Call on the Perak State Government to explain how it could impose a premium of $23,920 for a new village housing lot when the market value of the house is only $5,000?

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Dinner in Teluk Anson to celebrate the Party’s 15th Anniversary on Friday, 18th Sept. 1981 at 8 pm.

Call on the Perak State Government to explain how it could impose a premium of $23,920 for a new village housing lot when the market value of the house is only $5,000?

With Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and Datuk Musa Hitam, taking over the reins or power as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the newspapers have been full of daily reports about how the government at all levels would be clean, efficient and courteous.

The entire government was told to be placed under a clocking system, but unless there is a change in the mental and motivational spirit of the government officials, a punctual clock-in and clock-out cannot prevent even greater inefficiency, corruption or discourtesy.

What is urgently needed is to put all government officials through a re-orientation course, to imbue into them the consciousness and realization that they are the servants of the people, and their whole purpose is to help the people, and not to create difficulties on hardships for them.

When I was in Bruas last week, I found that in Kampong Raja Hitam, the villagers received notices from the Dindings Land Office informing them that their application for titles to their houses have been approved. In one case, the Land Office informed them to pay premium of $23,920 for a lot 45 ft by 90 ft, which would work out to some $10 per square foot for new village land!

This is punitive and most ridiculous, especially as the value of the house is no more than $5,000? Only bureaucracy gone mad could come out with such a $23,920 land premium for new villagers. This is not an isolated case, but there had been several such cases in Kampong Raja Hitam in Bruas constituency.

Even in Selangor, the premium collected by the State Government is about 9 cents per square foot. On what basis is the Perak State Government imposing such a punitive rate of $10 per square foot.

I call on the Perak Mentri Besar to intervene in this matter, and recently this grave injustice to the new villagers.

It is most unfortunate that the MCA and the Gerakan, who have State Executive Councillors, are more interested in competing with each other rather than in looking after the basic interests of the people, and in particular new villages. They could have used their political power to put right such ridiculous premiums at $23,920, but they are completely indifferent.

Why MCA cannot help ordinary fishermen and farmers to secure livelihood without harassment from the authorities.

Yesterday, the MCA President, Datuk Lee San Choon, opened the 23-storey $40 million Wisma MCA signifying the wealth of the MCA, which is in sharp contrast to its political impotence.

Although the MCA has no problem in raising funds for its $40 million building living up to its reputation as a party of the towkays, it could not help the ordinary fisherman and farmer to earn their livelihood without harassment from the Barisan authorities.

The trawler fishermen in Dindings and Perak, for instance, face economic hardships and privations because of the new government regulation extending the 3-mile limit to five-miles; and the imposition of the 1.5 inch mesh size trawling net.

These government regulations were approved by the Cabinet with MCA and Gerakan Ministers, who did not object at all to them.

In Johore, MCA branch officials had some 20 years ago collected money from land-hungry people and promised them that they would each be allocated 10 acres of land in Kuala Kabong in a group settlement scheme. The land-hungry people invested whatever capital they have, and decades of sweat, blood and tears to open up the Kuala Kabong area, and evicted the 1,500 cultivator families.

When the time came for harvesting, after some 20 years of back-breaking work, suddenly, without a single warning, on March 16, the Johore State Government cordoned off the 20,000 acres of Kuala Kabong land, and evicted the 1,500 cultivator families.

The MCA in Johore publicly said they would solve the problem which they created originally, but over six months have passed, and the 1,500-cultivator families continue to suffer hardships and deprivation, seeing their rubber trees and oil palm being harvested by contract workers employed by the State Development Corporation.

It is no use the MCA building a 23-storey $40 million Wisma MCA when the basic problems of the people, whether he be fisherman or farmer, or a student who wants to have higher education opportunities in his own country, could not he solved.

The Wisma MCA would stand, in fact, as the symbol of the success of the MCA in money-collecting, but utter failure in the discharge of its political responsibilities and obligations.

Today’s press reported that the former MCA Chairman of the Saleng new village branch in Rengam, And headman of Saleng new village, Ng Chu Tam, together with 49 others, have taken legal action against the Matang Holdings Bhd- the MCA Johore State holding company- in collecting monies from the public in gross violation of the laws.

Sdr. Lee Kaw, DAP MP for Kluang, and I accompanied Ng Chu Tam to the Johore Bahru police station on June 20 to lodge a report against MCA Johore for dollecting money under false pretences. The DAP will be asking in Parliament what action the police has taken on this report.

I commend Ng Chu Tam for continuing to wage war against illegalities and malpractices, especially those committed by a component party of the government, setting a very bad example to the people. The MCA, in allowing its companies like the Matang Holdings Bhd., Peak Hwa Holdings Bhd., Cerdik Holdings Bhd., to operate in open defiance of the Law have demonstrated their utter irresponsibility and unfitness to political leadership.

If the MCA can openly flout the laws meant to protect the public without shame, the how can the people repose their trust and confidence on MCA leaders?

The DAP will expose the whole episode of the MCA’s misuse of its position to capitalize on the ‘share holdings’ craze it created, and by unlawful means, sponged hundreds of millions of dollars from the ordinary public, in the October meeting of Parliament..