Speech(Part 2)by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Kluang DAP Dinner held in Kluang on Friday, 22nd July 1994 at 7 pm to commemorate his 25th anniversary as an elected MP
DAP calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into abuses of power under Land Acquisition Amendment Act and land privatization deals like the RM380 million privatization of the 60-hectare Jalan Haji Manan in Kluang
The 1991, the DAP MPs in Parliament spearheaded opposition to the Land Acquisition Amendment Act, warning that the amendments would lead to gross abuses detrimental to the interests and rights of ordinary Malaysians.
Until the 1991 amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, the power of the State Authority to compulsorily acquire land under private ownership was confined to cases where the land was needed for a public purpose or public utility.
After the amendment, there are more and more instances of private lands being acquired by State Governments from ordinary people in the name of ‘economic development’ and ‘public purpose’ which were really meant for private development and the profit-making of favoured individuals.
Together with the abuses of power under the Land Acquisition Act, there are also ore instances where the 4,000 people in the 501 houses affected by the project have not been given any fair compensation or resettlement scheme before the State Government initiated eviction action.
A good case in point is the Johore State Government’s privatization of Jalan Haji Manan in Kluang for a RM380 million commercial and residential complex at the 60 hectare site where the 4,000 people in the 501 houses affected by the project have not been given any fair compensation or resettlement scheme before the State Government initiated eviction action.
In a notice dated May 30 this year, the Jalan Haji Mnan residents were given one month notice by the Johore State Government to vacate their premises by June 30.
This was the first official notice that the Johore State Government had given to the Jalan Haji Manan residents that they must give way for the RM380 million commercial and residential complex which the Johore State Government had privatized to a private company.
To give the 4,000 people only one month notice to vacate their premises is highly irresponsible, because they are not illegal squatters but T.O.L holders with a history of seventy to eighty years at Jalan Haji Manan.
When I visited Jalan Haji Manan last month, I met one resident in his sixties who had been born there – and I will not be surprised if there are those who are seventy or eighty years old who were torn there too.
The houseowners at Jalan Haji Manan paid quit rent for their TOL to the State Government every year till 1982. From 1983-86, the State Government had also suspended collection of quit rent for three years, but subsequently resumed the TOL quit rent collection together with the arrears for those three years.
The Jalan Haji Manan occupiers also paid assessment rates for this year.
Under the circumstances, the legal position of the 4,000 Jalan Haji Manan people cannot be questioned, and to give one month notice for the shops to wind up their business for decades and to give the owners and tenants 30 days to find alternative accommodation without any compensation settlement is a most high-handed and oppressive action.
Although the quit notice has been extended till after June 30, it is completely unacceptable that the Johore State Government could give one-month quit notice to evict the 4,000 people at Jalan Haji Manan in Kluang – when they had been staying there for as long as 70-80 years and been paying TOL quit rent and assessment rates.
I call on the Johore Mentri Besar, Tan Sro Mohyideen Yasin to make public all details of Jalan Haji Manan privatization deal with the developer, JU-ICHI ENTERPRISE SDN. BHD. as any privatization of the 60 hectares of Jalan Haji Manan should not be carried out at the expense of the 4,000 people in the area.
Johore DAP Assemblymen had raised the issue of the Jalan Haji Manan privatization in the Johore State Assembly early this month and I am waiting for the budget debate at the end of the year to focus in Parliament on the Johore Haji Manan privatization deal.
The abuses of power under the Land Acquisition Act as well as land privatization deals are becoming more and more rampant throughout the country and DAP calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into all these abuses and to allow the victims of unfair compulsory land acquisitions or land privatization deals to forward their complaints an grievances.
Call on all Malaysians who have complaints and grievances about compulsory land acquisitions and land privatization deals to pass those particulars to me for highlighting in Parliament
Although there are speculation that general elections could be held this year, most probably in October, I think the chances of Parliament meeting in October for the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to present the 1995 budget are also quite high.
In the budget meeting in Parliament, DAP will make the abuses of government power in the compulsory land acquisitions and land privatization deals the central issue, and in this debate, I will use the Jalan Haji Manan Kluang privatization deal as one of the examples of such abuses.
I call on Malaysians all over the country who have complaints and grievances about compulsory land acquisitions and abuses in land acquisition deals to furnish me with their particulars so that I could present as comprehensive and detailed a case in Parliament during the budget debate at the end of October to demand for greater protection for the public from such abuses of power.