By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 27th May 1990:
DAP leadership is not at odds over the GSP issue
I want to clarify a front-page newspaper report today that the DAP is divided over the GSP issue.
If there is any public impression that the DAP leadership is at odds over the GSP issue, it is completely the creation of certain newspaper groups who are doing so with a political motive.
For instance, two days ago, another newspaper put on front page a report that DAP National Vice Chairman, Ahmad Nor, as saying at the DAP ceramah at Sungai Pinang in Penang on Wednesday night that DAP supported the withdrawal of the GSP privileges for Malaysia by the United States.
Sdr. Ahmad Nor never said anything of the sort, and the DAP has a tape-recording of Ahmad Nor’s speech to prove this.
DAP wants the United States Government to maintain the GSP privileges for Malaysia for the good of the Malaysian economy and workers. However, the Malaysian Government cannot disregard the three complaints the two United States labour organisations are using to ground their petition for the withdrawal of GSP privileges for Malaysia.
The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO) and the Washington-based International Labour Rights Education and Research Fund (ILRERF) have announced that they would file separate petitions against the Malaysian Government to get its GSP privileges withdrawn on the following grounds:
• WORKERS in electronic companies did not have the right of association;
• ALTHOUGH workers could strike, the dispute was often referred to the Industrial Court “at the last minute”; and
• THE absence of a minimum wage for a large number of workers.
Harris Solid State case best example of denial of human right of workers to organise
The Harris Solid-State Workers’ Union case is the best example of the Government allowing the human rights of workers to be flouted by the employers with impunity, even where the workers have followed the Government’s guideline to form an in-house union.
The Human Resources Minister, Datuk Lim Ah Lek, has been completely helpless when the Harris Solid State employer harassed and victimised union officials, and avoided its responsibility to recognise the in-house union by forming a new company, Harris Advanced Technology, to re-employ all the workers.
There is an urgent need for the Barisan Nasional to reform its labour laws to restore to Malaysian workers their basic and fundamental rights, which would also remove the basis for these two US labour organisations to submit a second petition for the removal of GSP privileges for Malaysia.