Message by DAP SecretaryGeneral and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, for the National New Village Week launched by the DAP National New Village Sub – Committee from Sept. 24 – Oct. 1, 1972
DAP calls for a New Economic Policy for the 900,000 New villagers to fully integrate them into the Mainstream of social and economic development of the country
I must commend the DAP National New Village Sub-Committee for its initiative and imagination in organizing this National New Village Week from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, 1972 as another step in the long struggle to champion the cause of the 900,000 new villagers in the country.
It is a measure of success of the DAP National New Village Sub-Committee when we think back to more than a year ago. At that time, the new village problem hardly existed in the national consciousness. It was virtually forgotten. But today, it has become a burning issue in the hearts and minds of right-thinking Malaysians.
The DAP National New Village Sub-Committee has achieved the first of its two-point target. This is to drag the suffering and plight of the 900,000 new villagers for the last two decades from the backstage, unseen and unknown, to the forefront of national and public consciousness and concern.
We have even forced an unwilling Alliance government to grudgingly concede that there is such a ‘new village’ problem.
We must now gear ourselves to tackle the second target – which is to make the government to release funds and allocate land to help the 900,000 new villagers out of their poverty, backwardness, suffering and exploitation.
But up to now, the Government has only paid lip-service to the plight and poverty of the new villagers, without doing anything about it. It is true that a Minister for New Villagers has been appointed, but his job is not to help the new villagers to get land, jobs and homes, but to be a $ 4,000-Cabinet postman with no duties or powers.
The DAP calls on the Government to stop its 20 year neglect of the 900,000 new villagers, and implement a New Economic Policy for their economic and social upliftment, which will integrate them fully in the mainstream of social and economic development of the country.
The DAP, and in particular the DAP National New Village Sub-Committee, should continue to be the conscience of the 900,000 new villagers.
We must not allow the government to deceive the people with false promises or insincere excuses, to justify the government’s continued inaction to allocate funds for new village development or to give land.
A recent example of Alliance insincerity in wanting to help the new villagers was provided by the Mentri Besar of Negri Sembilan, Datuk Mansor bin Othman. When replying to a question by DAP State Assemblyman for Linggi, Sdr. Oh Keng Seng, at the Negri Sembilan State Assembly meeting on Sept. 21 about whether there are any government plans to grant land to new villagers, Datuk Mansor said the government would not encourage the idea of giving land titles to one particular race but to all races especially in the setting up of new villages. He said the government wanted to integrate the various races in the new villages and create a truly Malaysian society.
Nobody disagrees with the building of a truly Malaysian society, but if this is just an excuse in denying land to the landless new villagers, then the insincerity of the government must be exposed.
It is public knowledge that the government, including the Negri Sembilan state government, open up hundreds of thousands of acres of land under the Felda schemes, which are allocated predominantly to one particular race. Why didn’t the government use this argument to prevent the granting of land to Felda schemes on the ground that there should be racial balance? We must therefore be vigilant and alert to expose the insincerities and untruths of the Alliance.