DAP welcomes decisive vote for East Timor independence and calls for the immediate dispatch of UN peace-keeping force to maintain security, law and order until implementation of independence vote

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): DAP welcomes the decisive vote for independence of East Timor and calls for the immediate dispatch of United Nations peace-keeping force to maintain security, law and order until the implementation of the independence vote.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced that an overwhelming 78.5 per cent of the East Timor voters rejected  wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia and opted for independence.

DAP also applauds the Indonesian President B.J. Habibie who in a televised statement broadcast nationwide today expressed his government's acceptance of East Timor's overwhelming vote for independence and that  the August 30 ballot in East Timor had reflected "the conscience of our brothers and sisters in East Timor".

What is of immediate concern is the week-long rampage by anti-independence militiamen across the territory, forcing U.N. monitors to withdraw from towns outside East Timor's capital.

Yesterday,  U.N. group of 54 international police officers and local staff fled Maliana, outside Dili,  as mobs of anti-independence activists seized effective control of the town with the Indonesian police doing nothing to stop the violence.

About 20 houses in Maliana were reported burning, and pro- Indonesian militia members set fire to 20 to 30 houses in the town of Likita as well.

The Indonesian authorities have failed to provide protection for members of the United Nations mission -- dubbed UNAMET which conducted the referendum. The UN mission members say they can no longer protect themselves, much less the refugees who have flocked to their headquarters in Dili to seek shelter. Four U.N. staff members have died since Monday and another six remained missing.

DAP calls on the Malaysian Government to recognise the result of the East Timor referendum and to support the transition process towards East Timor independence, including the sending of troops as part of the UN peace-keeping force to maintain security, law and order until full East Timorese independence.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong