DAP calls for the withdrawal of the Printing Presses and Publication Bill from second reading to enable a nation-wide debate to be held first

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP SEA Park Branch Anniversary Dinner held at Chan Kee Restaurant, Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 22.3.1984 at 8 p.m.

DAP calls for the withdrawal of the Printing Presses and Publication Bill from second reading to enable a nation-wide debate to be held first

The Printing Presses and Publications Bill 1984, which is expected to be tabled for second reading and passage by the Dewan Rakyat next week, will arm the Government with even greater authoritarian powers to restrict freedom of speech, expression and the press.

It is not just a consolidation of the Printing Presses Act 1948 and the Control of Imported Publications Act 1958, for it went very much further than these two pieces of legislation in giving the government new powers to control, regulate and manipulate information, ideas and opinions.

The Printing Presses and Publications Bill 1984 is in fact the most important legislative proposal in the current Parliamentary meeting, for it goes to the very root of defining the very type of society we want to have: an open, liberal and democratic society or a closed, restrictive and authoritarian one.

For this reason, the government must allow the fullest and freest national debate on the Printing Presses and Publications Bill 1984 before it is debated and decided by Parliament, so as to give Members of Parliament an opportunity to get a national feedback on the Bill first.

The Printing Presses and Publications Bill has taken recent political tendencies to centralise ever greater power in the hands of the Executive at the expense of both Parliament and the Judiciary to a even higher level.

Thus, under the proposed Section 7, the Minister would have virtually untrammelled powers, which could not be checked at all, to decide on whether any publication, local or imported, should be banned on the vague ground of ‘public interest or national interest’ – which could had often been equated with party interest or the interest of individ top personalities in the government.

Again, Section 24 barred legal proceedings for any loss or damage for any seizure, detention or confiscation under the Act.

The Bill not only perpetuated the provision which required annual licensing of newspapers, the most effective weapon to keep the newspapers in line, but to allow the Minister to give licences for periods shorter than one year, as is provided in the proposed section 12.

The Printing Presses and Publications 1984 is a complete contradiction of the 2M government’s pledge for an open, liberal and tolerant society. I call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, not to use its majority in Parliament to ram through the Bill, but to allow a free and full national debate on it first.

When will MPs get Mid-Term Review Report

The Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, is to present a motion in Parliament asking for the adoption of the Mid-Term Review Report on the Fourth Malaysia Plan on Thursday, 29th March 1984. But up till now, the MPs have no indication when they would get a copy of the report. The government had to use the entire government resources and over a year to prepare the report, the and as a minimum, MPs should be given a week to study the Report before debate in Parliament. If Parliament is regarded merely as a rubber-stamp chamber to give approval to whatever is brought before the House, then there would be no need for MPs to study the Mid-Term Review Report or any Bill. I call on the government to give MPs ample time to study the Mid-Term Review Report before debate.

International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1966

On 16 December 1966, the United Nations General Assembly, by 106 votes to none adopted the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1966 under which each State Party undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within it’s territory and subject to it’s jurisdiction the rights recognized in the Covenant without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Among the rights recognized in the Covenant are the right of all peoples to self-determination; the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of civil and political rights; the right to life; protection from torture and from cruelty; inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; protection from slavery; the right to liberty and security of person; the right, when deprived of liberty, to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person; the right to liberty of movement within the territory of a State; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to hold opinions without interference; the right of peaceful assembly; the right to freedom of association; the right to protection of the family and children and the right for the protection of minorities. Continue reading International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1966

Democratisation of Malaysian life

From the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Royal Address, we are confirmed in our belief that the government has not come to grips with the basic political, economic, social, cultural and educational problems in the country, which is today the burning issue for the people of Malaysia.

We continue blindly, in our political, economic, social, cultural and educational policies to drift towards national perdition.

There is no vision of a great Malaysia tomorrow. There is only pretty pre-occupation with the tools of power today. Continue reading Democratisation of Malaysian life

Letter regarding the DAP-Gerakan Cultural Debate Venue


The Editor,
Eastern Sun,
Jalan Sultan,
Kuala Lumpur.

Dear Sir,

I refer to a letter by one ‘Malaysian’, which appeared in today’s Eastern Sun, 21.11.68 accusing me of trying to withdraw from the DAP-Gerakan cultural debate over the dispute over the venue.

If ‘Malaysian’ had read the Eastern Sun of Nov. 13, he would not have written such a misinformed and unfounded letter.

In the Nov. 13 report, the Eastern Sun reported me as saying:

“As Dr. Naguib Alattas insists on the MARA auditorium, I am perfectly agreeable.”

The MARA Auditorium was always acceptable to me. I had latterly suggested the Chinese Assembly Hall because I discovered that the Hall had three times the capacity as the MARA Auditorium, which could house less than 500 people.

I had thought that Dr. Syed Naguib Alatas, being the learned scholar that he is, would want more people to hear his words of wisdom and learning.

The DAP has agreed in toto to the procedures for the debate suggested by the proposed Chairman, Mr. D.R. Seenivasagam. It is now left to the Gerakan to agree, and then to wait for Nov. 24, for the two parties to explain their respective cultural policies.

Yours sincerely,

Lim Kit Siang
(Organising Secretary)
Democratic Action Party

Audited on 2021-03-17

Press Statement to Bernama on FAMA Fish Marketing Board Scheme

Press Statement to Bernama (31.10.68)

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today urged the FAMA Chairman, Senatar Ghaffar bin Baba, to explain clearly to the public how the proposed FAMA Fish Marketing Board scheme would benefit the fishmongers, the fishermen and the consumers.

Mr. Lim said that unless the FAMA could do this, it should withdraw the fish marketing board scheme even without an inquiry. He warned that it would be very costly to experiment with an item like fish, which perishes easily.

Mr. Lim added: “As the proposed FAMA scheme stands, its implementation will disrupt the fish trade, and cause untold hardships to the wholesales, retailers and the fishmongers, and raise the price of fish for the consumers.

“The FAMA must explain clearly the benefit of the scheme to the fish industry and the public or its silence must be regarded as inability to produce reasons.

“The extension of the one-month period for the closing of objections to the scheme which was announced by Senator Baba yesterday is inadequate. There are many interested persons in the country who still have not got the objection forms, or ample opportunity to study the proposed scheme. This is why we had asked for a two-month extension.”

The DAP Deputy Secretary-General, Daing Ibrahim bin Othman, has urged the government to suspend the implementation of the new regulation lowering the retiring age of civil servants from 60 to 55.

He said the bringing into force of the regulation tomorrow will create havoc to the life of 170,000 officers who will be affected.

Daing Ibrahim said these officers had served the government faithfully, and had looked forward to another five years of active service. They had also planned their next five years in this anticipation, committing themselves to housing loans, children’s education, and other involvements.

To retire them now, or even after six months’ grace, will be cause great hardship.

Daing Ibrahim suggested that the regulation should come into force only five years from now, so that no government officer will suffer any loss through no fault of his own.

Audited on 2021-03-05

Lim Kit Siang replies to Mr. S.K.Lau, Political Secretary to the Minister of Local Government and Housing

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today (11.10.68) issued the following statement:

Mr. S.K. Lau’s long statement did not invalidate my calculation that at the building rate of the Ministry of Housing in its first four years of 1,500 units annually, it will take the Ministry 200 years just to clear the backlog of present housing needs.

Mr. S.K.Lau does not dispute this. All he did was to state that his Ministry built 6,301 in its first four years, from 1964 to 1967, and not in the first five years, from 1964 to 1968. Mr. Lau is right. Otherwise, at the average of 1,200 a year, the Housing Ministry will take close to 300 years to clear the backlog.

Mr. Lau does not disagree with my conservative estimate that the present back-log of housing needs is 330,000 units. How can Mr. Lau say that my calculation is ‘ridiculous and misleading’? Any Standard Six student will be able to tell Mr. Lau that 330,000 units divided by 1,500 units a year is more than 200 years!

I said in my statement before that if the building rate is increased to 10,000 a year, which the Alliance claim they are now doing, the Alliance will take over 30 years just to clear the backlog. But what of the population increase? What of the rural housing need as we are only considering the urban housing need?

Apparently, the government does not know whether in the first four years, it has completed 6,301 housing units. The Housing Minister, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, gave the figure of 6,301 units in Parliament six weeks ago as units completed or expected to be completed by 1967. This is a ridiculous situation, when the Minister does not know in August 1968 how many houses have been completed by the end of 1967.

This is what I mean when I say that Mr. Khaw should spend more time in his Ministry instead of competing with his Cabinet colleagues as to who is a most-travelled Minister at public expense.

In 1965, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh complained that there was no national housing survey for his Ministry to formulate its housing plans. Today, four years after we are still without a national housing plan. Why? Again, if only Mr. Khaw Khai Boh had the imagination and industry to initiate a national housing plan, we will know more about our housing problems. But Mr. Khow is not interested in this. Mr. Lau will probably tell us that his Minister is more interested in conducting an international housing survey personally.

Mr. Lau accused the DAP of drawing inspiration from Singapore just because I suggested that Mr. Khaw and his Ministry officials could learn more from Singapore housing achievement instead of going frequently to exotic places like Paris.

I am not ashamed to admit that I admire Singapore’s housing achievement. The world admires it. I also confess that I admire the incorruptibility of the Singapore administration, which is also shared by the whole world. But Mr. Lau, Mr. Khaw and his Alliance colleagues don’t. This probably explains why there are so little housing activity by Mr Khaw, and so much corruption in Malaysia.

Mr. Lau claimed that Singapore conditions are not very relevant to Malaysian conditions. Of course, Mr. Lau believes that Parisian conditions are more relevant to Malaysian conditions. After all, Mr. Lau expects to visit Paris in the footsteps of his Minister.

Any objective observer of the housing record of Mr. Khaw Khai Boh will agree that Mr. Khaw has failed to solve the housing problem in Malaysia.

We in the DAP call for a stepped-up rate of low-cost housing building, to provide houses for the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who don’t have decent homes and shelter.

Let us have some dynamism, planning and action, and less words, or overseas pleasure trips.

Secondly, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing should launch a national housing survey, to find out the national housing needs.

In the Chinese press, Mr. Lau resorted to some character assassination, by implying that I do not know Mandarin or Chinese. My challenge to Mr. Lau’s MCA President, Tun Tan Siew Sin, Vice President Tan Sri Dr. Lim Swee Aun, or even to his own Minister, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, to debate in Mandarin, on any subject, at any place and any time, still stands.

Audited on 2021-03-05

The fiction of one-man one-vote in Malaysia

Talk by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, to the First DAP Selangor State Political and Elections Symposium held at Setapak DAP Branch premises on Sunday, August 4 at 9 p.m.

Although Malaysia claims to be operating under the democratic system of one-man one-vote, this is more a fiction than a fact.

The present electoral system denies equal political rights to citizens of Malaysia, and is calculated to entrench the power of the UMNO in the country.

From the 1966 revised electoral figures, we notice the extreme case where Bungsar constituency has 69,021 voters, while Syed Jaffar Albar’s Johore Tenggara seat has only 11,735 voters. In other words, one voter in Johore Tenggara exercises the same influence of electing one M.P. as six Bungsar voters. This is not one-man one-vote system, but one-Johore-Tenggara-man six-Bungsar-vote system. Continue reading The fiction of one-man one-vote in Malaysia

National clemency movement to save the 13 condemned

Statement by DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Press Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, August 2, 1968 at 3.30 p.m. on the national clemency movement to save the 13 condemned

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians feel a personal sorrow and grief when they learn of the rejection of the Tunku’s appeal for clemency on behalf of the 13 condemned youths by the Sultan of Johore and the Perak Pardons Board.

The hope the Tunku’s appeal for clemency had raised for the 13 condemned has now been snuffed out, as the authorities seem bent on a speedy execution of the 13 condemned.

There appears to be an indecent haste to carry out the executions before the Parliament meets on August 19.

This is a great tragedy, not only for the 13 youths, but for the Malaysian nation. The authorities seem determined to prove to the world that they are deaf to national and international appeals for mercy, and that we are a nation without compassion and humanity.

If a referendum is held now, we are convinced that the majority of Malaysians, of all races, religion and classes, will vote for the reprieve of the death sentence for the 13.

It has been said that justice should take its course. But it is justice that is being denied its course. For justice dictates that youths who were misled during their teens should be given another chance to reform. Justice further demands that when leaders like Inche Ahmad Boestaman, who had been described by an Alliance Minister in the Dewan Ra’ayat as having “conspired with enemies of the State”, are freed and even given scholarships to study law in England, pawns like the 13 youths who have committed a lesser offence should not get a heavier penalty.

It is obvious to observant Malaysians that it is the Mentri Besar of Johore who is responsible for the recent rejection of appeals.

The Sultan of Perak and the Perak Pardons Board would probably have pardoned the two youths, if not for the inflexible attitude of the Johore Mentri Besar.

One consideration which must have influenced the Board is that if the two youths are pardoned, after the rejection of the clemency plea for the 11 in Johore, a communal coloration will be injected into the issue.

The very fact that the Perak Pardons Board met for three hours showed that they had studied the issue at length.

We regret however, that the Perak Pardons Board had not been able to put humanity and compassion above all considerations.

The authorities have shown utter contempt and disregard for the deep wishes of the people.

We still pray that the authorities will be able to change their mind at the last minute.

Sponsors of the national signature campaign are considering various possibilities of trying to reach the authorities, and influence them to change their minds.

One way is for a national mercy march by Malaysians of all races and religion to Johore Bahru and Ipoh to petition for clemency, and allow the people to show the depth and intensity of their feelings.

We are fully aware that past demonstrations have gone out of control, and been misused. If a mercy march is launched, it must be orderly, peaceful and disciplined. Only those who subscribe to peaceful democratic means of public expression will be allowed to take part in the march. All participants will also have to subscribe to a code of conduct.

For such a mercy march to be successful, however, Malaysians of all races, religion and walk of life must respond.

Sponsors of the national campaign for mercy will be getting in touch with civic, trade union and political organisations to seek their views to consider ways to move the campaign onto another level of appeal.

We again pray that the authorities will heed public wishes.

The eyes of the world are watching us to see how we act on this issue. Let us show the world that we have the human feeling to forgive and care for fellow human beings.

Audited on 2021-04-05

DAP will contest in Sitiawan in the next GE

Press Release

The Democratic Action Party will contest in Sitiawan in the next general elections  the DAP Organising Secretary, Mr Lim Kit Siang, said last night.

Mr. Lim, who was speaking at a DAP meeting at Pekan Gurney, urged DAP members and supporters to work hard to return a DAP Member of Parliament for Sitiawan in the next Parliament.

Over 400 villagers from the surrounding areas attended the meeting.

Mr Lim said he was confident that the people of Sitiwan, like Malaysians in other constituencies, are utterly fed up with the yes-men in the Parliament and the State Assemblies.

He said: “The people want true representatives of the ordinary men and women, who can fearlessly speak up for the people’s rights and interests, and put public service before self-interests.

“The people of Sitiawan can join large numbers of Malaysians elsewhere to bring about change and progress in Malaysia by sweeping out Alliance and the MCA politicians in the next elections, and bring into Parliament a band of sincere, dedicated and honest politicians with a mission to bring justice and equality to the nation.”

Mr. Lim criticized the Alliance government for neglecting the problems of the people.

He said: “The disastrous drop in the price of rubber for over a year has broken the rice bowls of thousands of tappers, workers and farmers.

“One way to help them will be to give them land to cultivate other crops. All Malaysian landless, regardless of their race, should be given a plot of land to eke out a living, as there are still vast stretches of virgin land in Malaysia.

“But the Alliance is not only failing to do this, it is in fact going out of its way to cause more misery and hardships to the people.

“In Sitiawan, there are about 500 families who had been cultivating land without title for 20 years. Now they have been asked to quit by June 30.

“The total number of people who will be affected by this heartless and cruel action will be in the region of 3,000 people.

“Legally speaking, these farmers had farmed illegally. But this problem must be regarded primarily as a social problem and not in the category of thefts, robberies, kidnappings and other illegal and criminal activities.

“The best solution will be to regularise the position of these farmers, not by evicting them, but by giving them permanent titles.

“A government with a social conscience will do this. Representatives of the people, whether at the Parliament or State Assembly level, who have a social conscience, will fight for this.

“This is because a government exists to serve the people, and not to harrass and hound the people.

“We hope the Alliance government will seriously re-consider this matter, and work out a solution which will cause least hardship and suffering to the ordinary people.”

Audited on 2021-03-17