1991 MAY DAY Message by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang
Workers must make their voice heard that the caring society they want is one which cares for the poor and downtrodden and not one which cares for rich and privileged
While Malaysian workers celebrate the 1991 May Day, they should make their voice heard that the caring society they want is one which cares for the poor and downtrodden and not one which cares for the rich and privileged.
While focusing on the traditional issues of workers’ rights and unions’ role in national development, all workers must also concern themselves with the larger issues of justice and equality for every person in Malaysia.
Today’s press reports of an unemployed woman from Sungai Way, A.Chellama, who was jailed 43 days by the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s court for stealing six crabs worth $11.25 in front of a shop in Kampung Medan in March this year. (New Straits Times, front page). She was also jailed another for failing to produce her identity card to the police at the time of the theft.
In mitigation, Chellama said she stole the crabs because she saw them in front of the shop and had urge to eat the crabs. She added that she had not eaten crabs for a long time.
If Malaysians is a caring society, would A.Chellama be jailed for 43 days for stealing six crabs worth $11.25. We see around us the rich, privileged and influential who had cheated and swindled the poor and the low income of millions of ringgit of their hard earning savings, but who continue to move around high levels of society with impunity.
A.Chellama had committed an offence, and she must be sentenced, but there is something very wrong with our society which could send her to jail for 43 days for stealing six crabs worth $11.25 while white-collar millionaire criminals could go scotfree or get off very lightly for their criminal breach of trust and other crimes.
May Day is celebrated by workers to symbolise their struggle for justice and equality, and the recognition of workers’ contribution to the nation’s development. It would make the 1991 May Day in Malaysia more significant if all workers in Malaysia could broaden the meaning of May Day to represent the struggle for justice and equality for the entire society so that it be enjoyed by every Malaysian.