By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, October 19, 1981:
DAP extremely shocked that Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan is defending the correctness and propriety of the Johore State Government’s Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas deviation of the New Economic Policy.
I am extremely shocked by the attempt by the MCA National Vice President and Minister of Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan, to defend the Johore State Government in the scandalous Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas public low-cost housing scheme allocations in his Muar Parliamentary constituency.
This is because the Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas public low-cost housing scheme allocations are a violation of the New Economic Policy pledge that in is implementation that there would be no discrimination against any racial group.
Both Datuk Neo Yee Pan in Muar yesterday, and through his political secretary un Kuala Lumpur the day before, said on the Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas low-cost housing allocation:
1. That the Federal Government has no power to prevent State Governments from gazetting land as Malay Reservation areas; and
2. that the ministry oh Housing and Local Government had instructed all State Government housing divisions that in future they should explain clearly where low-cost houses are built on Malay Reservation Land and exclusively to be allocated to Malays.
This means that Datuk. Neo Yee Pan see nothing wrong in the practice of the Johore State Government acquiring land from non-Malays, plan low-cost housing schemes based on funds and loans from the Federal Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and declare these areas as Malay Reservation area so that when the public low-cost housing had been completed, allocate them solely to Malays on the ground that they on Malay Reservation land.
This is a clear-cut evasion of the New Economic Policy pledge that no particular racial group would experience any loss or deprived of its rights to NEP development efforts, which the MCA Minister of Housing should block.
It is true that the Federal Government cannot prevent any State Government from declaring any areas as Malay reservation area; but surely as the Minister in charge of Housing, and the disbursing of housing loans to State Governments, it is his responsibility to ensure that no State Government evade and violate the New Economic Policy pledge to benefit all racial groups by practices like the Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas cases.
For Datuk Neo Tan pan to advise State Government housing divisions that in future they should clearly explain to the people where low-cost housing schemes are built on Malay Reservation Land is virtually a blank-cheque not only to Johore Government, but to other State Governments, to continue to repeat Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas incidents.
Datuk Neo Yee Pan, through his political secretary, tries to say that I was contradicting myself as I had originally said that as Tanjong Agas low-cost housing scheme was on Malay Reservation land, its exclusive allocation to Malays is understandable. But I made that statement before I knew that Tanjong Agas was also originally acquired from Chinese land-owners, and latterly gazetted as a Malay Reservation area with a low-cost housing scheme. This is clearly unacceptable. Datuk Neo’s attitude in Muar is most deplorable and irresponsible, and strengthen my inclination to move a motion in the budget proceeding in Parliament to cut his salary. He will be the third Minister whom I would move a salary cut, the first being Tan Sri Lee Siok Yew and the second Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie.