Earlier at this parliamentary meeting, the DAP had given full support to the government in its legislative proposal to give Malay reserved land the same valuation as non-reserved land in government land acquisition exercises.
Here, I would urge the Minister of Land and Regional Development, Datuk Rais Yatim, to make sure that in land acquisitions, no racial factor or consideration should intrude into the decision-making process.
Some of the state governments and acquisition authorities seemed to have lost sight of the fact that they must not be seen to be siding one race against another race in the exercise of their duties to decide on what land to acquire. Thus no government should acquire land from non-Malays, for the exclusive development of the Malays for otherwise, the New Economic Policy pledge made in the Second Malaysia Plan 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’ had been violated.
The most serious case of this unhealthy development is in the parliamentary constituency of the Acting MCA President and Minister of Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan.
The Johore State Government acquired land from the Chinese in Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas in Muar to build respectively 578 and 531 low-cost houses, but before the low-cost schemes were built, the land in both areas were gazette as Malay reserved land. As a result, in both these housing schemes, the low-cost units were given 100 per cent to the Malays only.
On 18th October 1983, the Muar Land Office again gave notice of its intention to acquire three pieces of land totalling 4.1 hectares at Jalan Junid in Muar for low-cost housing.
The first piece, measuring 1.6 hectares, is jointly owned by 38 people who had planned to build their own homes on the land, and had submitted their plan for subdivision and conversion in October 1977. Their lay-out plan had been approved by the Pengarah Perancang Bandar dan Desa, Johore, and they were waiting for conversion and sub-division to start work.
In the other two pieces, the landowners were negotiating with housing developers to develop the land when the acquisition order came.
All the owners, except for one Indian doctor, are Chinese. The overwhelming majority of the landowners do not have a house and hope to build one on the land for their own use. The people in Muar are particularly aggrieved for they notice that land adjoining to the three pieces being acquired belonging to Malays have not been affected.
Coupled with the earlier Sungai Abong and Tanjong Agas cases, feelings in Muar are quite high, that the land acquisition powers are being used by some racialists in a way totally at variance with the solemn pledge of the New Economic Policy that ‘no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation.’
I call on the Minister to intervene in this matter and have the acquisition notice withdrawn, for it is also most illogical to build low-cost houses in the heart of the town. Since the government is talking about ‘privatisation’, the landowners should be allowed to continue with their advanced plans to build up houses of their own.
I have been asked by Malacca Malays to urge the Minister for Land and Regional Development to ensure that there is no deviation from the National Land Code (Penang and Malacca Titles) Act 1963 to protect the interests of the Malacca Malays.
Under Part VIII of the National Land Code (Penang and Malacca Titles) Act 1963, both Section 94 and 108, provides that Malacca Customary Land could only be transferred to a Malay domiciled in Malacca.
This protection of the interests of the Malacca Malaysia is being flouted and one example is with regard to Lot 79 (MCL 96) Kawasan Bandar V Melaka (3.875 acres).
In 1976, a Tengku from outside Malacca who is not a domiciled Malacca Malay, bought the land, against the provisions of the law, and this land is now being sold to a company, Fanon Sdn Bhd, having secured approval from the State Government for conversions and subdivision into building land, for 1.8 million.
All the directors of Fanon Sdn. Bhd. are not Malays domiciled in Malacca, and the Malacca Malays feel that they are losing their rights and people from others states are going to own land that should remain only in the hands of Malacca Malays.
Fanon Sdn. Bhd. had appointed a nominee, against a Malay not domiciled in Malacca, to whom the Malay customary land would be transferred, which is a clear deviation of the law.
Malacca Malays urge the Minister to look into such deviations and to put an immediate stop to it.
(Speech by Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang in Dewan Rakyat on the estimates for the Ministry of Land and Regional Development on November 29, 1983)