Call on Malaysian Government to condemn Vietnam’s barbaric policy of racism and genocide

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, at the Thousand-People Pudu DAP Branch Solidarity Dinner at Mak Yee Restaurant, Shaw Complex, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 28th July 1979 at 8 pm

Call on Malaysian Government to condemn Vietnam’s barbaric policy of racism and genocide in international forums like the Commonwealth Premiers’ Conference in Lusaka, Zambia on August 1, the Non-Aligned Summit Conference in Havanna, and the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly Debate

Although Vietnam indicated at the Geneva Conference on Indo-China refugees that it would make every effort to stem the exodus of refugees, for a reasonable period of time, the civilized world community must not allow such Vietnamese ‘concession’ to overlook or ignore the brutal fact that Vietnam has been guilty of barbaric policies of racism and genocide which must be condemned by civilized and humane nations in no undertain terms.

Vietnam, through its inhuman and callous policy against its own citizens, is responsible for the death of 250,000 to 300,000 lives by drowning in the high seas.

The DAP calls on the Malaysian Government to speak out clearly against such inhumanity at all international forums. The Malaysian Government should condemn such Vietnamese racism and genocide in the forthcoming commonwealth Premiers’ Conference in Lusaka in Zambia beginning on August 1, and the Non-Aligned Nations Leaders’ Summit Conference in Havanna, Cuba, in September.

To ignore or to keep quiet in international crimes against humanity of the magnitude as had happened in Vietnam is to condone such mass butchery of mankind. Malaysia has rightly spoken out, loud and clear, at international forums against the inhumane Apartheid Policy practiced by South Africa, and there is no reason why Malaysia should now keep quiet against the inhumanity and barbarism of Vietnamese policy.

Malaysia broke off diplomatic relations with South Africa and supported international economic sanctions against South Africa in participation of an international campaign to pressure South Africa to end its racial discrimination policies as represented by its Apartheid Policy. When compared to the enormity of the inhumanity involved, the south Africa Apartheid Policy pales into the background against Vietnamese racism and genocide which has already claimed the lives of a quarter of a million people within the short span of four years!

Malaysia should also, together with other ASEAN countries, present a motion at the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly starting in September calling on Vietnam to halt its policy of racism and genocide, and to respect human lives and spirit.

Malaysia should not get involved or take sides in any power conflict, but precisely because Malaysia and the ASEAN countries are the close neighbours of Vietnam, we have an international and moral responsibility to awaken international attention to the inhumanity and barbarity perpetrated so close to our shores. We must do this, not only because we owe a duty to our peoples and nations, but also because we owe a duty to mankind. If we keep quiet and condone such inhumanity and barbarity, whether for one reason or another, then we will forever forfeit the moral right to speak up against crimes against mankind, perpetrated in any part of the globe, whether in South Africa, Middle East or in Latin Amercia.

2.Review Nation Building Policies to Widen Perimeters of Understanding among races, religions and cultures to develop resilience against external throats.

The threatening situation in Indo-China and the greatly increased military build-up of Soviet power in Asia and Pacific area, constitute a great challenge and threat to the stability and security of the non-Communist South East Asian nations.

However, the key to the survival and stability of the non-Communist South East Asian states lies in the unity and solidarity of the peoples in these nations, which can only come about through just and fair policies which continue to widen the perimeters of understanding and common interest among the diverse racial, religious and cultural groups in each nation, Obscurantist and bigoted policies or measures could only deepen and further entrench inter-racial, inter-religious or inter-cultural suspicions and distrust!

In this connection, I call on the Government to seriously review the whole spectrum of its nation building policies, to recognize reality in making modifications in policies and measyres which had narrowed further the perimeters of understanding and common interests among Malaysians, and to make changes calculated to broaden such perimeters.

The teachers in schools have an important role to play in instilling in the new generation of Malaysian children a consciousness and identity transcending race, religion or cultural differences, and we should seek to have as balanced a teaching profession as possible.

3. Call on Education Minister to train more non-Malay teachers

In the last 10 years, from 1970-1979, the Education Ministry took in 35,308 full-time teacher-trainees in the various teacher-training institutes, with following racial breakdowns:

Malays – 27,089 (76.7%)
Chinese – 6,894 (19.5%)
Indians – 1,209 ( 3.4%)
Others – 116 (0.3%)
Total – 35,308

In 1969, the racial percentages of teacher-trainees for that year were:

Malays 62.7%
Chinese 33.9%
Indians 3.2%
Other 0.2%

It is clear that there is a need to increase considerably the number of non-Malay teacher trainees for our schools, and I call on the Minister of Education, Datuk Musa Hitam, to give this matter his personal attention and rectify the imbalances in the immediate years ahead.

4. MCA ‘Vultures’ impatiently waiting for my disqualification

From the statements and speeches by MCA leaders, especially those in Selangor and Petaling, the people know that MCA ‘vultures’ are impatiently and eagerly awaiting my removal from the Parliamentary arena.

My appeal against conviction and sentence under the Official Secrets Act will be heard by the Federal Court beginning on Monday, August 6, but the MCA ‘vultures’ could hardly contain themselves.

But the MCA will be greatly mistaken if they think that they could continue to mislead the people.

MCA leaders have recently stepped up their propaganda campaign claiming that they are the sole ‘champions’ of five million Chinese in Malaysia, and that they are the people who could get things done.

A MCA Minister went to Malacca a few days ago and said that it is a political fact that UMNO is the dominant component party in the National Front. What this MCA Minister failed to add is that it is also a political fact that MCA Ministers have no power.

This is best illustrated by the complete failure of the MCA Minister of Health, Tan Sri Chong Hong Nyan, to lift the clamp-down on free movement of patients and visitors at Sungei Buloh Leprosarium, despite the many statements and claims by the Selangor Liaison Committee and the MCA Selangor Chairman, Datuk Lee Kim Sai.

I have established beyond any doubt that the clamp-down was imposed by the Health authorities, and that the police had no objection to the removal of the clamp-down, which has causedsuch great hardships to the 1,600 inmates in the Leprosarium.

There is therefore no ‘reasonable’ or warranted ground for the imposition of the clamp-down at Sungei Buloh Leprosarium, and the Health Minster, Tan Sri Chong Hong Nyan, dared not meet me to discuss the Sungei Buloh Leprosarium grievances because he knows that the clamp-down is completely unjustifiable and indefensible. Furthermore, the Health Minister has banned me from visiting the Leprosarium to explain to the inmates about what happened in the efforts to get clamp-down lifted.

I have no doubt that if the Minister involved has been an UMNO Minister, and it was the Selangor UMNO Committee and Leader that came out to intervene, this matter would have been solved long ago.

If a MCA Minister could not solve such a small and simple matter completely within his Ministerial jurisdiction, clearly, what can the MCA leadership do to fight for the basic rights and interests of Malaysians as a whole, and Malaysian Chinese in particular – as claimed by MCA?

We have see how MCA Ministers had been shunted aside when important issues cropped up, e.g. the MCA Labour Minister was shunted aside when MAS-AEU dispute blew up into a crisis, and Dr. Mahathir and Tan Sir Ghazalie shafie took over the matter.

When history is written, I have no doubt that history will pass the verdict that MCA and the MCA leadership are responsible for the many grave problems faced by the people and country, through the MCA leadership’s concern with personal position, class interest, in utter disregard of the people’s rights and the future of Malaysia’s long-term development as a healthy, tolerant, just and equal multi-racial Malaysian nation.