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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

Fighting Foreign Control

Fighting Foreign Control

Last week's article on the planned activities against Comalco was the first contribution towards a regular CAFCINZ (Campaign Against Foreign Control in New Zealand) column in Salient. This week a CAFCINZ member has contributed an article on Soviet expansion in the Singpore region Next week's column will feature another contributed article on foreign exploitation of fish resources. CAFCINZ will be having a meeting on Thursday July 15, 7.30pm in the Boardroom in the Union - if you are interested in fighting foreign control come along.

Soviet Bank Outdistances Us Giant

Singapore lies at a strategic point at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The nearby Straits of Malacca and Singapore form the link between the two oceans. The British, who for a long time stationed a major naval force there, recognised the importance of Singapore's position on the world's sea lanes. Today Soviet warships bound for the Indian Ocean, and oil tankers carrying 90% of Japan's oil, travel through the nearby straits. Since the British announced their withdrawal East of Suez in 1968, the Soviet Union has stepped up its military and economic activity in the area.

The Asian branch of the Moscow Narody bank is based in Singapore. It was set up in 1971 ostensibly to help finance cast-west trade with modest assets of US$1.5 million. But the bank concentrated its activities on 'property development' and loan-sharking. By 1974 its assets totalled US$780 million. In earning assets it had been Singapore's no. 1 bank since 1973 and in total it was lending 14% of all funds extended by Singapore banks. In these activities it had left its main rival, and the giant US First National City Bank, for dead. The bank has built up strong links with the fascist ruling class. Its legal matters are handled by Lee and Lee, Singapore's most pretigious legal firm. One of the two Lees is Prime Minister Lee Kaun Yew's wife, the other is Lee Kaun Yew's brother. It is worth noting that according to Soviet sources, this same Singapore branch is also active in Malaysia, Thailand Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

The Soviets have set up a joint Soviet-Singaporean shipping company and have signed agreements giving them repair and servicing facilities for their fishing and merchant fleet vessels. Soviet ships are now visiting the port of Singapore at the rate of two a day. Their navy also visits Singapore and is reported to have gained the right of access to Singapore's main naval facility.

Soviet penetration of Singapore is spread over a wide range and as well as the above areas it is present in a number of others as well as developing cultural and scientific links.

Soviet activity is intensifying in the seas around Singapore. At the UN Law of the Sea Conference the Soviets are championing the 'right' of their warships to traverse the Straits of Singapore and Malacca unfettered in any way by the countries in whose territorial waters they lie. Soviet activity in Malaysia and Indonesia, the two major countries involved in the straits question, has been stepped up.

For example, both countries are receiving increased Soviet 'aid' for projects such as developing hydro resources. In a despicable attempt to curry favour with the Indonesian regime the Soviets have willing sold out the East Timorese people fighting Indonesian occupation.

These examples of Soviet imperialism in the Singapore region demonstrate its ability to develop its economic, military and political presence both quickly and extensively where it considers it necessary. They also demonstrate that the Soviet Union is no different from any other imperialist power in its blatant exploitation of a third world people.

- by Bruce Robinson

Aerial image view of apartment buildings in Singapore

High rise apartment buildings in Singapore; an indication of a fast expanding economy