Statement by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Press Conference on Thursday, 11th July at 10.30 a.m. in Malacca DAP Office
1. Lim Kit Siang to seek meeting with Tun Razak to report corrupt practices and cheating of the 1.500 new villagers at Machap Umboo New Village with regard to land compensation
Yesterday, accompanied by the DAP State Assemblymen for Kota Timer, Bernard Sta Maria, the DAP State Treasurer, Sdr. Yoong Tat Hian, Malacca State Committee Member, Sdr. Yeong Wee Yeek, and Sdr. Lim Kim San, I visited the Machap Umboo New Village, 18 miles from Malacca town, who are affected by the Durian Tunggal water scheme and their land are being acquired and resettled.
I found that there had been corrupt practices in the question of compensation to the new villagers, and that a sizable percentage of the new villagers had been cheated of their rightful compensation for the land and houses which the government is acquiring.
The majority of the Machap Umboo new villagers are ignorant of their rights. They knew that their land and houses were being acquired by the State Government. Although the Valuation Officer of the State had made a valuation of their land and houses, the new villagers do not know how much their properties had been valued.
The first time they will come into contact with officialdom is when some government person comes to their houses, makes a survey, and quotes to them a very low valuation for their house. When they protested that this value is too low, this government person would say with contempt that the house was of no greater value.
Sometime later, someone will approach the new villagers and said that he has contacts and ways of increasing the valuation and compensation for the house. But his price is 10% of the total valuation. As a result of such ‘middle-men’ interventions, some new villagers were compensations sometimes exceeding original oral figure by over $10,000. The 10% take by the ‘middle-men’ had to be paid cash on the acceptance by the new villager of the offer of compensation by the District Office.
It is obvious that all that the new villagers are getting for their compensation is the original valuation by the Valuation Department, and that the new villagers, out of ignorance of their rights, were led to believe by a racket that they would be offered very low compensation.. After being induced to pay 10% compensation, all that the new villagers are getting is nothing more than what is rightfully theirs under the Valuation Report.
It is clear that this racket is not possible without inside involvement in the State Government.
I am seeking an appointment with the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, to report to him the evidence I have accumulated so as to put an end to such corrupt practices, abuses and parasitism involving land administration and acquisition and compensation.
The people of Machap Umboo New Village are facing enough hardships arising from the government acquisition of their land and houses, without having the further ordeal of parasites depriving them of their rightful compensations.
In fact, these parasites have done a double disservice to the people of Machap Umboo. They have robbed them of 10% of the compensation monies that the Valuation Office have assessed for them. Secondly, by denying them knowledge of the Valuation Office assessment, they were also deprived of an opportunity to appeal against the true assessment and get a higher compensation.
This is a very serious matter, for land administration has been identified with rank corruption in Malaysia for too long, and such corrupt practices must be stamped out of existence if the people and country are not to be bled by the true anti-national elements in the Malaysia.
Such corrupt practices relating to land acquisition and compensation in not only confined to Machap Umboo, but to other areas in Malacca where there is large-scale acquisition, like Tanjung Kling, Bukit Rambai.
Tun Razak and the Malacca State Government must see to it that all Machap Umboo new villagers who have been cheated of their 10% compensation should be compensated.
2. DAP calls on Malacca State Government to increase the compensation to Machap Umboo new villagers by 50 per cent
Here, I should point out that, contrary to previous press reports, although about 50% of the new villagers have accepted the offers of compensation for their land and houses, they have not been paid yet.
The first batch of offers, involving some 50% of the new villagers, were made and concluded in 1972, about two years ago. Since then, the prices of building materials and costs have racketed, some by 100%, others by 200%.
The compensation offered and accepted in 1972 are clearly inadequate for the Machap Umboo new villagers to rebuild their homes, and the DAP calls on the Malacca State Government to increase by flat rate their compensation by 50%, in consideration of the price increases.
The development of the state should not be at the expense of the Machap Umboo new villagers, and their future should be properly and adequately provided for.
3. Why wide range of compensation rates were awarded?
I found during my visit that there is no common yardstick in the award of compensations. Some houses are awarded more than others, although they are fairly similar in nature. Why is this so?
4. Malacca State Government should also compensate tenants
The Malacca State Government do not have a proper scheme to compensate to tenants some of whom have rented houses either for dwelling or business for decades. This is grossly unfair, and for dislocating their lives and business, compensation must be made.