Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 6.11.1982:
Call on Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, to get the developers of Thean Teik Estate, Perumahan Farlim (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. to immediately halt all work and pull out all workers until a full settlement is reached
After meeting officials of the Thean Teik Estate residents’ association in Penang yesterday, the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu said that he might intervene in the dispute between the residents and the developers, and that he would give them a reply next week on whether he could intervene.
This is most unsatisfactory. The Penang Chief Minister must take a more firm, positive and dynamic position to intervene and resolve the Thean Teik Estate dispute, especially as he had allowed the dispute to simmer and deteriorate without paying it serious attention at all.
A human life, that of Madam Tan Siew Lee, had been lost and four persons injured in the dispute. Surely, the Chief Minister is not waiting for more lives to be lost and injured, before the Penang State Government would take a more positive approach to resolve the Thean Teik Estate dispute?
As a first step, Dr. Lim Chong Eu should get the developers of Thean Teik Estate, Perumahan Farlim (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. to immediately halt all work in the Thean Teik Estate, and to pull out all workers until a full settlement is reached. I am shocked that the developers should sent its workers back to Thean Teik Estate so soon after the tragic death of Madam Tan Siew Lee, which would be regarded by some as a provocative act.
Perumahan Farlim (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. must bear responsibility for the death of Madam Tan Siew Lee, and as a minimum mark of respect, should stop all construction work at the Thean Teik Estate at the present and demonstrate its preparedness and sincerity to reach an amicable settlement with the Thean Teik residents without applying coercive tactics like the use of the police to back up the operations of the developers.
The Thean Teik Estate dispute is not merely a private dispute between the residents and the developers and owners, but a socio-economic problem of great magnitude affecting some 500 households involving over 10,000 people. This is why both the State Government and the Federal Government should stop its attitude of ‘indifference’ and intervene actively to effect an amicable settlement.
The Minister of Housing, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan, should go to Thean Teik Estate to help the residents. There is no use of MCA Ministers one after another going to Penang when there is a by-election, but when the people face acute socio-economic problems like in Thean Teik Estate, the MCA Ministers would not even bother to show any interests!
Yesterday, in Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Kassim Ahmad, when replying to Sdr. Gooi Hock Seng, DAP MP for Bukit Bendera, who raised the matter of the police using tear gas to disperse Thean Teik residents before the incident of the police shooting and killing of Madam Tan Siew Lee, said that the police has the right to disperse illegal gatherings with tear gas and arrests. This statement by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs shows that the police is biased in the whole Thean Teik Estate dispute, siding the developer against the residents. This is why the public and country have no confidence in the police investigations into the killing of Madam Tan Siew Lee. The police should stop acting as the ‘security guards’ of the developers, but should protect the livelihood, homes and lives of the Thean Teik Estate residents.