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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38 No. 22. September 11, 1975

News from Malaysia & Singapore — 5-9-75 (Far Eastern Economic Review)

page 8

News from Malaysia & Singapore

5-9-75 (Far Eastern Economic Review)

Photo of a Malaysian war memorial

The Bombing of the National Monument

Guerillas bombed Malaysia's National Monument early in the morning of August 26. The National Monument which cost M$ 1.2 million (US$512,800) and designed by American sculptor Felix de Weldon (who was also responsible for the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington), was badly damaged.

Criticism has been levelled at the seven figures created by de Weldon on the grounds that the five soldiers and two terrorists in the group resembled orang puteh (white men) rather than Malaysians, people in Kuala Lumpur have also found the grand heroic posture a little embarrassing.


Razaleigh Briefs British Brokers on That Deal

Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh briefed a group of British stockbrokers on government policies on foreign investment in Malaysia.

He told newsmen that the group wanted to clarify doubts over Malaysia's attitude towards foreign investors arising out of the Pernas Securities - Haw Par share swap transaction.

They also wanted to know of Petronas' functions and activities.'

He added that the group was 'quite happy' with his clarification on the various issues. He declined to elaborate. (NB - No doubt the group was 'quite happy' with the guarantee of tremendous profits through incentives, cheap labour, industrial repressive laws on workers, infrastructures, etc).


Over-dependence on Rubber

Tun Razak said, 'We all know that nearly half of the people in this country are involved in rubber production and a one-cent drop in the price will cause the country to lose about $25 million a year in foreign exchange.' (NB - This brings up the question of why Malaysia's economy depends solely on cash crops and natural resources of which over 60% is foreign owned Isn't it this essentially a neo-colonial position?)


Health Minister Admits Corruption in His Ministry

Malaysian Health Minister Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew said that he was aware of a racket selling and buying government supplied DDT. The DDT was for use in the malaria eradication programme. 'We understand that in certain areas part of the DDT supplied is being sold to some people who use the insecticide as a weed killer. The DDT is sold at about $2 a gallon when it costs the government $10 a gallon.'

He said certain staff in his Ministry and in certain local authorities were involved in the racket.


Former Minister of State on Corruption Trial

Minister of State with the Environment Ministry (Singapore), Wee Toon Boon faces five charges of corruption. The trial began with an account of how he allegedly used his influence as Minister of State to help a businessman.

Wee was alleged with intervention to obtain permanent residence for an Indonesian Chinese businessman Lauw Tiin Ho and his family and had 107 graves exhumed to make way for Laus's housing project at Jalan Binchang.

The Court also heard that Wee helped Lauw to obtain planning approval and a developer's licence to go ahead with the project before the government announcement of its policy of promoting condominium housing could make things difficult.

The prosecution alleged that Wee accepted a bungalow which, together with the land on which it stands, was estimated to be worth $532,000 in 1973, as a gift from Lauw for all his help to the businessman and his family.


Asean Chambers of Commerce and Industry hold 2nd Conference

Delegates from Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia participated in the 2nd conference" of Asea Chambers of Commerce and Industry held in Kuala Lumpur on July 19 and 20.

The Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Razaleigh Hamzah who is the chairman of the conference stressed that in their dealing with developed countries, the Asean countries have been getting the worst of it. While producers' prices have been going up and down, prices of manufactured goods from developed countries have risen inexorably. Therefore, he said, the Asean countries should be united and adopt a unanimous policy to control their natural resources to ensure reasonable prices. He pointed out that the immediate objective of the five nation Association of South-East Asian nations should be the formation of an Asean free trade area leading ultimately to the creation of an Asean common market.


Penang Umno May get New Leader

Penang Umno may soon get a new state liaison officer in place of Datuk Syed Hassan Aidid.

According to an Umno source, all the nine divisional leaders have signed a petition addressed to the party's national president. Tun Razak requesting a new state liaison officer be appointed 'as soon as possible.'

A high party official said the divisions were 'disillusioned' with Datuk Syed Hassan's leadership, especially with regard to the slow economic progress of the Malays in Penang and the uprooting of Malay families from new developing areas.


Malaysia Plans for National Service: Razak

Malaysia plans to introduce national service in the future. Tun Abdul Razak announced today.

The Prime Minister added that the scheme could not be implemented within the next year or two due to the present economic situation.


Jobs Freeze to Cut Spending

K.L. - The Government ordered today a job freeze on existing and new vacancies in government, statutory bodies and public corporations to cut back expenditure.

Jobs can only be filled with the specific approval of the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.

The ruling followed a meeting between Tun Abdul Razak, Datuk Hussein Onn and the chairman of statutory bodies and public corporations at the Prime Minister's Operations Room today.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said the action was due to the government's serious concern over the country's financial and economic situation.