by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, May 3, 1991:
Call on Ting Chew Peh to stop evading and to declare whether his Ministry has any plane for a crash programme to rehouse the tenants who will be affected by the repeal of the Rent Control Act.
The Housing and Local Government Minister Dr. Ting Chew Peh, has said that the bill to repeal the Rent Control Act 1966 is unlikely to be ready for tabling in Parliament next month. The Minister said that the technical committeeon the repeal of the Rent Control Act was faced with thorny issues among which was the question of compensation for the affected tenants and sub- tenants.
This is a most extraordinary manner for a Ministry to go about reviewing a social legislation.
If Ting Chew Peh is right, that the technical committee had not completed its report as it is still unable to agree on important aspects of the issue, why is Ting Chew Peh so insistant that the Rent Control Act would be repealed?
Has this Technical Committee been given the widest scope and powers to review the Rent Control Act and study the entire socio- economic consequences of a repeal and to make recommendations, or had the Technical Committee been given only one term of reference: which is to propose measures as to how the Rent Control Act could be repealed?
If the Technical Committee has only one term of reference, as to the manner as to how the Rent Control Act should be repealed, this means that the Minister of Housing and Local Government had taken a policy decision to repeal the Rent Control Act without studying all the socio- economic implication of the decision.
If this is the case then Dr. Ting had acted in a most irresponsible and anti- social manner.
Before a policy decision is taken to repeal the Rent Control Act, there should be a fullest and widest discussion and debate on a such grave social issue, which concerns the basic human right of every Malaysian to have a roof over his head.
The question of quantum of compensation for the affected tenants and sub- tenants is a secondary issue. The primary issue is whether the Rent Control Act should be repealed at present, and the conditions which would justify such a repeal now.
As Dr. Ling Liong Sik said when he was chairman of the Rent Control Review Committee in 1976, to justify the repeal of the Rent Control Act, there should be adequate low- cost and low- priced housing for the tenants of the 39,000 rent control promises who would be thrown out into the streets.
Can Dr. Ting Chew Peh state with confidence that there are now adequate low- cost and low- priced houses for the tenants of pre- war premises? And what plane has the Housing Ministry to rehouse the tenants of the pre- war houses in the event of a repeal?
Dr. Ting should stop avading the issue and should declare clearly as to whether his Ministry has a crash- programme to rehouse the tenants of the 39, 000 rent control houses to justify the repeal of the Rent Control Act. Or is Dr. Ting suggesting that the tenants of the pre- war houses should be thrown into the streets after a paltry compensation, which he is asking the Technical Committee to work out?