Challenge to Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to declare his stand on his lack of funds, power and responsibility to help the 900,000 new villagers in Malaysia

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at a DAP Public Rally at Pagoh, Johore, on Saturday, 19th August 1972 at 9 p.m.

Challenge to Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to declare his stand on his lack of funds, power and responsibility to help the 900,000 new villagers in Malaysia

Last Tuesday in Parliament, I asked the Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, for the total money that has been spent by Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, in his capacity as Minister of Special Functions in charge of new villages, in the last six months in his work to uplift the socio-economic standards of living of the 900,000 new villagers in the country.

The Prime Minister’s reply to my question and other supplementary questions have at least exposed not only the insincerity of the Alliance Government to genuinely help the new villagers, but that Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is just a propaganda puppet of the Government to mislead the new villagers.

Tun Abdul Razak said that in the first six months of this year, Dr. Lim’s Ministry had spent a total of $60,500. He had a staff of eleven. It is clear that this $60,500 was just enough to pay the Minister’s salary and the salaries of the 11-strong office.

There is not a cent for the development of any new village, not a cent to help the economic upliftment of the 400 odd new villagers in the country, not a cent to concentrate government efforts to create jobs, build homes and grant land to the 900,000 new villagers in the country, who had for the last 20 years been ignored and neglected by the government.

With this pitiful sum for Dr. Lim Keng Yaik’s Ministry, not a single one of the 900,000 new villagers will benefits; and not a single village of the 400-odd new villagers in the country will have anything to gain. Only 12 persons will benefit. They are Dr. Lim Keng Yaik himself, who has the name and title of a Minister without the substance, and his eleven-strong staff. Nobody else in the country gains!

This is indeed a shameful way to treat the long-standing problem of the poverty, suffering and backwardness of the 900,000 new villagers, who for the last 20 years had been excluded from the mainstream of the country’s economic and social development.

It is clear from Tun Abdul Razak’s answers in Parliament that Dr. Lim not only has no funds for the new villagers, he has no power or responsibility either.

Thus, the Prime Minister said that Dr. Lim has no power to direct other Ministries or Departments, let alone State Governments, to plan the economic development of new villagers, or to grant them land, build them houses, and find them jobs.

When I asked the Prime Minister whether Dr. Lim was drawing up a master-plan or a blueprint for the upliftment of the 900,000 new villagers, the Prime Minister replied curtly that this was not Dr. Lim’s responsibility at all.

Dr. Lim, however, had in the past few months been announcing during his endless visits to new villagers, which were fully publicized by the television, radio, and press, that he was in the advanced stage of preparing a blue- print for the new villager development and save the future of the 900,000 new villagers.

From the Prime Minister’s clarification in Parliament, it is now clear that Dr. Lim was merely making empty propaganda.

The people and the 900,000 new villagers have a right to expect Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to declare his stand on the Prime Minister’s statement, that he has no funds for new village development, no powers and even no responsibility concerning new village matters.

In April this year, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, during his tour of the new villages in Batu Gajah, declared that if he could not get the Cabinet to release funds for new village development, he would resign from the Cabinet.

The people and the new villagers are now waiting for Dr. Lim’s stand.

Is he prepared to resign from the Cabinet, as he is no more than an Alliance stooge to make propaganda to mislead the new villagers that they are being looked after, or is he prepared to continue to be a Cabinet Postman, without funds, powers or responsibilities for new village development, and continue to collect gaji buta like the Minister for National Unity, Tun V. T. Sambanthan.