Lim Kit Siang replies to Mr. S.K. Lau, Political Secretary to the Minister of Local Government and Housing

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement (6.10.68):

Poor Mr. S.K. Lau. His boss, Mr. Khaw Khai Boh, must have sent him a rude and nasty letter from Mexico, where the Minister is enjoying the Olympic fun and games, for failing to defend him against my criticism of his housing record at a DAP public rally at Sungei Way two weeks ago.

Hence Mr. Lau’s belated defence of his boss’ housing achievement. Hence Mr. Lau’s disregard of facts and figures to prove to the Minister that he is worth his pay as his Political Secretary.

Mr. Lau accused me of not checking up the facts when I criticized Mr. Khaw for his dismal record in housing achievement during his four years as Minister of Housing.

Mr. Lau boasted that the Housing Ministry has done great things. He claimed that by the end of this year, the Ministry would have completed close to 10,000 housing units.

Poor Mr. Lau. Either he is really ignorant, or he is a great boaster.

It was Mr. Khaw Khai Boh himself who said at the last Parliament meeting only six weeks ago that by the end of this year, the total housing units his Ministry would have completed are 6,301 units.

How did Mr. Lau arrive at the figure of 10,000 units? Did Mr. Lau build the 4,000 housing units himself, without Mr. Khaw’s knowledge? We will like to know.

What surprises me is that Mr. Lau should feel proud at the record of 10,000 (granted that it is so) in four years!

In Singapore, over 1,000 units are built every month. In one year, over 12,000 units are completed. Mr. Khaw’s average is only 1,500 a year.

One would have thought that the best place Mr. Khaw and his housing planners and builders should visit and study housing techniques is Singapore. But Mr. Khaw prefer more exotic places like Paris.

To justify his trip to places like Paris, not only once, but a number of times, Mr. Khaw announced that he would introduce the new ‘industrialised housing’ technique, which Mr. Lau described as ‘lightning building plan.’

But the ‘lightning’ technique could only produce 1,500 units a year. It is in fact the ‘sailing boat’ technique.

The DAP stands by its charge that Mr. Khaw Khai Boh has failed completely to solve the housing problem in Malaysia. After four years as Housing Minister, he has not even begun to scratch the surface of the problem.

Mr. Khaw will contribute more to housing solution if he remains in Malaysia than going round the world with basketball teams and to the Mexico City for fun and games.

We estimate that about 60% of the urban population need re-housing in decent quarters. This works out to about 2 million people, and taking 6 persons an unit, about 330,000 housing units will be required.

At the present rate of 1,500 units a year, it will take 200 years to clear the back-log of present housing needs. Even if the rate is increased to 10,000 units a year, it will take 30 years.

But what about the rural population? What about the annual population increase of 3.3% a year, which works out to about 265,000 people a year?

The problem is staggering. The solution is pigmy.

To compensate and hide his dismal housing record, Mr. Khaw felt compelled to advertise every flat that he built as an Alliance achievement.

Hence the huge advertisement on the Circular Road low-cost housing scheme blaring the words, in four languages, “Another Alliance Govt. Low-Cost Housing Scheme.”

We are not opposed to the use of four languages. In fact, this is our objective. What we criticise is that when the Alliance and MCA want to get people’s votes, gain party advantage, they use four languages. But when it comes to people’s convenience, as in government notices, correspondences, circulars, only one language is used. Of course, as Mr. Lau pointed out, in income tax forms, there are explanatory notes in four languages. This is because the government wants money.

If the MCA and Alliance are consistent, we call on them to introduce multi-lingualism in all aspects of government department.

Mr. Lau ended his statement, casting doubt on my loyalty to Malaysia, because I cautioned the Alliance Government against using the Sabah issue for its party vote-getting ends.

All MCA leaders and potential candidates are worried about the next elections, because they face rejection by the electorate, who had enough of their incompetence, selfishness and greed.

The MCA candidates were saved in the 1964 general elections by the Indonesian Confrontation issue. The MCA therefore is looking for another issue which could play the role the Indonesian Confrontation did in 1964 general elections.

Many of them see in the Sabah issue the ideal substitute. Hence the attempt by some MCA quarters to work up the frenzy, hysteria and tension for their own party ends.

The DAP is fully behind the government against the Philippines action, but we warned that this issue must not be used by the Alliance for vote-getting purposes.

For saying this, Mr. Lau has accused me of disloyalty. How shallow, immature and irresponsible can Mr. Lau be?

Let me tell Mr. Lau and his like in the MCA and Alliance: Loyalty to the nation is not equivalent to sycophancy, subservience and toadying to the Alliance.

It is people like Mr. Lau who is doing the greatest disservice to Malaysia, because they want Malaysians to have only one mind, one thought and one voice – all unthinking pawns of the Alliance and MCA.

( Lim Kit Siang )
Organising Secretary

Audited by: Ernest W. & Kieran L. N.