Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Kajang by-election public rally at 11m.s. Cheras New Village on Monday, 22.10.73 at 9p.m.
Call on the voters of Kajang to vote for the DAP Charter for New Village Revolution on 3.11.1973
For over 20 years, through four Five-Year Plans of the Alliance Government – the First Malaya Plan 1956-60, the Second Malaya Plan 1961-65, the First Malaysia Plan 1966-70 and the Second Malaysia Plan 1971-75 – the 900000 new villagers in Malaysia have been ignored, neglected, starved of development funds and excluded from the mainstream of economic, social, educational and cultural development.
The 900000 new villagers suffered in silence for one full generation. What was more tragic was that not only had the government forgotten them, the people and the nation as a whole had also forgotten them and did not know or were not concerned that the 900000 new villagers were economically, socially, educationally and culturally deprived.
The DAP decided that the suffering by one full generation of new villagers was enough, and that the second generation of new villagers should not re-live the miseries and neglect of their people.
This was why on 4.9.1971, at a public rally at Kampar, the DAP launched a nation-wide campaign to bring to the centre of public attention and national concern the suffering and plight of the 900000 new villagers for land, home, jobs, a decent standard of living and adequate social and recreational amenities.
The DAP formed a National New Villages Sub-Committee under the chairmanship of Sdr. Yap Pian Hon, Selangor State Assemblyman for Serdang, himself a new villager, on 19.9.1971 to spearhead the campaign for the forgotten 900000 Malaysians.
As a result of our campaign in Parliament, the State Assemblies, public rallies throughout the country and all available public gatherings, the Alliance Government was at last compelled to acknowledge publicly the existence of the ‘new village’ problem.
Today, Deputy MCA President, Mr. Lee San Choon, has benefited from the DAP’s campaign on behalf of the 900000 new villagers, for he has become a Minister in charge of new villagers.
But what is more pertinent is what benefits the 900000 new villagers had received from Mr. Lee San Choon’s appointment as New Village Minister?
Under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan, a total expenditure of $14000 million is envisaged, and one million acres of land to be opened up. But can Mr. Lee San Choon tell the country how much of this one million acres of land to be opened up under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan will go to the new village landless? Will a single acre go to the new village landless?
Although Mr. Lee San Choon has been a Minister in charge of New Villagers for several months now, he has no blueprint for the new village upliftment by giving jobs, land and homes to the new villagers.
One of the basic problems in Malaysian politics is that MCA Ministers do not have real power, although in name, they are Ministers. Mr. Lee San Choon is a very good example. He has neither the power, the funds, nor a blueprint to help the 900000 new villagers who have been neglected for two decades.
The people of Malaysia, especially the 900000 new villagers, must not allow the MCA and the Alliance to deceive them so easily.
The DAP wants the government to implement a New Economic Policy for the 900000 new villagers, through the adoption of a Charter for New Village Revolution in Malaysia.
The Charter for New Village Revolution 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 1975 during the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan. The medium term programmes are those to be implemented under the Third Malaysia Plan from 1976 – 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 become thriving economic centres of growth.
Short-term programmes for effecting a New Village Revolution
The Alliance Government should accept the following principles and programmes as the first chapter of the new village revolution, to be completed under the Second Malaysia Plan by 1975:
(i) The issue of 99-year titles to all new villagers for the land they occupy at cheap premiums, payable by installments. Every villager should be given 99-year titles for his land by the end of the Second Five Year Plan in 1975 to fully legalise and regularise their 20 years occupation of land in the new villages.
(ii) Under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan, the FELDA is targeted to develop 275000 acres of land for rubber and oil cultivation to settle 23700 families. The government should set aside 110000 acres for the settlement of new village unemployed and landless, so that 10000 new village families can make a new life on FELDA schemes.
(iii) 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.
(iv) 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 200000 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 New Villages into towns to create jobs for new villagers
The urbanisation and modernisation of the backward rural areas is one of the objectives of the Second Malaysia Plan. But there is not a word of reference to the 450 new villages in Malaysia, and we insist that in this modernisation and urbanisation of the rural areas, the new villages must not be excluded.
The government should have a long-term plan to urbanise all the 450 new villagers in the country, so that the 900000 new villagers will also benefit from the progress of science and technology.
To modernise this sector, it will be necessary to ensure proper development of the infrastructural facilities such as roads, telecommunications, water supplies, electricity, schools, training centres, 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 and modernisation of the 450 new villages, the government should select 45 new villages and convert them into townships under the Second Five Year Malaysia Plan one-tenth of the total number of new villages.
In the process, the government should:
(i) Disperse industries: to the selected and other new villages so as to create at least 50000 jobs by 1975 to relieve the grave problem of unemployment and underemployment in the now village sector;
(ii) Water and electricity: Of the remaining new villages without mater and electricity, 50 per cent of them should be supplied with piped water and electricity by the end of 1975, and the rest by the end of the Third Malaysia Plan by 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. Establishment of a proper Ministry of New Villages
In order to undertake the revolution of the 450 new villages, there must be a proper ministry of New Villages, with full powers and funds to change the life of the 900000 new villagers, and not like the present New Village Minister who is devoid of power and funds.
The new villagers comprise about 10% of the Malaysian population, and should legitimately be entitled to 10% of the government development funds.
The Minister for Rural Development, Inche Ghaffar bin Baba, has at his disposal $25 million a month, but Mr. Lee San Choon has only a meagre $300000 a month, or $3.6 million a year. All that this $3.6 million can do is probably to build two public lavatories for each new village, as it works out to some $8000 per new village.
Thus a proper Ministry of new villages must be established with a budget of a least $5 million a month, or $60 million a year for the upliftment of the 900000 new villages and revolutionise them into flouring economic centres.
Medium and Long Term programmes
For medium and long-term programmes to revolutionise new village life, 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 or dying areas, but throbbing, humming centres of human and economic activity.
Let the people of Kajang on 3rd November 1973 on polling day vote solidly for the DAP’s Charter for New Village Revolution, by voting for the Rocket, for the interest not only of the new villagers in Kajang, the 900000 new villagers in Malaysia, but also the future generations of Malaysians for a more equal and just Malaysian society.