Land for the landless

Speech by DAP Candidates for Serdang State By-election, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, who is also DAP Organising Secretary, at the second DAP Serdang by-election public rally held at Puchong 14 milestone on Friday, 6th December 1968 at 8 p.m.

On December 1, 1968, at the first DAP Serdang by-election public rally, I made a pledge on behalf of the DAP – known as the DAP’s Serdang Twenty Points – which spelt out the social, economic and cultural objectives the DAP will strive for the benefit of the people.

Point One of the Serdang Twenty Points called for “Land to be given to all landless, regardless of race. The only yardstick should be need.”

Malaysia has vast tracts of arable land which have not been opened up. But with every passing year, the problem of unemployment and underemployment intensifies, while the army of landless multiplies.

One major way to solve the problem of unemployment and underemployment in a land-rich country like Malaysia is to give land to the landless, which will have three beneficial results, in (1) strengthening Malaysia’s agricultural base; (2) earn more national income for the country; and (3) provide work and a means of livelihood for the thousands of landless and unemployed.

But did the Alliance do this? No!

The basic reason is because the Alliance government does not accept the concept of Malaysian Malaysia, which recognises Malaysia as belonging to all Malaysians, regardless of race, and that all national property, including land, as belonging to all Malaysian citizens, regardless of race, and does not belong to any one particular community.

As land belongs to all Malaysians, it should be given to all Malaysians, regardless of race, solely on the question of need. All landless, whether Malay, Chinese or Indian, must be given land.

This is not done by the Alliance because it rejects the concept of equality and justice as embodied in Malaysian Malaysia.

This is one reason why no land had been allocated to the villagers in Serdang Bahru new village, although it had been established for 18 years, and its population had increased over ten-fold.

The same applies to all new villagers, including Sungei Way new village, although its population increased over twenty-fold in the last 17 years.

The Alliance does now and then release land for distribution, not because it wants to solve the problem of land hunger and landlessness, but to buy votes with the approach of elections.

This is why two days after I had announced the DAP’s Serdang Twenty Points, headed by the call for “Land to be given to all Landless”, Mr. Michael Chen, the M. P. for the area, rushed to Puchong 14 m.s. to announce that 450 pieces of land would be allocated for the building of houses.

We are not opposed to the allocation of land to the people. We support it at all times, and its importance is to be seen from the fact that it is the first of our Serdang Twenty Points.

But we want to ask Mr. Michael Chen and the Alliance: Why wasn’t the land distributed in the four years when he was M. P. before the present by-election? Isn’t the present allocation of land purely a by-election stunt to buy votes?

Alliance by-election workers are going around telling the voters that if they do not support the Alliance, they won’t be given land, or they would have their land withdrawn.

I ask Mr. Michael Chen to make a forthright statement as to whether he had instructed the Alliance election workers to try to buy votes with promises of land, or the threat of withdrawal of land.

Land belong to all Malaysians, and does not belong to Mr. Michael Chen, Tun Abdul Razak or the Alliance.

All landless of Malaysia have a right to land, and there is no need for them to feel obliged to the government for it, as this is what a government is paid by the public to do.

The Alliance government is guilty of gross abuse of power in using land as an election weapon.

I invite the Alliance candidate, Mr. Phang Phaik Fook, who claims that he has the welfare of the people at heart, to answer the following seven questions:

(1) Does he agree that land is a national property, and does not belong to any particular group or community, but belongs to all Malaysian citizens regardless of race.

(2) Does he agree that land must be given to all Malaysian landless, not on the basis of race, but on the basis of need.

(3) Does he agree that it is wrong for any government to use land, a national and people’s property, to try to bribe and buy votes.

(4) Does he agree that everyone of those at Puchong 14 milestone who will be allocated land to build houses an December 10 is completely free to vote for any political party on December 28, and that they need not feel obliged to vote even for the Alliance because the distribution of land is something the government is paid by the taxpayers’ to do.

(5) Whether he agrees that the Alliance has completely failed to look after the needs of the landless and the villagers throughout the Serdang Constituency, whether in Serdang Bahru new village, Sungei Way new village, Salak South new village, Puchong, because to date no land has been distributed to the land-hungry, apart from the promised distribution 10th December.

(6) Whether he agrees that it is the responsibility of the State Government to look after the problem of the squatters, and to provide alternative land and accommodation for them before demolishing their illegal huts.

(7) Whether he would join the DAP in calling for the conversation of all Temporary Occupation Leases (T. O. L.) into permanent titles, or the provision of alternative land sites with permanent titles, so that the problem of insecurity and landlessness of hundreds of thousands of Malaysians in Selangor can be satisfactorily resolved.

Audited by: Joyce T. and Faiz M.