Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Klang DAP Branch Anniversary dinner held in Klang on Wednesday, 5th June 1985 at 8 pm
DAP Calls On Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to give a full account of the Federal Government’s involvement in the Sabah
submarine and APC plan.
Ever since the revelation by the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan in the Sabah State Assembly on May 20 of the hitherto top-secret plan of Sabah Shipyard Bhd to build submarines Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), the Ministry Of Defence had given
confused and contradictory responses which shows that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing in the Ministry.
The initial Ministry of Defence reaction which came a week
after the Assembly disclosure, implying that it was made after considerable
deliberation and study, was one of bald and outright denial of any knowledge
or involvement on the part of the Ministry.
The Mindef Press relations Officer, Mejar R. Sachinathan said
that there had been “no discussion whatsoever” on the submarine project
by his Ministry and that no one has approached the Ministry about the
But immediately two days later, in a local press on June 1,
the Ministry of Defence performed an about-turn, with the Deputy Defence
Minister, Datuk Abang Abu Bakar Mustapha, confirming that the Federal
Government was aware of plans to build submaries at Labuan’s Sabah Shipyard
Sdn. Bhd and that both the former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris
Salleh and Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, had met him to discuss the submarine
The Malaysian public are entitled to know why within 48 hours
the Ministry of Defence had contradicted itself on such an important issue
as the building of submarines in Malaysia?
Was the Mindef PRO, Mejar R. Sachinathan misled into denying
any Mindef knowledge about the submarine project, or had the Mindef
initially decided to mislead the Malaysian public but was prevailed by
the ‘submarine’ proponents to change its mind?
The former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, had told
foreign press that the submarine project had the blessings of the Federal
Government when I was in Sabah last week, I was told that the submarine
proponents are going round saying that the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk
Joseph Pairin would not be allowed to abandon the submarine project, as
‘greater forces’ at the Federal government are involved.
It is most shocking that the Mindef PRO should have made a
statement on behalf of his Ministry on the submarine issue, which was
contradicted two days later by the Deputy Minister of Defence, on this
basis, the people should not be surprised if the Defence Minister and
Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, make a statement on the
submarine issue contradicting that of Datuk Abang Abu Bakar!
If Datuk Harris Salleh and Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie had seen
the Deputy Defence Minister on the submarine and APC plans, than I am
sure both of them must have seen the Prime Minister who is also Defence
Minister. If this supposition is right, then the meeting and conversation
between them and the Deputy Defence Minister is irrelevant and un-important,
as compared to their conversation and meeting with Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir.
For this reason, I call on the Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir to
to give a full account of the Federal Government’s involvement and Stand
on the question of the proposed manufacture of submarines and APSs
in Labuan by Sabah Shipyard, and whether it is true, as claimed by
Datuk Harris, that he had discussed the submarine project with the British
Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, during her recent visit to Malaysia.
The DAP MP5 will be pursuing this issue in the July meeting of
DAP to launch a mass signature campaign to protest against New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was proclaimed in 1970 as a formula to
achieve the overriding objective of national unity through the two-pronged
strategy of eradicating poverty regardless of race and the restructuring
of Malaysian society to eliminate the identification of race with vocation
When the NEP was implemented for a 20-year span covering
1970-1990, with its policy of percentages and quotas, top government leaders
repeatedly assured the people that the NEP would be implemented in a way so as to
ensure that that “no particular group experiences any loss or
feels any sense of deprivation” As I told Parliament many times, “Loss
or sense of deprivation is created, not only from losing what you have
or deprived of what you possess, but also from losing what you rightfully
expected to have or deprived of what you had expected to enjoy”
After 15 years of NEP operation, it is clear that the NEP, far
from being successful in welding the diverse races into a more united
Malaysian people, had been the single most divisive instrument to further
polarise the Malaysian racial relations.
The New Economic Policy had been implemented in many areas in
utter disregard of the assurance that it would not cause any loss or,
deprivation to any group.
In Sitiawan, an operator of petrol kiosk for over 60 years, Boon Brothers,
had been told to stop business, because the Perak State Government had
alienated the land on which the petrol kiosk stands to a bumiputra company,
the Manjung Development Sdn Bhd to operate the same business.
The bumiputra company, Manjung Development Sdn Bhd, was only
a company with $4 paid-up share capital when a search was made with the
Registry of Companies on 29th October 1984, and the petrol kiosk land
was alienated to the company by the Perak State Government in May l984.
This is an open disawowal of the NEP pledge that its implementation
would not cause any particular group ‘loss or deprivation’. Unfortunately,
both MCA and Gerakan leaders were unwilling and unable to rectify such
NEP injustice, although both MCA and Gerakan achieved great electoral
victories in the 1982 general elections.
The Boon Brothers petrol kisok station affair is merely
one of the examples of NEP injustices, which abound in economic,
financial, educational and other national spheres. The time has come for
the people to speak up loud and clear to let the Barisan Nasional government
and its component parties, whether UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, knew that the
people are unalterably opposed to such NEP injustices, and would
oppose even more strongly, the extension of the NEP after 1990 into the
The DAP will launch a mass signature campaign, beginning in
Sitiawan and then in Perak State, to protest against the NEP injustice
as represented by the Boon Brothers petrol kiosk case in Sitiawan. In this
particular case, the Perak State Government should get Manjung Development
Sdn Bhd to return the land to the State Government so that it could be
leased back to Boon Brothers to continue its petrol kiosk business. The
Perak State Government should have no problem in alienating another
piece of land in Perak to the company.
But over and above the specific case of the Boon Brothers petrols kiosk
case in Sitiawan is the need to let the Barisan Nasional government
know that it must put a stop to all the NEP injustices which discriminate
one group of citizens against another group. If the Barisan government and
its component parties are not prepared to put a stop to such NEP injustices,
then the people must use the, power of their vote in the coming general elections to
give them a resounding defeat!
Although the mass signature campaign to protest against the NEP
injustices would begin in Sitiawan and Perak, I call on all Malaysians
throughout the country to express concern and provide support, when this
signature campaign becomes nation-wide.
There would be those who would argue that the Boon Brothers petrol
kiosk case concerns only one family business or only the people of Sitiawan,
or at most Perak, and should not bother the people in other states. I
can still remember Dr. Lim Chong Eu and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik criticising the
DAP for making the Save Bukit China campaign a nation-wide one, for they
argued that it concerned the people of Malacca only.
Those who adopt such attitude are not only short-sighted, they
want to mislead the people from the political reality in Malaysia, that
there is no single issue concerning our basic political, economic,
educational, cultural and religious rights which is solely the concern
of one person, one town or one state. Unless the people throughout the
country are prepared to unite to make their voice heard and respected
whenever there is an encroachment or erosion of any basic political,
economic, educational, cultural and religious right affecting a single
individual, we will be placed in a position of perpetually having our
rights eroded away.
In the case of Save Bukit China campaign, there is no doubt that
if this campaign had been confined to Malacca state, the government would
never pay heed or attention to the demands of the people for the
preservation and respect of their cultural, historic , economic,
religious and citizenship rights.
In the same way, NEP injustices like the Boon Brothers petrol
kiosk case, can only be rectified and halted if the people throughout the
whole country take a firm stand against them.