Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the dinner hosted by the DAP for the Japanese Democratic Socialist Party delegation held at Metro Restaurant, Wisma MPI on Wednesday, 19.9.1984 at 8 pm
Call on Japan to break down its protectionist walls to redress Malaysia’s trade deficit with Japan which is expected to reach $3.6 billion next year
In welcoming the visit of the Japanese Democratic Socialist Party leadership delegation, I wish to take this opportunity to ask our fraternal socialist comrades to take home to Japan the message that Malaysia seeks a moral equal and just relationship with Japan.
Excluding crude oil and gas exports, Malaysia’s trade deficit with Japan rose from US$775 million in 1980 to US$2 billion in 1982, and by next year, is expected to reach $3.6 billion.
Japan should break down its protectionist walls to redress Malaysia’s trade deficit to establish a more equal and just bilateral relationship.
Malaysia’s main exports to Japan are crude oil, wood, tin and mineral, ores which amount to 84 per cent of Malaysia’s exports to Japan, while Japan bought practically nothing of Malaysia’s manufactured goods.
Any Japanese move to liberalise trade by opening its highly controlled marked which would only benefit Japan’s major trading partners like the United States would not benefit Malaysia or other developing countries.
Malaysia’s palm oil, for instance, is subject to a three percent duty while other vegetable oils which are close substitutes and competitors enter Japan duty free. Japan imposes considerably high tariff on Malaysia’s plywood while soft plywood from other countries is subjected to lower tariff.
Another relevant issue is the Japanese government’s reluctance to grant Malaysian Airline System landing rights in Tokyo for its onward flights to the United States.
Japan should therefore break down its protectionist walls, whether tariff or non-tariff in nature, and redress Malaysia’s great trade deficit with Japan by importing more Malaysian manufactured goods.
Japan is expected to have US$30 billion current account surplus and there is an urgent need for this great trade imbalance to be redressed to ensure a more stable and healthier international economy, for developing countries like Malaysia will not be content to be neo-colonial outposts for Japan’s economic expansion.
Proposal to Japanese Socialists to jointly raise in international forums the danger of increased build-up of Russian military, air and naval forces in Asia-pacific region
One of the most de-stabilising developments in the Asia-Pacific region in the Seventies and the Eighties is the relentless build up of Soviet military, air and naval forces in Asia and the Pacific region.
I call on our Japanese Socialist friends to join us to raise in international forums the danger of such increased build-up of Soviet armed forced in Asia-Pacific region to regional and international peace and stability.
The Afghanistan and Kampuchean adventures of Soviet Union and its allies are warnings of what could happen to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region if the Soviet threat to world peace and stability is taken lightly.
China is no major military threat to South East Asia
The theory that China is a greater military threat to South East Asia than the Soviet Union has clouded a full grasp of the significance and dimension of the relentless build-up of Soviet armed might in the Asia-Pacific region.
Recently, Professor Micheal B. Yahuda, a lecturer in East Asian Studies at Adelaide University in Australia, in his paper The Chinese Threat to South East Asia: Illusion or Reality? presented at the Malaysia Institute of Strategic and International Studies, said that China’ s record showed that it had not been successful in posing military dominance in a single country, and that there was no incontrovertible evidence to show that China was already a real threat to the region.
China lacked the capabilities of projecting force beyond its border and its policy is not reflective of an effort to acquire territory.
South East Asia’s relations with China are fraught with ambiguities, suspicion and misperceptions, but the time has come for all nations concerned to break out of this vicious circle to establish a more normal and healthier international and relationship.