Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, when declaring open the Johore DAP State Political Course at Kluang DAP premises on Sunday Oct. 4, 1981 at 9.30 a.m.
DAP calls for the establishment of a NEP Commission where complaints about deviations from the NEP policy that in its implementation “no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation of its rights, privileges, income, job on opportunity” could ne made and investigated.
The new Economic Policy, with its twin objective of eliminating poverty regardless of race and the restructuring of Malaysian society to multi- racialise every facet of Malaysian life, is entering its second decade of implementation.
The New Economic Policy can only succeed if it secures the full-hearted support of all races as a policy where no racial group would be discriminated against or suppressed. This is why the Government leaders have often declared that it is the cardinal policy of the New Economic Policy that in its implementation ‘no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of its rights, privileges, income, job on opportunity”
Unfortunately, ever since the implementation of the NEP in 1970, the confidence of all races in the fairness and justness of the NEP had time and again been shattered because of the patent disregard of the cardinal policy that no particular group would experience any loss or deprivation.
The latest incident is the most unfair allocation of low-cost houses built by the Johore SEDS in Sungai Abong in Muar. When the public were invited to apply for the 578 low-cost houses at Sungai Abong on Oct. 1, the Non-Malay who asked for forms were turned away on the ground that the 578 units were not meant for them.
In August this year the Johore Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Othman sa’at told the Johore MCA State Convention that the low-cost housing scheme by the SEDC over the Muar bridge at Tanjong Aras would be 100% reserved for Malays, as the scheme is on Malay reserved land.
This is not so Sungai Abong, whose land were acquired from the Chinese for the low-cost housing project.
The exclusion of non-Malays from the Sungai Abong low-cost housing scheme is clearly unfair and a violation of the NEP principle that no group would be deprived of its rights as a Malaysian citizen.
The people who need low-cost housing come from the poor of all races, and to discriminate among the poor purely on grounds of race is clearly insupportable in a country which aims to build a multi-racial society.
There has been a lot of talk of the need to multi-racialise every facet of Malaysian society. For the government to deliberately promote projects where there is a total concentration of one racial group is clearly inimical to this multi-racial nation building policy.
The time has come for the establishment of a New Economic Policy Commission where complaints about deviations from the principle that “no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation of its rights, privileges, income, job on opportunity” could be made, investigated and adjudicated upon. Thus , in the case of the Sungai Abong low0cost housing scheme, if there is a NEP Commission, the non-Malays who wish to apply for its houses could file a complaint against the Johore State Government for having…..
The Johore MCA boats of great power and influence, but it has been a party to the Johore State Government’s deviation of the NEP. The people have a right to know what the MCA Exco Members in the Johore Government, and the MCA Ministers in Cabinet, and in particular the MCA Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Neo Yee Pan, are doing to allow such Sungai Abong scandals to take place.
Call on Tan Sri Osman Salat to resign as Mentri Besar if he could not discharge his duties effectively to safequard the welfare on the people.
The Johore Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Othman Sa’at, is facing his biggest political crisis, and is in fact involved in a political ‘life and death’ struggle.
I do not want to get involved in Tan Sri Othman Sa’at political crisis, but the people have a right to expect the Mentri Besar to carry out his duties effectively and conscientiously to safeguard the welfare of the people.
It is clear that the Johore Mentri Besar is unable to do this. A very good example is the long-outstanding issue of the Kuala Kabong farmer squatters.
Over the months ago, on 27th July 1981, I met the Mentri Besar together with Sdr. Lee Kaw, DAP MP Kluang and Johore DAP Chairman, to impress on him the urgency of resolving the grievances of the 1,500 squatter families in Kuala Kabong. These squatter families had invested their meager earnings, labour, oil palm, vegetables, etc. When the time came for the harvest to be enjoyed on March 16, the Johore State Government, without warning, deployed police and armed forces to seize and cordon off the 20,000 acres and evict the 1,500 squatter families, denying the squatter farmers the right to harvest their crops- which are now harvested by SEDC contact workers.
This is clearly unjust and inequitable, and unthinkable for any government leader or government which has the most rudimentary sense of social justice and equity. Where is the social justice when government and political leaders can help themselves to the land, by parceling out among themselves, while the landless who work the land with the sweat of their brow for 20 years are evicted, and denied the fruits of their labour?
AT the meeting with the Mentri Besar on July 27, Tan Sri Othman Sa’at promised Lee Kaw and me that a satisfactory solution to the problem would ne announced in a matter of days.
Sdr. Lee Kaw and I had waited day after day, week after week, and now month after month. Nothing has happened. Every day nothing is done to resolve the outstanding Kuala Kabong problem, it is another day of suffering and hardship and injustice for the 15,000 squatter farmers.
If Tan Sri Othman Sa’at is no ‘ besieged’ by this political problems as to unable to tend to his duties, like the Kuala Kabong issue which had left unsolved for close to 7 months, clearly he should resign as he had ceased to be able to discharge his duties effectively to safeguard the welfare of the people.
I regret too that the Johore MCA, which is chiefly responsible for causing the Kuala Kabong affair in the first place, is now taking an indifferent attitude to this problem.
DAP suggest that the SEDC should sell off its 15% share in the $8 million Medical Specialist Centre to turn in into a fully-private specialist centre, or the Government should buy out the private shares to make in into a fully government centre.
When Sdr. Lee Kaw and T questioned the wisdom and propriety of the Johore SEDC to get involved in a private specialist medical centre in Johore Bahru during the June meeting of Parliament, the Health Minister, Tan Sri Chong Hong Nyan tried to defend the Johore SEDC.
Clearly, the involvement of the Johore SEDC in a private specialist medical centre is indefensible, as it duplicates the resources and responsibility of an entire Ministry of Health, which is being allocated some $600 million under the Fourth Malaysian Plan.
“To ask the Minister of Public Enterprises whether it is the policy of the government to allow state development corporations and other public enterprises to duplicate established government services, like the Johore SEDC specialist hospital project, and what action her Ministry has taken to end all wasteful duplication of scare public funds and resources.”
The other serious objection to the SEDC’s involvement in the specialist medical centre is the discrimination against the poor who would not be able to afford the facilities of the Centre, established with taxpayers’ money, as rightly pointed out by the Highness, the Sultan of Johore.
The DAP suggest that the SEDC should sell off its 51% share in the $8 million Medical Spcialist Centre to turn it into a fully-private centre, or the Federal Government should buy out the private shares in the Centre and turn it into a fully government medical institution open to all without discrimination between the rich and poor.
The Health Minister, Tan Sri Chong Hong Nyan, owes the Parliament and public an explanation why he had allowed the Johore SEDC Medical Specialist Centre to operate without a proper licensing, as revealed recently.