxpayers that no new taxes or rates would be imposed before the next budget for 1978?

What is government doing to stop wastes and misappropriations running into several hundreds of millions of dollars a year?

Next year, the government will spend over 2,000 million in government purchases of supplies and materials. The development appropriations for next year is $4,494 million.

But what is the government doing to cut governmental wastes and misuse of fund which runs into several hundreds of millions of dollars a year?

No treasury Instructions in the world has been able to prevent wastes and misappropiations of funds. The difference between the Malaysian Government and other governments is that when wastes or misappropriations are pointed out, other governments are prepared to establish investigating committees to bare to the public the facts, while in Malaysia, a blanket of secrecy immediately descends to prevent any public prying of government imsppropiration or waste of public funds!

The purchase of the four Swedish SPICAM Fast Crafts by the Ministry of Defence is an excellent case in point.

DAP wants a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Ministry of Defence edcision to purchase the SPICA-M Fast Strike Crafts

There is widespread unhappiness in the Royal Malaysian Navy over the decision to buy the unproven, untested and prototype SPICA-M fast Strike Craft. Up to now, the Royal Malaysian Navy personnel have prided themselves as being the cleanest service. This is because they have kept themselves free from scandals which had afflicted other branches of the services – like the Army, notorious for the purchase of the French Panhard Personal Armoured Carriers (P.A.C.) and the Royal Malaysian Air force, notorious for the commissions and kickbacks involved over the purchase of the Northrop F-5E Jetfighters.

The Royal Malaysian Navy, however, has now its own scandal, the SPICA-M Scandal.

On the first day of this Parliamentary meeting, I asked the Defence Minister to explain why the Ministry of Defence contracted to buy four Swedish SPICA-M Fast Strike Crafts for $166 million when

(1) it is a prototype, untested and unproven;
(2) the weapons system offered, the Swedish-made Phillips system is also a prototype, as it had never been interfaced with the Exocet missiles, never been interfaced with the Exocet missiles, specified by the Royal Malaysian Navy;
(3) The Royal Malaysian Navy Evaluation Committee on the tender had to be by-passed by a Task Force, comprising two navy officers and one civilian – which is the first time the Royal Malaysian Navy Evaluation Committee had been sidestepped in this manner; and
(4) the $60 million increase in the price from the original $106million which brings it within the price range of tested and proven Fast Strike Crafts.

The straits Times in editorial hailed the answer given by the Assistant Defence Minister, Incik Mokhtar Hashim, as having “cleared the air”. I find the answer evasive, unsatisfactory and attempting to conceal rather than to disclose and account to the taxpayers the wisdom of the contract.

Firstly, Mokhtar Hashim claimed that SPICA-M is not a prototype, asserting that similar craft were already under commission with the Sredish Royal Navy.

During supplementary question time, he even went to the extent of saying that “in the contract, there is agreement that this matter (use of the craft by other countries) cannot be known, and that therefore we do not know what other countries use this type of craft” – “Tentang negara-negara lain yang menggunakan kapal jenis yang serupa ini oleh sebab dalam kontrek ada persetujuan bahawa perkara ini tidak boleh diberitahu, jadi kita tak dapat mengetahui mana-manakah negara yang lain yang menggunakan kapal jenis yang sama.

This is most shocking. Why should there be a clause in the Contract between the Swedish shipyard and the Mindef that the Mindef is not to know which other country uses SPICA-M? This claim is so unthinkable that it casts doubt on the existence of this agreement, and therefore on the entire credibility of what Mokhtar Hashim has told the Parliament about the whole matter of the contract to purchase SPICA-M Fast Strike Craft.

Secondly, every shipyard would like the whole world to know, would in fact advertise it, tat more and more countries are buying their ships in order to get more orders. No shipyard in the world market competing for orders would be so shy as to hide the success of its wares. Thirdly, technical journals and the Janes’ Fighting Ships which is published every year contain all the information that all one needs about new crafts and ships ordered and acquired by each country.

The simple fact is, the SPICA-M is a prototype, and there is not a single country today, Sweden included, where a SPICA-M has been put to sea.

Encik Mokhtar Hashim should know this, for the brochure which the Swedish shipyard, Karlskronavavert AB, sent to the Ministry of Defence showed a drawing, an artist’s impression, of a impression, of a SPICA-M, and not a photograph of an existing SPICA-M.

It is true that the Royal Swedish Navy has got SPICA-I Fast Patrol Boats, but these are different from the SPICA-M which the Royal Malaysian Navy has commissioned.

During supplementary question time, I asked Mokthar Hashim whether he was aware that the SPICA boats being used by the Royal Swedish Navy are not equipped with surface-to-surface missiles. He said that it is understood that the similar craft use by the Royal Swedish Navy is equipped with missile system which is even better than the Exocet missile being used by the Royal Malaysian Navy. When I asked what is this missile, he retreated into evasion, saying it is not his responsibility to tell what weapons other countries use.

The fact is Incik Mokhtar is telling untruths. Firstly, the Exocet missile is regarded as one of the best in the world for medium-range missiles. Navy experts have told me that they are not aware that there is in existence a missile in the Exocet range which can claim to be better than Exocet.

And if there is a misale in the Exocet missile range which is better than Exocet, why is it the Royal Malaysian Navy did not but the better, but instead added to its complement of 18 Exocets another complement of 18 recently?

For the information of Parliament, Jane’s Fighting Ships 1975-1976 has this say about the 12 “Repeat SPICA” Class Fast Petrol Boats in the service of the Royal Swedish Navy (or commonly known as SPICA IT):

“Similar to the original ‘SPICA’ class from which they were designed. Building by Karlskronavarvet Ab. Guided missiles are not included in the design to date.”

Either Incik Mokhtar Hashim does not know what he is talking about, showing abysmal ignorance about his protforlic, or he is deliberately deceiving the House, the people and country.

The SPICAM which the Royal Malaysian Navy has purchased is definitely a prototype, for it is different from the SPICA I or SPICA II crafts.

Surely, Incik Mokhtar Hashim is not going to claim that the first jumbo-jet Boeing 747 and Boeing 737?

Furthermore, the SPICA-M is longer, diesel-powered while the SPICA I and SPICA II are powered by gas turbine engines.

Incik Mokhtar Hashim should realise that when he answers in this house about technical navy matters, he is answering also on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Navy and he has already brought international shame to the Royal Malaysian Navy with his answers, which appeared to show the Royal Malaysian Navy technically incompetent and backward.

On my second question, Incik Mokhtar claimed that the Swedish Philips Teleindustrie weapons system had been interfaced with the Exocet missile.

On 27th October in a supplementary question, asking him to give an instance of the Swedish-Phillips system having been interfaces with Exocet missiles, Incik Mokhtar said this was a secret.

This is utter nonsense. I have here a chart on Technical Data on current Fast Patrol Boats showing the types of crafts, the countries ordering the craft, the number on order or delivered, the builder, the data on demensions, displacement, speed, etc; the type of armament used on the ship (what type of ship to ship missiles, guns, torpodoes, surveillance and fire control systems, tec); the type of propulston used (the power, range, etc).

The Swedish-Phillip weapons system has been interfaced with Penguins missils, which is a far inferior missile to Exocet; and for the information of the Assistant defence Minister. The range of the Exocet is 22 nautical miles while the range of Penguin is only 15-nautical miles.

There is therefore nothing secret as to whether the Swedish Phillips system has been interfaced with Exocet, which again, is something which the waters would want to advertise to the whole world and not keep secret! This means that the Assistant Minister has again been misleading the House.

With these instances, I cannot accept anymore on face value that the Royal Malaysian Navy Evaluation had not been by-passed. I am convinced, unless surer evidence can be produced, that the Royal Malaysia Navy Evaluation Committee, which is entrusted with the task of making tactical, technical and professional evaluation of the four boats, was by-passed, for the simple reason that apart from Commodore Mohd. Zain and Col. jalaluddin, the other members of the Evaluation Committee had reservations about SPICA-M.

The Royal Malaysian Navy technical evaluation committee found interalia that all the four “short-listed” tenders, namely SPICA-M of Karlskronavarvet AB Combattanttee of CMN (Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie) France; Tenacity of Vosper Thoneycrofit; and the FSC of Hung Leong-Lurrsen; are acceptable subject to certain conditions.

These conditions, which require the further information being supplied, should be sent back to the Royal Malaysian Navy Evaluation Committee was interce?? and by-passed at this point by setting up of a Task Force or a working Committee, whatever name the Assistant Minister of Defence now chooses to call it.

The Assistant Minister’s version that the Working Committee was set up to collect more information which the Evaluation Committee was not “competent to decide on” is ridiculous for:

1. If the Evaluation Committee was not competent to decide on these conditions, then it is in the first instance outside its competence to concern itself with it – which is to “evaluate and recommend the acceptability of each of the tender, from the professional point of view.”
2. It is ridiculous to set a high-powered Working Committee just to act a Post office to collect information. Surely such a simple thing can be done by the Tenders Board through the Wakil Pernas which act as agents in these matter charging for its role as “Post Office” 3% out of the total contract price!
3. The attempt of the Assistant Defence Minister to emit smoke to cloud the issue is seen from the fact on 25th Oct, he said from a prepared statement that there are 8 members in the Royal Malaysian Navy Evaluation Committee while on 27th Oct, he could give only seven names.

Finally, on the price of contract, the Assistant Defence Minister said the contract price is $157 and not $166.

I have seen Treasury files and memoranda showing that in two meetings in July this year, the Royal Malaysian Navy’s request for $166 million for the four SPICA-M were finally approved by the Treasury. I challenge the Assistant Minister of Defence to deny this fact!

The Assistant Minister now says that the contract price is $157. I am happy if this price has been knocked down by $9 million after I had raised this matter, but I want to know the circumstances of the variation from $166 million to $157 million – whether it is a genuine variation, or a forgoing of commission, or what?

I have also read Treasury memorandum giving its approval for 30% down payment, or 50 million, on signing of contract, the payment of 15% on completion of keel of first craft, and another 10% on completion of keel of second craft (both to be paid in 1977 to the tune of $41.6million); the payment of $33.3 million in 1978 and the final payment of $41.6 million in 1979, making a grand total of $166.7 million. I again challenge Incik Mokhtar Hashim to deny this!

In the past, for such contracts, the down-payment on signing is usually 10%. why has this practice been deviated from so drastically, to the extent that the Royal Malaysian Navy would have paid 55% of the contract price within a year when delivery is only in 1979? In fact, can the Assistant Minister of Defence deny that the Malaysian government has contracted to purchase ships even without a single cent of payment on signing of contract?

Is he aware in the tender by the Royal Malaysian Police recently for six Fast Patrol Boats, it is provided that there would be no payment on signing of contract. For this police tender, the first payment of 15% of the contract sum takes place when the keel plate is laid; 25% of the contract sum the vessel is fully plated up 30% when the machinery?? equipment is alongside and installation in progress; 25% on completion of trials and acceptance; the final 5% on completion of six months’ guarantee certified by the Director of Marine, Malaysia.

There is clearly a lot of hanky-panky involved in the selection and purchase of the four SPICA-M Fast Strike Crafts, and I call for a full-scale Parliamentary inquiry into it.

Tengku Razaleigh said in his budget speech that it should be ensured that “every dollar counts and that every dollar’s worth is fully realised.” He had also said: “I will myself seek to ensure that there is no laxity in financial management and discipline.”

What has he to say about this example of financial mismanagement and indiscipline in the SPICA-M tender, which was approved by the Treasury?

Call for a thorough review of government tender system

It is public knowledge that the government tender system, following government procedures, have been productive of considerable misuse and mis-appropiration of funds, and also bred corruption. There is a need to thoroughly review the present government tender system.

It is open secret, for instance, that although tenders are secret and not opened until the meeting of the relevant Tenders Board, in tenders involving supplies and materials worth $500,000 or $1 million, a payment of $2,000 or $3,000 can buy the information as to what prices other tenderers have offered, and even to correct and revise one’s tender in the light of this bought information.

In the Ministry of Health, the successful tender for medical supplies and materials is not gazetted, as a result, tenderers have to pay for the previous years’ tender information – which not only add to the cost finally to be borne by taxpayers, but inculcate the habit of palm-greasing in the government for services rendered.

The Treasury ruling that in the award of tenders for government supplies and materials, a bumiputra tenderer whose price does not exceed 10% of a competing tenderer should be preferred, should also be reviewed.

As a result of this ruling, international and local firms are in the habit of submitting multiple tenders, some in their original firm name, while others, under the name of bumiputra name-lenders.

Excellent examples are again in the tenders for multi-million dollar medical supplies and materials. International pharmaceutical firms have submitted for one contract sometimes as much as six to eight tenders – of course, under different names and giving different quotations.

Invariably, the higher tenders are awarded – leading to an extra 10% in the total cost of public consumption – running into hundreds of millions of dollars. This can only result in the creation of a small class of parasitic class at the expense of the poor of all races.

The entire government tender system must be reviewed and overhaul. The excuse of having followed government procedure is no more good enough explanation the htere is no misuse or misappropriation of funds, or even corruption.

Ministers must set an example in financial austerity

Ministers must set an example in financial austerity. Unfortunately, the reverse appears to be the case.

For instance, the Prime Minister has issued a new directive that “twice yearly, Federal Ministers, Deputy Ministers, their wives and dependent children when on their annual leave will be accorded free of charge First Class tickets on MAS reutes”.

The Prime Minister has not been able to give good enough reason why Federal Ministers and Deputy Ministers need two first class MAS tickets on the furthest MAS routes a year, and why this facility should be extended twice a year to the wives and dependent children.

There are about forty Minister and Deputy Ministers, and with their wives and children, the total number of persons entitled to this free first class MAS fare twice a year can easily come to 300 to 400.

The MAS has been insturcted that “in the event First Class seats are not available, the passengers booked on First Class must be reviewed and down-grading will have to be effected on bookings…”

This is clearly unjustifiable, for finally, the money comes from public coffers. As it is, the MAS is already reporting a sharp drop in profits. I call on the Prime Minister to reconsider this directive, as it contradicts the government stand that every cent must be husbanded and properly spent, and that the government is short of funds, when facing CUEPACS claim for the implementation of the Ibrahim Ali report.

Why hasn’t sugar retail price fallen to below 40 cents a kati, when the international raw sugar price has fallen four or five times below their peak in 1974

The Economic Report spoke of significant progress on the anti-inflationary front. What the government has failed to do is to protect the ordinary consumers in ensuring that they get a fair price for essential commodities. It often appears that when prices go up on the ground of international price increases, they seldom come down when international prices fall.

A good case is sugar. The international raw sugar price has fallen four or five times since its peak in 1974, but the retail price of sugar has not changed. What is the Ministry of Trade and commerce doing? What is FOMCA doing?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry should wake up from it sleep and stop allow the sugar tycoons to make millions from the poor – but to adjust the retail price of sugar to below 40 cents a kati.

DAP calls for free travel by Malaysian trades to China without Pernas or Ministry of Trade restriction

In battle to reduce the cost of living, the government should encourage the shift of sources trade supplies from higher priced exporters to cheaper suppliers, like the People’s Republic of China.

In this connection, it is highly regrettable that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Pernas should place undue restrictions on free travel by Malaysian traders to China to conclude trade agreements, as recently happened, leading to an earlier boycott by the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

When Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations, the Malaysian government recognised Taiwan as an indivisible part of China. Yet Malaysian traders to Taiwan can travel without any restrictions, while Malaysian traders to China for the Spring and Autumn Trade Fairs have to be subject to various restrictions and subject to rejections by Pernas.

The discriminatory attitude of the Malaysian government is undesirable, and the Ministry of Trade and Pernas should adopt a new policy whereby all bona fide Malaysian traders should be able to travel to China on trading purposes.

In this connection, it is also appropriate to review the role of Pernas as middleman in the China trade. In imposing a 1/2 per cent levy on China trade, Pernas gets about $2 million a year from this half-a-per-cent levy on China trade alone. This levy should be removed, for the benefit of the low-income groups to get cheaper imports to reduce the cost of living.

Pernas application forms for Malaysian traders involved in China trade is $5 each. All these unnecessary expenses can only add to a higher cost of living for the poor, and should be scrapped.

Workers interest must not be disregarded when franchises or licences are given to capitalists.

When the government gives out franchises or licences, it should not disregard the legitimate rights of workers.

On 15th Oct. 1976, the Swedish Motors Assemblies in Shah Alam retrenched 165 workers are expected to follow suit the month following.

These workers had three to seven years’ experience in the motor assembly plant.

The Swedish Motor Assemblies (SMA) was established in 1967 and employed about 500 workers, and assemble, among other vehicles, Datsun.

In 1974, the franchise to assemble Datsun cars was given to Tan Chong Motors and Sons.

Tan Chong motors and Sons set up its own assembly plant this year. They refused, however, to absorb the 350 workers in Swedish Motors assemblying Datsun vehicles.

Tan Chong Motors and Sons is going to make even greater profits (its pre-tax profit this year until the month of June is over $4million) at the expense of 350 workers.

This is socially inequitable and unjust, and highly irresponsible on the part of the government to give a franchise to a new motor assembler in utter disregard of the future of 350 workers and their dependants.

It is not that Tan Chong would not need the 350 workers. Tan Chong wants merely to employ new workers as this will be cheaper, running away from their social responsibility.

The government has a responsibility to the 350 workers to ensure that they do not lose their job or suffer any loss whether in terms of salary, or years of service, or other accrued rights as a result of this new franchise to the Tan Chong Motor and Sons.

In every such situation where the government intendes to issue a franchise to assemble makes of car already assembled locally, it must attach as one of the conditions for the receipient of the franchise that he must take over the entire work-force currently involved in the assembly of the make of car concerned, without the worker suffering any loss of salary, or status or seniority, other accrued rights, like annual leave, etc.

The motor assembly workers and their union, the Transport Equipment and Allied Industries employees’ Union, are very concerned about retrenchments taking place in the motor assembly industry, caused by issuing of new franchises, like the manufacture of Honda cars to Loh Boon Siew empire, threatening the jobs of workers in General Motors who are now assembling the car, and the imported of re-conditioned second-hand vehicles from Japan.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry should be clear-minded about the whose question, so that Malaysian workers are not retrenched because of the failure of Ministry of Trade officials to remember that they should not decide on matters which will lead to workers losing their rice bowls.

Malaysian Government opposed to Russia or Chinese communism

The Finance Minister, in his speech, also spoke of the need to combat communism as large defence expenditures alone cannot be as effective as military initiatives that are backed strongly by civilian support.

It has now become the fashion for leaders in government and especially in UMNO to talk about the communist threat and the need to take an uncompromising stand against it.

Malaysians are told that Islam and communism are incompatible, not only in speeches by government and UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders, but even in books by leaders of government and ruling parties.

It is with great surprise, therefore, to be told that two of the leading UMNO personalities who are in the forefront of the call for clean-up of communists in government and ruling party, namely Dato Senu bin Abdul Rahman, UMNO Secretary-General, and UMNO Youth Leader, Tan Sri Syed Jaffar Albar, own nearly 13 per cent of a company which may turn out to be Russian financed and controlled. This company is the Great Malaysia Line Sdn. Bhd. which runs pilgrims ships.

This throws the entire into confusion, for is the government and the UMNO’ leaders’ campaign against Chinese communism, or against Russian communism, or both?

I think it is of public interest that this matter should be cleared up. If an investigation is launched, I am prepared to provide materials for the investigations to be made. Meanwhile, both these two Hon’ble UMNO leaders, who are also MPs, should clarify as to whether it is true that they each hold 800,000 shares in Great Malaysia Line Sdn. Bhd. that the company was Russian financed and controlled, and that further, the Moscow Narodny Bank stood guarantee for $500,000 for the Great Malaysia Line Sdn. Bhd for the supply of marine fuel to one of its pilgrim ships, “Malaysia Raya” on credit by the Mobil oil Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. – leading to the Great Malaysia Line Sdn. Bhd. owing Mobil Oil Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. $1.4 million.

Government and UMNO leaders have a responsibility to give the people of Malaysia a clear picture on this UMNO-communist tangle!

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Ketua Pembangkang, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on the 1977 Budget on Monday, 1st November, 1976.