Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on the 1992 Budget debate on the Prime Minister’s Department on Wednesday, 27th November 1991
DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Government to ensure that the 17,000 people affected by the UEM’s $2.3 Billion Second Johore – Singapore Link project become beneficiaries and not victims of development
I refer to Unit Perancang Ekonomi (B7 02000) which according to the Anggaran Belanjawan Program dan Prestasi 1992 is responsible for the policy and process of privatesation in the country – “merancang dan melaksanakan Dasar Penswastaan Kerajaan melalui penubuhan Pasukan penswastaan untuk mengkaji dan melaksanakan cadangan – candangan penswastaan daripada pihak kerajaan dan swasta demi menjayakan Dasar Penswastaan Kerajaan.”
Last Friday, together with Johore Dap and Semangat 46 leaders, I visited the Malay kampongs in Gelang Patah which will be affected by the $2.3 billion Second Johore – Singapore project which had been privatised to United Engineers Malaysia (UEM).
Some of the Malay kampongs we visited were Kampong Ladang, Tanjung Kupang, kampong Pendas Laut, Kampong Pok, Kampong Tanjung Adang, Kampong Pekajang and Gelang Patah.
We also visited the site at Tanjung Kupang opposite Tuas in Singapore which has been selected as the site for the Second Link in Johore.
From our visit, it is clear that the 17,000 people who will be affected by the UEM’s Second Link Project are full of anxiety and uncertainly about their future, their livelihood and whether they could preserve their traditional kampong way of life.
DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional government to ensure that the 17,000 people affected by the UEM’s $2.3 billion Second Link project become beneficiaries and not victims of development.
In implementing the Second Link project, the Barisan Nasional government and UEM should fully understand and respect the legitimate rights and demands of the 170,000 people in the 19 kampongs affected by the project.
The people in the 19 kampongs have good reasons to be worried that instead of becoming beneficiaries of development, they will become the victims, with all the fruits of development acrruing only to UEM and the handful who are the real owners of UEM.
UMNO leaders misled the people of Gelang Patah about the UEM’s decision to site the Second Link during last year’s general elections.
Their worries and fears stem from the following factors:
Firstly, the manner of the award of the privatisation of the Johore – Singapore Second Link to UEM without any open tender, considering the political background of UEM. The UEM is where it is today solely because of its political background and connections, though it is not the ordinary UMNO membership who will benefit but a handful of privileged UMNO leaders.
Secondly, the UMNO leaders misled the people of Gelang Patah about the UEM’s decision to site the Second Link in their area during the general elections last year.
The decision to site the UEM’s Second Link project in Gelang Patah was taken by the UMNO leaders and UEM before the October general elections last year. However, the UMNO leaders deliberately misled the people of Gelang Patah by hiding this decision from their knowledge, and the Information minister, Datuk Mohamed Rahmat, who was seeking re-election as MP for Pulai, even promised during the general elections campaign that he would not allow the land of the Malay kampongs to be acquired!
Immediately after the October general elections, the UMNO leaders made public that the UEM’s Second Link would be sited in Gelang Patah.
Secondly, the UMNO leaders had completely ignored the feelings and rights of the people in the 19 kampongs inGelang Patah to be consulted in a project which would involve the disposession of their tanah pusaka, the loss of their present means of livelihood and the destruction of their traditional kampong way of life.
I was told during my visit last Friday that some of the kampongs have a history which go as far back as 200 years.
When asked by some kampong people in Gelang Patah what would be their future after their land had been taken by UEM, one State UMNO leader told them that it was their problem to seek a new way of life after they had been paid compensation by UEM.
Thirdly, the low compensation offered for acquisition of the 26,000 hectares required by UEM for the Second Link and a new township project.
The kampong people were told by UMNO leaders that they would be offered $17,000 per hectare – when some kampong land in the area are being offered ten times this amount at the market price.
The kampong people are very bitter and opposed to this compensation offer as it would not enable a household with an average of five acres, getting about $34,000, to establish a new life. A low – cost house is already $ 25,000 to $ 30,000 in Johore Bahru – and what would be lost is not just their tanah pusaka, but their livelihood and the traditional kampong way of life.
DAP calls on UMNO leaders to reveal what profits would be made by UEM in the Second Link and new Township projects.
It is most unfair to the 19 kampongs in Gelang Patah that the Barisan Nasional government specially amended the Land Acquisition Act in Parliament to disallow the kampong people to challenge the land acquisition for the UEM’s Second Link project in a court of law.
DAP calls on the UMNO leaders to make public the profits the UEM is expected to make from the Second Link and new Township project, and to ensure that apart from fair compensation for any land acquired in Gelang Patah, the 17,000 people share in the benefits and profits of the UEM’s privatisation and development programme in Gelang Patah.
Call on Othman Abdul to resign as Parliamentary Secretary for being director of a company in 1989, 1990 and early 1991 after he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in 1987 and investigations by the ACA
I now refer to B 11 on Anti – Corruption Agency whose object is to “mencegah dan menghapuskan segala bentuk rasuah, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan penyelewengan yang ditegah oleh undang – undang agar hasrat kerajaan untuk memberi perkhidmatan yang cekap, bersih dan amanah tercapai.”
The Prime Minister has said that Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries should set a good example for a honest, clean and moral administration by divesting themselves of their shareholdings, but we have a Parliamentary Secretary who not only did not divest his shareholdings, but continued as Director of a company in 1989, 1990 and early 1991 when he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in 1987.
I remember that during the July debate in the Dewan Rakyat on the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill, when I said the amendment would be ‘the mother of all corruption, abuses of power, conflict – of – interest and unethical malpractices’, several Barisan Nasional members, both in the front and back bench, tried to interrupt my speech with yells and even vulgar and indecent signs.
I said that although Barisan Nasional Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and MPs claim that they would never abuse their powers, I had proof otherwise and I produced a sheaf of papers, showing that one of them continued to be a director of a company, Kurnia Damai Sdn. Bhd., although he was a Member of the Administration.
I asked this person to have the courage to stand up and own up, for this is a violation of his oath of office. There was complete silence, and the person I referred to slunk into his seat and never interrupted me or any DAP MP for the rest of the debate. In fact, he stayed out of the Chambere until voting time.
This person however is back with his vulgar signs and boasts. The person I am referring to is the MP for Pendang and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Othman Abdul, who continued to be a director of Kurnia Damai Sdn. Bhd. in 1989,1990 and early 1991 although he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in 1987.
This is not a case of forgetfulness, where the Parliamentary Secretary forgot that he was a director of Kurnia Damai after his government appointment. This is because according to the records of the Registry of Companies, Kurnia Damai Sdn. Bhd. was incorporated on 16th August 1989 with the nature of business stated as “general trading, property investment, building and construction” – well after his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary.
According to the Registry of Companies Record as at 11.3.91, Othman Abdul was still director, and his occupation was given as ‘businessman’. Did the Prime Minister give special dispensation to Othman Abdul to double up as business while holding the office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department?
Instead of divesting shares as directed by the Prime Minister, Othman Abdul acquired or was vested with 3,1000001 shares of Kurnia Damai Sdn. Bhd. on the incorporation of the company.
To uphold a clean, honest and moral government, I call on the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department and MP for Pendang, Othman Abdul, to resign as Parliamentary Secretary because he was director of Kurnia Damai Sdn. Bhd. in 1989, 1990 and early 1991 although he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in 1987, and I also call on the Anti – Corruption Agency to ppen investigations into the MP for Pendang.