Call on Johore Government to convert all new village titles from 21-year titles to 99-year titles without additional fee

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP public rally at Chamak in Johore on Tuesday, 2nd May 1972 at 8 p.m.

Call on Johore Government to convert all new village titles from 21-year titles to 99-year titles without additional fee

The Minister of Special Functions in charge of new villages, Dr Lim Keng Yaik, has just made one of his characteristic visits to Johore new villages.

Apart from a lot of publicity, speeches, receptions, dinners, Dr.Lim Keng Yaik has not done a single thing to materially improve the socio-economic life of the 900,000 new villages in the country.

For the past few months, we see Dr. Lim making highly-publicised visits from one state to another and from one new village to another. But if we sit down to find out what are the concrete things he has done for the new villagers, we sadly find nothing.

That Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is a Minister without powers and money has been obvious from beginning. Now, even the MCA has admitted this. Only a few days ago, the MCA organ, the Guardian, asked the Government to give Dr. Lim Keng Yaik powers and money to look after the new villages.

Yet Dr. Lim would not himself personally admit the limitations as a Minister, that he has no powers and money to help new villagers. He keeps on giving the 900,000 new villagers the impression that he is their saviour.

The DAP, having been responsible in the first instance for building up pressure to force the government to stop its 20-year neglect of the socio-economic backwardness of the 900,000 new villagers by creating a special New Villages Ministry, will not allow the Alliance Government or Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to deceive the new villagers with empty promises.

The DAP will see to it that the Alliance Government and Dr. Lim, apart from making nice speeches and promises, really bring about the material upliftment of the socio-economic life of the 900,000 new villagers, or they will be mercilessly exposed.

Dr. Lim Keng Yaik has told the Johore new villagers not to worry about their 21-year titles, for these titles would be converted into 60-year leases on their expiry.

The people have learnt to their cost not to take Alliance promises at face value. Thus, for instance, in Batu Pahat, during the 1969 General Elections, the Alliance promised about 100 squatters families on State Land that if they vote the Alliance, they will not be evicted. On the other hand, if they vote the Opposition DAP candidate, they will be evicted and their houses demolished. Today, these 100 fishermen squatter families in Jalan Pantai in Batu Pahat are being evicted, although the Alliance State Assemblymen in the area was re-elected and elevated to the State Executive Council.

This Alliance State Executive Councilor not only did not lift a finger to fulfil his election pledge that the squatters would not be evicted, he has not even tried to secure for the squatters reasonable terms of eviction and compensation.

If the Alliance Government is sincere and genuine in its concern for the new villagers in Johore, and wants to give them security of title, then I call on the Johore State titles, whether expired or unexpired, into 99-year titles, without any additional fee.

If the Johore State Government does this, then we in the DAP will be the first to give praise to it.

Secondly, Johore is so rich with virgin land. Another very pressing problem is the land hunger of new villagers, as with a fixed land area and increasing population over the last 20 years, there is grave problem of landlessness.

I call on the Johore State Government to set aside 100,000 acres of land under the Second Malaysia Plan for Johore new villagers, so that they can look forward to a new economic future.

The question of land is entirely in the hands of the Johore State Government. It can implement both my proposals, if it is so-minded and sufficiently concerned about the plight of the new villagers of Johore, who for the last 20 years have been neglected by the Government.

Let Dr.Lim Keng Yaik state whether he dares to support both my proposals, or whether he is only empowered to receive memorandum from new villages and local councils, with no power to uplift new villages, no money to distribute to new villagers, and no right to speak up for new villages.