DAP call for a referendum to decide whether the Malaysia-Indonesia agreement to import Indonesian labour should be ratified and implemented

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Penang DAP State Committee meeting in Penang on Saturday, 26.5.1984 at 8 p.m.

DAP call for a referendum to decide whether the Malaysia-Indonesia agreement to import Indonesian labour should be ratified and implemented

Friday’s newspapers cafried the repot of Batu Pahat trader, Tan Kian Sing, 39, from Batu Pahat, who was found murdered in his palm oil smallholding near Kuantan, where he had gone for an inspection. His workers, who are illegal Indonesian immigrants, are also missing.

Tan Kian Sing is the latest victim of wave of crimes committed by the illegal Indonesian immigrants, but unfortunately, the authorities do not seem to take this problem seriously.

In September 1982, when another Malaysian worker was murdered by illegal Indonesian immigrants in a Pahang Tenggara Felda scheme, the MCA leaders, led by Datuk Lee Kim Sai, got the widow to write a ‘blood accusation’ with her blood outside MCA Headquarters, where Datuk Lee and other MCA leader pledged to get the illegal Indonesian immigrant issue resolved once and for all

The result seems to be the Malaysian-Indonesian labour agreement signed by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Musa Hitam, in Sumatra recently where illegal Indonesian immigrants is being legalised!

The Dap is opposed to the implementation of the Malaysia-Indonesian labour agreement unless all political, economic and social aspects of the problem are resolved first, in particular the citizenship status of 300,000 red identity card holders in Malaysia.

It would be most unjust and discriminatory if the illegal Indonesian immigrants end up with having a more protected and privileged status in Malaysia than the 300,000 red identity card holders who are for all practical purposes Malaysians except for formal citizenship papers.

Malaysians must be very disturbed by the Indonesian Minister of Manpower’s suggestion that the Indonesian workers in Malaysian should become Malaysia Citizens.

This brings up the related question of the new population policy of the government to have 70 million people for Malaysia. I was surprised to read a newspaper report last Monday quoting me as supporting the 70 million population policy in a speech in Taiping, and even suggesting that this target should be achieved in the shortest possible time.

Nothing can be further from the truth, for the DAP is opposed to a 70 million people population policy, especially as the long-standing problem of 14 million people with regard to poverty, inequality of income and wealth, educational deprivation of sizable sections of our student population, government efficiency and national unity have become even more acute with the passage of life. If we cannot resolve these political, economic, educational and cultural problems of 14 million people, they will become even more intractable if we have a 70 million population.

But the question that Malaysians want an answer is whether the import of Indonesian labour in the rest of the 80s and in the 1990s is part of the government’s strategy to achieve the 70 million people target, with grave political and socio-economic repercussions for all Malaysians in future.

The Dap calls on the government to hold a referendum among the people of Malaysia to decide whether the Malaysian-Indonesian labour agreement should be ratified and implemented, as it has grave long-term implications for the development of the Malaysian society and nation.