Speech by Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at the inaugural meeting of the DAP Federal Territory/ Selangor Elections Preparations Committee meeting in K.L.DAP office on Thursday, 25th August 1977 at 7.30 p.m.
DAP calls on ASEAN governments to change their laws to respect and promote human rights in the region.
The time has come for the DAP at state and branch levels to prepare more systematically for the next general elections, which is not too far away.
The task of the Federal Territory/ Selangor Elections Preparations Committee will be to propose targets for the next general elections, and to execute plans at both the state and branch levels to reach these election targets.
One big issue in the next general elections will be the question of human rights in Malaysia. The deprivation of civil liberties has become more and more common-place. The fundamental liberties enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution spelling out liberties of free speech, assembly, and freedom from arbitrary detention have become empty guarantees.
DAP leaders Sdr. Chian Heng Kai, MP for Batu Gajah, and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit, DAP National Assistant Treasurer, were arrested and now detained in Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping, because they exercised their constitutional right to speak out against the Government’s policies, especially on the question of the Constitutional guarantees on the use, study and teaching of the mother tongues in the country.
PSRM leader, Sdr. Kassim Ahmad, was placed in solitary confinement for close to 9 months before being sent to Kamunting Detention Camp. This is mental torture, which should be condemned by all right-thinking Malaysians.
The Government should put all political detainees on trial, or release them. The Government’s human rights record is a very dismal one.
In fact, human rights in the ASEAN counties is scorned and disregarded by the governments. The DAP calls on ASEAN governments to change their laws to respect and promote human rights in the region, for the deprivation of human rights in the region is one of the main factors of unrest and instability in the area.
In Malaysia, the number of persons who have been arrested under the Internal Security Act has increased by leaps and bounds. Last month, I asked the Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, for the figures of ISA detentions, and the following are the details given by the Minister:
Internal Security Act detentions
1971 – 126
1972 – 71
1973 – 38
1974 – 112
1975 – 115
1976 – 316
These are very disturbing figures, and show the seriousness of the deprivation of human rights in Malaysia. I call on the Malaysian Government to free without conditions Sdr. Chian Heng Kai and Sdr. Chan Kok Kit or put them on trial for the judgement of the Malaysian people and the world.