Allocation of government low-cost housing- another instance of rich and well-placed Malaya exploiting and denying poor Malays of their rights

Ketua Pembangkang and DAP Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, today sent the following letter to the Minister for Housing and New Villages, Mr. Michael Chen:

“Y.B. Tuan Michael Chen, 19.11.1975
Menteri Perumahan dan Kampung-Kampung Baru,

Yang Berhormat Menteri,

Allocation of government low-cost housing- another instance of rich and well-placed Malaya exploiting and denying poor Malays of their rights

I refer to the oral reply given by your Parliamentary Secretary, Y.B. Tuan Mohd. Ali bin M. Sharif, to my supplementary question on the allocation of low-cost government housing.

I had asked whether he was aware that in the allocation of government low-cost housing, there is widespread dissatisfaction because the low-cost housing units were not allocated to the genuine homeless and poor, but given instead to the well-to-do and those close to politicians in power, and successful applicants include those who draw or enjoy four- figure monthly income.

Tuan Mohd. Ali, who had earlier said that it was the government’s policy to build low-cost houses for those whose family income is below $300, said he did not know about such incidents, although he would not deny their possible occurrence, and said his Ministry would take the necessary action if particulars are furnished.

I am therefore writing to you as the Minister responsible to provide you with facts about the unfair allocation of low-cost housing to the well-to-do in disregard of the poor and homeless. In fact, these facts provide further examples of how under the Second Malaysia Plan second-prong objective to restructure society, the well-to-do and well-placed Malays are exploiting and denying the Malay poor of their rights to social and economic justice.

In the Pulau Sebang second-phase low-cost housing project in Malacca, only 11 out of 69 units were allocated to those with monthly incomes of below $300. Among the successful applicants were Incik Ramli bin A. Rahim of 429-A Jalan Ulu Chenderam, Tampin, whose monthly income was as high as $1150; Cik Kamsiah binte Husin of Tanjong Rimau, Alor Gajah, whose monthly income was $785; Incik Mohd. Sultan bin Karim of Pusat Kesihatan Kecil, Simpang Empat, whose monthly income was $695; and Tuan Yasin bin Ahmad of 4029, Pulau Sebang, whose monthly income was $580.

In the Alor Gajah low-cost housing scheme, also in Malacca, only six out of 32 units were allocated to those whose monthly income fell below $300. Cik Khalijah binte HJ. Deraman of Padang Sebang, Alor Gajah whose monthly income was $700, topped the list here.

Are the people and the Malay masses to believe that for the quotas allocated to the Malays, these are no poor Malays whose income fall below $300 who deserve such housing much more than the well-to-do and well-placed Malays?

For your information, these figures are derived from official sources, and are given by the Malacca Chief Minister, Tuan Haji Ghani Ali himself, in a written reply to DAP Malacca State Assemblyman for Tranquerah, Sdr. Chan Teck Chan, during the June meeting of the Malacca State Assembly.

I am therefore all the more surprised that your Ministry is ignorant of these glaring instances of betrayal of the objectives of the government low-cost housing programmes for the low-incomes groups. I take a very serious view of these abuses and misuses of government funds allegedly to help the poor, and ask you to take immediate action on both these housing projects to rectify the misapplication of government funds for the haves instead of the have-nots.

I hope to hear from you of the action you intend to take or has taken, at least by before the debate in the Dewan Rakyat on your Ministry’s 1976 estimates in the Committee stage, as failing to hear from you, I would not exclude introducing a censure motion in Parliament on this gross misappropriation and misapplication of funds to enrich the haves at the expense of the have-nots, and the exploitation of the Malay poor by the Malay rich.