by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, January 6, 1995:
Public Invitation to Deputy Land and Co-operatives Minister, Khalid Yunus to attend the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to prove that State Governments had not abused the Land Acquisition Act
I publicly invite the Deputy Minister for Land and Co-operatives, Datuk Khalid Yunus to attend the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices at the Federal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to prove that state government had not abused the land acquisition law and made the smallholders adversely affected by land acquisition ‘victims of development’ instead of ‘partners’ in the development of their land.
Khalid Yunus’ presence at the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices should be particularly educational and beneficial for the Deputy Land Minister as he would be able to meet and find out from the smallholders affected by land acquisitions by various state governments why they are demanding for an end to land acquisition abuses and injustices – whether by smallholders from Gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang in the Second Johore-Singapore Crossing and Second Johore Bahru Township project, the Seremban II township project, the Malacca Paya Mengkuang pig-rearing centre, the Kerpan farmers in Kedah affected by the mammoth tiger prawn project involving a Saudi Arabian company, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport project, etc.
Khalid Yunus does not seem to know that the Federal Government had made specific promises before enacting the Land Acquisition Amendment Act in 1991 to protect the smallholders from land acquisition abuses and injustices and that such promises had not been honoured.
I can assure Khalid Yunus that he would be treated with full courtesy and civility when he attends the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices, as the participants of the Conference from all over the country are law-abiding Malaysians who only want justice and fair play.
Khalid Yunus can bring whatever government officials he want, whether from his Ministry of Land and Co-operatives or from the various state governments.
Better still, Khalid Yunus should ask the various State Mentri Besars to accompany him to the Conference so that, for instance, the Negeri Sembilan Mentri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa could give a direct response to the demands for justice from the smallholders adversely affected by Seremban II project, or the Johore Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhyideen Yassin could give a more satisfactory answer to the smallholders in Gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang with regard to the Second Crossing and Second Johore Bahru township projects.
Khalid Yunus has unfairly accused the Opposition, and in particular the DAP, of ‘politicising’ the land acquisition issue.
The DAP has no intention of ‘politicising’ the land acquisition issue unless taking a stand against injustices is to be equated with ‘politicising’ an issue.
If this is Khalid Yunus’s concern, then he should all the more accept this public invitation to attend the National Conference on Sunday to ‘de-politicise’ the issue and meet with the victims of arbitrary, inequitable and unfair land acquisitions to find out the nature of the land acquisition abuses and injustices since the passage of the Land Acquisition Amendment Act three years ago.
The Conference organizers will give Khalid Yunus a special place of honour on the stage of the Conference for the overriding purpose of the Conference is not to have a confrontation with Government leaders, but to find ways and means to end the Land Acquisition Act abuses and injustices and to ensure that the smallholders stop being ‘victims of development’ but become full partners in the development of their land.