by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Wednesday, June 11, 1986:
DAP calls on Labour Minister to set up a special task force to visit all the contract workers in the Negri Sembilan-Pahang border land development schemes to end to slave labour conditions
All Malaysian must be shocked by the revelation in the local press (NST front-page) that several hundred contract workers in land development schemes in and around Negri Sembilan-Pahang border are working as bonded labourers, subjected to the most primitive system of serfdom.
Workers hired with promises of better pay and living conditions have ended up heavily indebted to their employers who pay them in kind. Payment usually includes their daily ratios, such as rice, oil, saltfish and sardines, and samsu, and charged at exorbitant prices.
The workers are frequently assaulted, their living conditions are invalid, denied liberty of movement, and reduced to slavery.
This is Selangor Empat writ large, where hellish conditions for workers are not confined to one estate, but has become virtually a system in the remote land development schemes.
It is an indictment on the Labour Ministry that in 1986, such primitive labour conditions could be so rife yet unknown, unchecked by the government.
I call on the Labour Minister, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, to immediately set up a task force to visit all the contract labourers in the remote land development schemes in and around the Negri Sembilan-Pahang border to put an end to such labour slavery, which violates the Malaysian Constitution.
If the Labour Ministry refuses to act, then the MTUC should consider setting up inspectorate teams to visit such outlying land development schemes to protect the dignity of labour from reduced to slavery.
It is not surprising if many of these outlying land development schemes practising labour slavery are government, or semi-governmental schemes, or have connections with some of the ruling parties.
I am instructing the DAP Estates Committee to hold an emergency meeting to consider sending out various inspection teams to have first-hand information on the slavery conditions in the remote land development schemes.
Challenge to Elections Commission, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir bin Talib, to justify the new undemocratic election rules shortening campaign period and upping candidate deposits
The DAP challenge the Elections Commission Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Bin Talib, to justify the new undemocratic election regulations shortening general elections campaign period to seven days from Nomination to Polling, and upping deposits 600 per cent from $500 to $3,000 for State Assembly candidate, and 500% increase from $1,000 to $5,000 for parliamentary candidate.
It is clear that the Elections Commission has be failed its Constitutional to be impartial, independent, carrying out its functions without ‘fear or favour’, but has been reduced to an Elections Bureau of UMNO! But the tragedy is that although excluded from the UMNO decision-making to create the conditions to conduct the most unfair, unjust and undemocratic Elections in Malaysian history, the MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders are not up against such injustices. They have again proved to be more ‘passengers’ in the Barisan Nasional ship! The DAP calls on Elections Commission to further amend the election regulations to restore a minimum period of 14 days between Nomination Day and Polling, and reduce the increase of dapo its to more than 200%.