Speech by DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Ra’ayat on 9th February 1972 on the National Land Code (Penang and Malacca Titles) (Amendment) Bill.

Call on Government and Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to immediately give titles to all new villagers to the land they are occupying and to allocate 400000 acres of land to new villagers under Second Malaysia Plan

There are a dozen old new villagers in the State of Malacca, and they are all facing the problem common to new villagers in other States – namely land.

The new villagers are poor people with little means, and land is invariably their last means of eking out a living. It is their life-blood.

It is imperative that the government grant titles to titles to the new villagers for the land they occupy, at low premium, and easy-to-pay terms.

There is one new village in Malacca, the On Lok New Village, where there is one unusual and reprehensible attempt to exploit the new villagers. Because of the breakdown of administrative machinery in the collection of T.O.L. fees from the On Lok New Villagers for several years, partly I believe from the maladministration and failure of the local council, the new villagers had not paid their T.O.L fees for several years. They were now told by the District Officer of Jasin that if they want to continue to remain on their land, they must resume their T.O.L. payments, and pay up their T.O.L. arrears. This is reasonable. But they are also required to pay what is called a penalty fee, for their failure to pay promptly in the past, and this ranges from $100 to some cases $700.

This is virtual extortion, and a shameless exploitation of the weak and poor. I call on the Minister of Special Function on New Villages Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to look into this.

Dr. Lim has been appointed Minister in special charge for new villages for more than a month, but it would appear that the most pressing problem of new villagers – namely, land – has been side-stepped. He is doing a lot of traveling and getting a lot of publicity, which is good, provided he deliver the goods.

After more than a month in office, he should have been able to come out with some concrete programme about solving the land problem of the new villagers, not only in Malacca, but throughout the country.

He should immediately announce that all new villagers will be given titles for the land they now occupy, at low premiums and easy to pay terms, and get the Cabinet to agree to allocate 400000 acres of land for the 750000 new villagers for the next five years under the Second Malaysia Plan.

Dr. Lim need not go traveling as far as the land problem is involved. About social amenities, health facilities, and others, his visits would be useful. But before he get down to this, he should solve the first priority problem, – the need for land by the villagers, for titles at cheap rates. Before Dr. Lim became Minister, he was agitating in Perak for cheap premiums for Perak new villagers on acquiring title. It is surprising that after he has assumed office, he has done nothing about it. I hope he will not prove to be one of those ‘flashes in the pan’, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

As far as I know, Dr. Lim does not even have a Ministry physically. He has only his political secretary or probably personal staff. This is farcical, when considering the magnitude of the problem of 75000 new villagers – to get them fully involved in the mainstream of the country’s economic and social development after 20 years’ of neglect.