Prai by-election Press Conference Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, 20th July 1991 at 11.30 a.m.
Tsu Koon’s pledge that Penang State Government would not abuse new powers under Land Acquisition Amendment Bill is totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable
Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon’s pledge that the Penang state government would not abuse the new powers under the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill is totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill confers new and untrammelled powers, which cannot be challenged in the courts, allowing the Government to compulsorily acquire land not for ‘public purpose’, but for the economic benefit of individuals or UMNO-controlled companies.
When it becomes law, lad of individuals, schools, trusts, societies and religious bodies would no more be safe – including the four Independent Chinese Secondary Schools in Penang, namely Chung Ling, Han Chiang, Por Tay and Jit Sin.
In fact, the Land Acquisition Amendment Act will become the mother of all corruption, abuses of power, conflict-of-interest and malpractices in Malaysia for the next 30 years until the Year 2020.
Dr. Koh said the State Government would not abuse these powers. This is a meaningless statement for the following three reasons:
Firstly, whenever such great powers are given to a Government which cannot be checked by the courts, it is open to abuse. It is never in the interest of the people to give a ‘black cheque’ to the government which can so jeopardise their basic rights.
This is why the Chinese community is so firm in its demand that Section 21(2) of the Education Act 1961 must go, for it gives power to the Education Minister to close down Chinese primary schools any time and convert them into national primary schools.
One of Dr. Koh’s mission when he joined the Barisan Nasional with the slogan of “Attack into the BN to rectify the BN” was to fight for the repeal of Section 21(2) of the Education Act, and to ensure that there are no such Section 21(2) provisions in any other law, for it will produce gross abuses of power.
Now Dr. Koh wants the Land Acquisition Act to be amended to have an equivalent of Section 21(2) provision except that Dr. Koh says that it would not be abused.
Dr. Koh’s assurance has no weight because the real power in the Penang State Government is Dr. Ibrahim power in the Penang State Government is Dr. Ibrahim Saad
Dr. Koh has indeed changed from his 1982 mission of ‘Attack into the BN to rectify the BN, for in 1982, he would have known that such a Land Acquisition Amendment Bill cannot be supported at all.’
Secondly, how are the people to believe in Dr. Koh’s assurance that the state Government would not abuse the wide powers conferred under the Land Acquisition Amendment Act.
In the past eight months, the people of Penang had seen the Penang state Government breaking one promise after another. The Penang state Government claims to be very caring about the welfare of the low-income people, but this did not stop it from launching a campaign of harassment, victimisation and persecution of the 20,000 hawkers in Penang.
The State Government could even tell the lie about the phantom Hawker’s Advisory Consultative Council.
Dr. Koh claims to be the champion of Chinese education and schools, yet in the State assembly last December, he voted against the DAP motion that the State Government give annual grants to the four Independent Chinese Secondary Schools.
MIC President, Datuk Samy Vellu, has not fulfilled his promise in the last general elections to give $700,000 to make Chai Leng Park as beautiful as the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, but Dr. Koh pretends to know nothing about it!
Who is Koh Tsu Koon to stop acquisition of land if UMNO-controlled companies want them for development
Thirdly, who is Dr. Koh to give such an assurance.
It is public knowledge of the deep involvement of UMNO and UMNO leaders in endless business deals. If companies controlled by national UMNO or Penang UMNO wants certain pieces of land in Penang for development, who is Dr. Koh to stop it?
Dr. Koh’s assurance therefore carries no weight because the real power in the Penang State Government is the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Saad.