Call on Prime Minister to cancel all Ministerial leave and holidays abroad and direct them to spend them inside Malaysia as ‘Leadership by Example to stem the currency outflows’

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Slang, at a DAP Ceramah organised by the Kuching DAP Branch held at Kuching on Friday, 27.9.1985 at 8 pm

Call on Prime Minister to cancel all Ministerial leave and holidays abroad and direct them to spend them inside Malaysia as ‘Leadership by Example to stem the currency outflows’

Early this month, a Hong Kong consultancy firm reported a deterioration in the risk rating of Malaysia over the near and medium term. According to this firm’s assessment in its latest quarterly risk report on Malaysia, both economic and socio—political risks had increased sharply since the survey in the second quarter of the year.

Among the contributing factors to increased economic risks are dismal export performance of the traditional commodity produce and manufactured goods due to problems of market access and depressed external demand, and the heavy external debt burden.

As for socio—political risks, they have increased because of growing political uncertainties revolving around the MCA crisis, dissatisfaction within UMNO, party feuds in Sarawak and power struggle in Sabah.

This is one foreign assessment of the economic and socio—political Condition in Malaysia.

Undoubtedly, Malaysia’s economy is going through a very difficult time, with our traditional commodities facing not only low prices but also an uncertain future.

Malaysia’s place as the No.1 producer of rubber d palm oil, is now being challenged by our neighbours. According to one estimate, Indonesia would catch up Malaysia in production of natural rubber by 1990, while Thailand would catch up Malaysia l5 production by the end of the century which is only 15 years away.

The recent report that India had placed substantial initial order of palm oil, terminating her total dependence on Malaysia for the commodity, heralds Indonesia’s challenge to Malaysia in the world supplies of palm oil.

Meanwhile, oil prices are heading for a big drop with the announcement this week by Saudi Arabia that it would join in discounts by other member States of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which signalled the imminent determination of oil prices by forces of supply and demand, and not by OPEC.

This will greatly affect Malaysia’s petroleum revenue, as Well as further weaken our natural rubber industry, as cheap petroleum products would stimulate the production of synthetic rubber.

Another disturbing news was the report last week that Malaysia’s external debt, both public and private, would cross the $50 billion mark this year. For this year, out of every ringgit of Government revenue, 0.39 sen go to debt servicing, which will rise from $3 billion in 1984 to about $6 billion in 1987.

In the face of these economic woes, the government has not provided a clear leadership to enable the people to tide over the difficult period.

Although the 2M Government has the slogan of ‘Leadership by Example’, many of its leaders are giving the wrong or bad examples involving misuse and abuse of public funds, waste and extravagant expenditures.

For instance, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had said many times of the nee d to stem currency outflows which make the Services Account deficit the the Achilles’ Heel in the country’s Balance of Payments.

From 1980 to 1984, the Services Account Deficit totalled $36.6 billion, and in 1985 alone, it is expected to reach a all—time high of $10.8 billion.

If the Prime Minister is serious about ‘Leadership by Example’ then he should cancel all Ministerial leave and holidays abroad and direct all Ministers to take their leave inside Malaysia. This would be in keeping with the government’s ‘Buy Malaysia’ campaign as well as the other campaign to promote local tourism apart from stemming currency outflows.

At yesterday’s UMNO Youth Assembly, both Datuk Musa Hitam, Deputy UMNO President, and Anwar Ibrahim, UMNO Youth leader, warned of the dangers of political and moral corruption.

How could the UMNO leaders expect to have credibility that they are serious in their denunaciation of political and moral corruption when the greatest financial scandal in Malaysia, the $2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal, is still ‘covered up’ four years after it had come to the notice of the top government leadership?

This is also the reason why the government’s plea to the government servants and CUEPACS to moderate their wage demands because the government could not afford their claims lack conviction in the light of the government’s unwillingness to have a full public accounting of the BMF scandal.

Call on Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir to direct all UMNO leaders to stop using ‘immigrants’ or ‘kaum asing’ to describe non—Malay Malaysia

Te National Day this year had the theme ‘Nationalism Teras Perpaduan’ to unite Malaysians irrespective of race, religion or language, as one common Malaysian people.

Unfortunately, at the Barian Nasional Youth Camp held at Lubok Antu last month, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, described the non—Malay Malaysians as ‘immigrants’, when they are fully Malaysian as their other fellow citizens.

For a non-Malay Malaysian, born, bred and who will die in Malaysia, and whose loyalty is first and last to Malaysia, to be described as ‘immigrant’ is to perpetuate a difference and even discrimination among Malaysians which cannot foster unity. If this is not checked, racial polarisation which even UMNO leaders had said had become more aggravated 28 year after Merdeka, would become insoluble.

Yesterday, at the UMNO Youth Convention, an UMNO Youth delegate, Haji Dusuki Ahmad, was reported as describing the non—Malays as ‘kaum asing’.

This is another term which will hurt non-Malays and perpetuate Malay/non—Malay antagonism. For non-Malays born, bred and who will die in Malaysia, they are not ‘kaum asing’ in their own homeland. They are as ‘kaum tempatan’ as their Malay compatriots.

I am sure Haji Dusuki will be greatly offended if the Chinese and Indians describe the Malays as ‘kaum asing’ as far as they are concerned.

I call on the prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to direct all UMNO leaders to stop using terms like ‘immigrants’ or ‘kaum asing’ to describe non-Malay Malaysians, for these terms are not only incorrect at this moment of the nation’s history, but are highly offensive and divisive terms which can only set—back the nation building process by years and even decades!