Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, at the DAP Selangor/Feredal Territory State Committie meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 2nd January 1981 at 8 p.m.
The DAP to expose and oppse deviation of the NEW Economic Policy in the last 10 years
Early this year, the Barisan Nasional Governement will present the Fourth Malaysia Plan to Parliament for adoption. At this mid-term period of the 20-Year Perspective Plan of the New Economic Policy, there has been many deviation from the New Economic Policy which has undermind national unity and inter-racial harmony in the country.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and the other UNMO leaders had claimed that the NEP objective to help raise the economic standard of the bumiputras is not a policy to ’rob Peter to pay Paul’.
However, there can be no denial that there are NEP bureuncrats whose ideas and views of implementing the NEP are completely racialist and extremist.
A good example is the Bintulu case in Sarawak, which has thrown such assurance to the winds.
Since July this year, the Bintulu Development Authority, which has been vested with the duties and powers of being responsible with the development of Bintulu, introduced a shocking regulation which not only violate the constitutional rights of Malaysians, but destroy the very basis of the New Economic Policy.
Since July, 1980, the Bintulu Development Authority, in response to applications by land-owners in Bintulu for sub-division and variation of title, invariably answered these application with the following reply.
“I refer to your application for the sub-division and variation of title condition for the above parcels of land and am directed to advise you to form a Development Company with a fifty per cent Bumiputra equity share-holding before the application can be considered for approval.
“Would you please supply to the Bintulu Development Authority all relevant documents in respect of the said Company.”
This letter, to all applications for sud-division and variation of title from agricultural to commercial/residential use, was signed by a BDA official.
This ecision of the Bintulu Development Authority has far-reaching implications. For it means that before an appication could be considered by the BDA for the sub-division and variation of title condition of land in Bintulu from agricultural to residential/commercial purposes, which is necessary before development plans are submitted for approval, the landowners must extend 50 per cent ownership of the land to bumiputras through the form of a Development Company.
This is firstly a violation of the Constitutional right to property which protects a Malaysian from expropriation of property without compensation. What the Binyulu Development Authority seeks to do is nothing less than a ‘back-door’ expropriation of property of Malaysians.
It is secondly an attempt to nullify the constitutional rights of Malaysians, not through an amendment to the Constitution in Parliament through a two-thirds parliamentary majority, but by administrative fiat which is both unconstitutional and illegal. Such a method of ‘amending by the constitution’ noy by the proper process of Parliamentary amendment but by administrative fiat cannot be allowed to go unchallenged, if the Constitutional rights of Malaysians are to have any meaning and protection.
Thirdly, such a BDA regulation constitutes a gross abuse of power, for whether application for sub-division and variation of title condition of land would be approved or not should depend not on the whims and fancies of any bureaucrat or bureaucracy, but on the Master Plan in Bintulu without regard to the various land use and development needs. Such applications should be considered strictly on the basis of their merit, as to whether they conform with the development Master Plan, and not on irrelevant and extraneous issues completely unrelated to land development and usage.
Such a Master Plan should be available for inspection and study bt the public so that there is no room for abuse of power and corruption.
Otherwise, the people will be completely at the mercy of bureaucrats-turned-tyrants, who can one day insist that before sub-division and conversion of title is considered, 50 per cent of the land should be given to bumiputras, and on another day ansist that before sub-division and conversion of title is considered that an applicant must change his name or contribute 50 per cent of the land value to the ruling party.
In Peninsular Malaysia, some state governments had tried to impose the regulation that before application for conversion and sub-division of title could be approved, owners of freehold title should agree ti their alteration to 99-year leasehold title, abd such attempts were struck down by the Courts as unconstitutional, allegal and null and void.
Fourthly, and most important of all, the BDA regulation violates the entire basis of the New Economic Policy that it would be implemented in a way so as to ensure that “no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation of his rights. Privileges, income, job opportunity or in the spirit of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.
The people of Malaysia, in particular the non-Malays, fully support every government measure to help the more economically-backward bumiputras to catch up economically, but this must not be done by depriving the non-Malays, as pledged by the New Economic Policy, of their property or other rights.
And there can be no dispute whatsoever that to require non-Malays to give up 50% of their property, through whatever forms of coercion or duress, in order to secure approval for conversion, sub-division and development – which who would otherwise have the right to expect – is a clear-cut deprivationof their property rights in the name of restructuring society.
The BDA regulation is the thin end of the wedge which if allowed would open up the Pandora’s box of the Eighties, where the NEP would be implemented in utter disregard of the pledge that “no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation of his right”.
If the BDA regulation is permitted to stand unchallenged, then in future, before any application for conversion and sub-division is considered, some ‘bright’ NEP implementers may complete with other on imposing on a whole host of unreasonable and illegal conditions.
Foe instance, there was at one time those who advocated that there should be restrictions on students going abroad to pursue higher studies, on the spurious ground that this upset the NEP objective of redressing educational imbalances between the races. If such extremist proposals had not been smacked down, then one day, some ‘bright’ NEP implementer may lay down a condition that before a student could be allowed to go overseas, the student’s parent must be financially responsible for supporting a bumiputra student overseas.
Or one day, before one can eat a bowl of rice, half the bowl must be given away.
Such tendencies are clearly unconstitutional, illegal, destructive of the very of the NEP, and undermines national confidence, and must be withdrawn totally without condition.
The First Sarawak DAP Annual State Convention held in Kuching on Dec. 26 passed a resolution which condemned the DBA regulation and called for the withdrawal of this obnoxious and anti-NEP regulation.
The Sarawak DAP has decided to launch a state-wide signature campaign to trotest against, and to demand the withdrawal of, the Bintulu Development Authority regulation and mobilise the people of Sarawakto demonstrate to the State Barisan Nasional Government of the depth of their views on this vital matter. The State Barisan Nasional should respect the constitutional rights and democratic wishes of the people in this matter.