by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, on Wednesday, 11th July 1979:
DAP calls on Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, to appoint former Premier Tunku Abdul Rahman as Malaysia’s first High Commissioner for Refugees
The world is witnessing the unfolding of a great human tragedy and holocaust, where every day, thousands of Vietnamese refugees are being drowned in the high seas.
According to one estimate, between 250,000 and 300,000 ‘boat people’ had already died, and in May this year, some 50,000 would have been drowned in the high seas.
Communist Vietnam, with the connivance and collusion of Soviet Russia, is clearly bent on out-Hiltering Hilter to become the ‘butcher of humanity’. In six months of callous trafficking in human being, Vietnam is estimated to have made $6 billion in gold, to finance purchase of defence hardware from Soviet Russia.
Vietnam’s barbaric and uncivilized international conduct is a challenge to civilization and humanity, and both the United Nations and the world community would lose all moral credibility if they do nothing to halt this continued human holocaust.
The barbaric and uncivilized Vietnamese action in callously extorting blood money and exporting refugees have gravely upset Malaysia and other ASEAN countries in creating great social, economic and security problems.
This is part of the Vietnamese policy to make Malaysia and other ASEAN countries be a party to Vietnamese barbarism, for if in desperation, Malaysia and other ASEAN countries resort to extreme actions like ‘shoot on sight’ at the refugees, then Malaysia and other ASEAN countries would become morally more heinous than even Vietnam – which could claim that it had not even gone that far.
Trapped by Vietnam in such a great dilemma, it is essential that Malaysia should work out a solution which could look after and protect the social, economic, and security interests of the country, without losing our senses and, to quote Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, “never lose our humanitarian and moral sense which has become part of our established ways.”
Malaysians cannot be blind or indifferent to the colossal human sufferings of the Vietnamese refugees, in Pulau Bidong and other temporary settlement camps.
I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, to appoint former Premier Tengku Abdul Rahman to be Malaysia’s first High Commissioner on Refugees, to bring humanitarian assistance to the Vietnamese refugees while safeguarding and protecting Malaysia’s social, economic and security interests from Vietnamese barbaric designs.
I am sure that Tengku Abdul Rahman, if appointed High Commissioner for Refugees, would also be able to visit foreign countries to get them to open their doors even wider for quicker resettlement of the Vietnamese refugees in United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other countries.