DAP offers to halt its plans to set up branches in Felda schemes if UMNO agrees to dissolve its hundreds of Felda branches in the country

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung. Lim Kit Siang, in Malacca on Wednesday, 16.9.1987:

DAP offers to halt its plans to set up branches in Felda schemes if UMNO agrees to dissolve its hundreds of Felda branches in the country

Deputy Land and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Haji Khalid Yunus, seemed to be in a fit over the establishment of a DAP Branch in Felda Kota Gelangi 4 (30 km from Jerantut, Pahang), Haji Khalid Yunus warned the DAP not to politicize Felda settler issues “as this is dangerous and will, in the end, not benefit anyone, including the settlers.”

If there is any political party which had been politicizing the Felda issues, it is the UMNO which had been doing it for 30 years!
This is not just my judgement, but the verdict of all Malaysian scholars who have studied land development in the country, and if Khalid Yunus want, I can give him a full list of these Malaysian local scholars and their writings.

This is what a University of Malaya associate professor said in a recent paper on “The politics of Land Development in Malaysia”.

“Land has always been politicized. Who gets which land, for what purpose, and for what benefits are important political questions and hence often override economic considerations. In land development, it is political decisions that determine the more and direction that land development will take……… In Malaysia, land has used as a political tool – as incentive, pay-off, or reward to political supporters and opponents alike.”

However, if Haji Khalid Yunus is sincere in wanting politics to be taken out of all Felda issues, then the DAP offers to halt its plan to set up branches in Felda schemes if UMNO agrees to dissolve its hundreds of branches in Felda schemes in the country.

As Haji Khalid Yunus does not want to ‘politicse’ the Felda land issues, why set up the hundreds of UMNO branches in Felda schemes in the first place?

Jerantut UMNO Division chairman, Datuk Wan Abu Bakar Wan Mohamed, who is also Deputy Labour Minister, said he was “very surprised” that a DAP Branch had been set up at Felda Kota Gelangi 4, as it would be understandable if the settlers had set up a PAS branch.

Let me tell both Khalid Yunus and Datuk Wan Abu Bakar that they should not behave like petty-minded politicians, who regard the 100,000 Felda settler-families, involving a total of 600,000 people, as a ‘monopoly’ and ‘preserve’ of UMNO.

The problems, grievances and discontents of Felda settlers is as much the concern of the DAP as of UMNO, for the Felda settlers are also Malaysian citizens. In fact, UMNO leaders should be enlightened and welcome DAP’s entry into Felda schemes, for this marks an important attempt to break away from trying to stereotype Felda problems as Malay problems, new villages as Chinese problems and estate problems as Indian problems, – when they are all Malaysian problems which should be the concern of all Malaysians and all political parties.

I note from Khalid Yunus’ statement that he would be causing difficulties in the registration of the DAP Felda Kota Gelangi 4 Branch, for when he was asked why DAP had to seek permission from Felda to open branches when UMNO had already been established in the schemes, the Deputy Minister said: “Because they are the opposition party.”

What type of reason is this? Let me tell Khalid that we operate under a system of laws, and not the likes and dislikes of politicians and administrators.

If Khalid Yunus discriminates against the DAP by putting obstacles in the way of establishment of DAP Felda branches, he would be demonstrating that UMNO’s influence in the 300-odd schemes in the country is so weak and fragile, that UMNO leaders are very frightened of the DAP making an entry into the Felda schemes. It would appear the the UMNO leaders are more afraid of the DAP setting up branches in Felda schemes, than the PAS for instance.

I must warn Khalid, however, that any attempt by him or the Felda authorities under his instruction to put unreasonable obstacles in the way of the establishment of the DAP branches in Felda schemes would be challenged, in Parliament, the State Assemblies, and if necessary in the courts of law.

Call for inquiry into the abortive Peremba deal by Fleet Group

The DAP calls for an inquiry into the abortive Peremba deal by Fleet Group, to ascertain whether public interest is being given priority by UDA and the Government to enforce its rights against Fleet Group for its failure to complete the sale-and-purchase agreement.

The Former Public enterprise Minister, Datin Rafidah Aziz, claimed that the sale-and-purchase agreement for Fleet Group to buy Peremba from UDA for $163 million in October 1985 was normal and ‘above board’.

What the Malaysian people want to know is that with the inability of Fleet Group to complete the sale-and-purchase agreement, whether UDA would enforce is claims against Fleet Group by insisting:

Firstly, that Fleet Group forfeit its $16 million of downpayment; and

Secondly, that Fleet Group, in accordance with the sale-and-purchase agreement, compensate UDA for the dimunition in value of the assets of Peremba during the period it was in the stewardship of Fleet Group, which had been calculated to be about $300 million; or whether Fleet Group would use its political influence to get UDA to waive both items.

I have given notice to raise the Fleet Group/Peremba issue in the first day of next month’s Parliamentary meting on Oct.12, for there are other issues which Malaysians are entitled to an answer, e.g. as to whether Peremba had used its 50 per cent ownership in the subsidiary, PGK Sdn.Bhd., (the other 50 per cent is owned by City Hall) to milk PGK as a ‘cash-cow’.