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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Volume 40, No. 5. 27 March 1977

News from Malaysia & Singapore

News from Malaysia & Singapore

'Wah Piow Campaign'

Britain has granted a student visa to Tan Wah Piow "as he qualifies under the Immigration Rules to remain here as a student", a letter from the Home Office said. "His stay has been extended for 12 months and it will be open to him to request a further extension at the end of this period."

When some Labour M.Ps met Merlyn Rees, the Home Secretary, on 11 th January, they were told that granting political asylum would only be a last resort.

The decision not to grant political asylum to Wah Piow did not come as a surprise considering British economic and political interest in Singapore and Malaysia. But to the extent that the Home Office considers it unsafe for Wah Piow to travel on his own passport, to that extent Britain recognises political persecution in Singapore.

The Singapore Government's response to the campaign is both naive and comical. It was first brought up in Singapore Parliament on 24th Nov that the authorities had informed the British of the 'forgery' of Wah Piow's passport, and "if the British decide to overlook this offence and we decide to ask for Tan's extradition, we shall request British co-operation." This threat fizzled into thin air when in January the British turned its back against Lee Kuan Yew by not only disregarding the allegation, but also endorsing Wah Piow's passport, thus certifying the authenticity of the document.

In fury, the Singapore Foreign Minister, Ra-jaratnam, accused the British supporters of the Wah Piow campaign as the "New Left" and told a public meeting that "the New Left says that they would not send him back. If he is a big asset, they can keep him."

Rajaratnam kept harping on Wah Piow's passport being forged and complained that not only the British Home Office extended his visa, but Bradford University had accepted him as a postgraduate student. In his outburst, Rajaratnam also chided the British press for giving "a lot of publicity to Tan" devoting only a few lines to the Singapore election.

6 Month Jail for Harun

Datuk Harun Idris was sentenced in the High Court to six months' jail for forgery and fined $15,000, or another 6 month's jail, for abetment in criminal breach of trust of nearly $6.5 million worth of stocks and shares belonging to Bank Rakyat.

In passing the sentence, the judge told Datuk Harun that he took into consideration the fact that Harun was "a leader who had held very high position and rendered valuable service to the country."

Datuk Harun, the former chief minister of Selangor was sentenced to 2 year imprisonment on three corruption charges involving a $250, 000 pay-off by Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in May last year.

For the same offences of forgery and criminal breach of trust, the bank's former managing director, Datuk Abu Mansor and its ex-general manager, Ismail Din, were sentenced to 2 years plus $25,000 and 1 year plus $15,000 respectively.

All three gave notice of appeal and were freed on bail of $100,000 each.

Meanwhile, the strongman of the Malaysian Chinese Association (M.C.A.) and State Assemblyman of Malacca, Datuk Tan Cheng Swee, was charged with three counts of corruption.

They had since pleaded not guilty in the High Court to all the charges.

Datuk Tan was alleged to have used his position and influence as the Commissioner of the Municipality to approve layout and building plans for a building company, Syarikat Almac Sendirian Berhad, in which he was a shareholder and executive chairman.

A joint trial of all four has been fixed for 20 days from April 11.

(Ref: New Straits Times 25.1.77)
New Straits Times 16.1.77)
New Straits Times 29.1.77)

Price Increase

For the last one month the prices of food items have soared:
Chicken from$1.80 a kati to $2.80
Pork (lean)$3.40 a kati to $4.00
Sausages$3.20 a kati to $4.00
Onion$0.70 a kati to $0.90
Chilli$1.30 a kati to $1.80
Fish30-40 cents increase

Village with boats next to water

This shows that inflation in Malaysia has not been controlled, and it affects in particular the lower income group.

Recently there was an acute shortage of kerosene in certain parts of the country. People literally have to queue to purchase kerosene.

An investigation on the shortage reveals that there are 3 factors: reduction in commission to dealers, oil companies requiring dealers to pay for transport costs between depots and shops and a 5% increase in kerosene consumption. Whatever extra expenses incurred will be pressed on to the consumers.

(Ref: NST 2.2.77)

Drug Situation Deteriorates

The drug situation in the country is deteriorating with the number of drug traffickers and addicts on the increase. Just last year, 101 pushers and 679 addicts were arrested in Perak alone. Available statistics shows that there were about 21,000 addicts in the country who needed immediate treatment although there were projections that up to 150,000 people were involved. The director of the Central Narcotics Bureau (C.N.B.) revealed that there were 3 underground laboratories processing morphine and opium in Peninsular Malaysia.

Presently, the Malaysian connections in the drug syndicate are not only confined to local circles but have also established International contacts. As a result, quite recently a series of arrests of young Malaysian drug couriers were made in some European capitals.