Reply to Syed Jaffar Albar

Statement by Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at a Press Conference held at Parliament House on Wednesday, November 3rd, 1976 at 2.00 p.m.

Reply to Syed Jaffar Albar

First let me dispose of Tan Sri Syed Jaffar Albar. He asked me to repeat outside the House what I said in Parliament. I stand by what I have said in Parliament, which is to call for an investigation into the Great Malaysian Line Sdn. Bhd., which runs pilgrim ships to Mecca.

Tan Sri Syed Jaffar Albar said he ceased to be a member or director of the company three years ago and that he had given up his shares. He said that if his name in the share scrip had not been changed, it was not his fault.

I have only to add that if his name in the share scri had not been changed, it is not my fault either. In any event, he did not deny that he was a substantial shareholder at one time.

I want to make it clear that as far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong to do business with the communists, whether Russian or Chinese coomunists. It is not an offence, nor does it make one a communist. In fact, the DAP had been in the forefront calling for the establishment of diplomatic relations, including normalisation of all commercial and industrial relations with communist countries.

However, recently, UMNO leaders had been emphasizing at every available opportunity that communism and Islam are irreconcilable, that there can be no compromise between communism and Islam. There is bound to be confusion, therefore, should UMNO leaders be involved in a company sending pilgrim ships to the Holy land which is financed or controlled by Russian communist interests.

This would indicate that Islam and communism, or at least Russian communism, is not all that incompatible.

I had asked for a government investigation into thee financial interests behind the Great Malaysia Line Sdn. Bhd. so that the Malaysian public knows who are the controlling financial interests.

I said in Parliament, and I repeat, that I am prepared to furnish whatever materials I have to any such investigation.

2. DAP condemnation of unwarranted detention under Internal Security Act of DAP Member of Parliament Chian Heng Kai DAP Assistant National Treasurer, Chan Kok Kit

I now come to a very much more important matter. At 2.20 a.m. this morning, DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Sdr. Chian Heng Kai, who is also DAP Central Executive Committee Member, was arrested in his Ipoh home by police; while DAP National Assistant Treasure, Sdr. Chan Kok Kit, was arrested in his Kuala Lumpur house at 4 a.m.

Both have been detained under the Internal Security Act.

This is a gross abuse of powers, and the DAP condemn the unwarranted and unjustified detention of Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit.

The arrest of Sdr. Chian Heng Kai is also a contempt of Parliament for it interferes with the Parliamentary process violating all the Parliamentary conventions and traditions that there should be no interference with the Parliamentary process, so that Parliament is not deied the contributions a Member of Parliament is duty bound to make.

I know Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit very well over the years in our political struggle, and there is absolutely no valid reason for their detention. Both Sdr. Chian Heng Kai, who has just become a father two days ago, and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit, are Malaysian patriots who love Malaysia and who have dedicated themselves to the goal of a genuinely multi-racial Malaysian nation, where there is no discrimination or inequality.

It is clear that Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit have become victims of the UMNO power struggle. In recent months, following Samad Ismail’s television statement that he had influnced many top UMNO and Government policy makers, demands for the purge of UMNO leadership and government communist elements have mounted in crescendo.

Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit have been detained just to provide a ‘balance’ – to distract attention. If Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit have committed offences, I challenge the Government to put them up for public trial.

Many DAP leaders had been prosecuted – but it would appear that the Government has found that this persecution by the legal process has not broken the spirit of the DAP leaders. Now, the Government has resorted to the ISA.

The arrests of the two DAP leaders cannot intimidate the political resolution of the DAP to continue our political battle. On the contrary, such indiscriminate detention without trial of persons who have committed no offences can only alienate the people even more, and drive the people to become more disenchanted and disillusioned with the democratic process. The persons who will rejoice will be the communists. Is this what the Barisan National want to achieve?

It is a gross abuse of power that in the UMNO power struggle, innocent opposition politicians should be victimised. There are also calls emanating from UMNO calling for investigation into me, as voiced by Tan Sri Syed Jaffar Albar in Dewan Rakyat yesterday. History has shown that the voice of the people cannot be silenced by indiscriminate and repressive arrests.

The Barisan Nasional Government, when faced with the UMNO internal power struggle, should not sacrifice national stability for internal party compromise. It should not for its own selfish ends, just because it has been weakened internally by the UMNO-Communist tangle, take the opportunity to cripple the opposition as well.

Assets of Sdr. Kassim Ahmad

I have just been informed that Parti Rakyat Chairman, Sdr. Kassim Ahmad, was arrested in Kuala Lumpur early this morning, and have been brought up to Penang. The DAP deplore all this indiscriminate and unjustified arrests – for the history of the ISA in Malaysia is full of instances of arrests for political purpose, and not for national interests.

The Government should stop playing with fire. What it is doing not to win the hearts and minds of the people – but to lose the people’s war.

The Government should stop playing with fire. What it is doing is not to win the hearts and minds of the people – but to lose the people’s war.

The crippled plant of Parliamentary democracy has suffered another grievous blow.