Speech by DAP secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at the First Anniversary tea-party of the DAP National New Village Sub-Committee held at Serdang Bahru DAP Branch on Sunday, 1st Oct. 1972 at 8.p.m. The tea party also marks the close of the DAP National New Village Week from Sept. 24 to Oct.1.
Charter for New Village Revolution in Malaysia
The appointment of Dr. Lim Keng Yaik for the last 10 months as Minister in charge of new villages has not benefitted the 900,000 new villagers a single bit, whether in terms of upliftment of their standard of living, or land, jobs or homes.
The 900,000 new villagers continue, as they had for one whole generation over 20 years, to be neglected and starved of development funds and excluded from the mainstream of social and economic development. The landless, jobless, homeless and hopeless in the 450 new villages in Malaysia continue to be landless, jobless, homeless and hopeless.
The 900,000 new villagers in Malaysia cannot get a better life by mere reading the endless publicity about Dr. Lim Keng Yaik’s many tours and promises. What they want are funds, land, jobs and houses which Dr. Lim is no position to give them.
In fact, Dr. Lim’s appointment as Minister has benefitted only 12 persons in Malaysia – namely he himself, and 11 persons who are on his staff.
The $10,000 Dr. Lim gets from the Cabinet every month is just enough to pay for his own salary and those of his staff.
Having failed to do anything concrete for the 900,000 new villagers, Dr. Lim is now shifting his attention to what he called ‘mental revolution of the Chinese’.
What the new villagers want, and what Dr. Lim should concern himself with, is a new village revolution, to give the new villagers a fair and just deal after one generation of neglect and deprivation.
The 900,000 new villagers of Malaysia have been neglected and ignored for long enough. The Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, should sincerely concentrate funds and efforts to uplift the new villages.
The second Five-Year Malaysia plan, where there is not a single mention of the new villages, should be modified to include the 450 new villages in the mainstream of social and economic development efforts.
The DAP therefore proposes to the Government and country the following Charter for a New Village Revolution in Malaysia, which will end the decay, decline and death of the new village economy and develop them within this decade into flourishing new growth centres by modernising their economy, and uplift the standards of living of new villagers by increasing their productivity and incomes, dispersing to new village industries to create new jobs, allocation of land for the landless and the provision of modern social services, such as public housing, electricity, water, medical services, improved educational opportunities and increased recreational and community services.
Quarter for New Village Revolution in Malaysia
The Charter for New Village Revolution in Malaysia should be a three-phased plan, divided into short-term, medium and long-term programmes.
The short-term programmes are those targets and objectives to be completed by completed by 1975 during the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan. The medium term programmes are those to be implemented under the Third Malaysia Plan from 1975 – 1980, and the long-term programmes are those objectives which had to wait until the 1980s for the complete revolution of the new villages to be concluded.
Short-term programmes for effecting a New Village Revolution
The Malaysian Government should accept the following principles and prorgrammes as the first chapter of a new village revolution, to be completed under the Second Malaysia Plan by 1975.
(i) Declaration by the Malaysia Central and State Governments within this year that every new villager will be conferred 99-year titles for the land they occupy, at cheap premiums, payable by installment basis.
(ii) 30% of all such 99-year titles will be issued to new villagers by end of 1973, 60% by end of 1974 and 100% by end of 1975.
(iii) Under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan, the FELDA is targeted to develop 275,000 acres of land for rubber and oil palm cultivation to settle 23,750 families. The government should set aside 110,000 acres for the settlement of new village unemployed and landless, so that 10,000 new village families can make a new life on FELDA SCHEMES.
(iv) Apart from Felda schemes, the government should also allocate land to new villagers in its other land schemes, like the Federally-financed FELCRA (Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) and the Federally or State-sponsored youth land schemes.
(v) It is not necessary however that the government should involve public expenditure for every instance of land development. Thus apart from government land schemes, the government should allocate 200,000 acres of land for unemployed and landless new villagers to develop and cultivate with their own sweat, blood and toil
2. Selection and Conversion of 30 New Villages into towns to create jobs got new villagers.
The urbanisation and modernisation of the backward rural areas is one of the objectives of the Second Malaysia Plan. The 450 new villages should not be left out of the programme to urbanise and modernise the rural life.
The government should have a long-term plan to urbanise all the 450 new villages in the country, so that the 900,000 new villagers will also benefit from the progress of science and technology.
To modernise their sector, it will be necessary to ensure proper development of the infrastructure facilities such as roads, telecommunications, water supplies, electricity, schools, training centers, hospitals and clinics, housing and recreational centres, the dispersal of industries and the development of modern commercial and industrial activities in the new villages.
To begin the process of urbanisation or modernisation of the 450 new villages, the government should select 30 new villages and convert them into township under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan.
In the process, the government should:
(i) Disperse industries to the 30 selected and other new villages so as to create at least 50,000 jobs by 1975 to relieve the grave problem of unemployment and underemployment in the new village sector;
(ii) Water and electricity: Of the remaining new villages without water and electricity, 50 per cent of them should be supplied with piper water and electricity by the end of 1975, and the rest by the end of the Third Malaysia Plan in 1980.
(iii) Schools, Training Centres, Hospitals and Clinics: The government should launch a special programme to build secondary schools, training centres, hospitals and clinics to ensure that new village youths are trained in the skills of modern industrial and commercial activity and can enjoy the amenities of modern urban life.
3. The establishment of a proper Ministry of New Villages
In order to undertake the revolution of the 450 new villages, the Malaysian Prime Minister should establish a proper Ministry of New Villages, with full powers and funds to change the life of the 900,000 new villagers. It should be a senior Cabinet post.
The present Minister of New Villages is a farce, with no funds, power or responsibility. He has in fact the least funds of all the Ministries in the Cabinet, and the most junior.
The Minister for National and Rural Development, Inche Ghafar Baba, has at his disposal $20 million a month, but Dr. Lim Kang Yaik has only $10,000.
Thus a proper Ministry of new villages must be established with the budget of at least $5 million a month, or $60 million a year for the upliftment of the 900,000 new villages and to revolutionise them into flourishing economic centres.
Medium and long-term programmes
In the medium and long-term programmes for the complete revolutionising of the life of the 900,000 new villagers, the government should accelerate its social and economic development of the new villages, so that within a decade, the new villages will cease to be backward, depressed, deprived, and dying areas, but throbbing, humming centres of human and economic activity.
What is needed is the imagination, the vision and the determination to help the 900,000 new villagers. The 900,000 new villagers are Malaysian citizens and they have a right to demand that the Government adopt a Charter to carry out a new village revolution, and to implement it, if the Second Malaysia Plan Objective to eliminate poverty i regardless of race is not an empty declaration.