Tuan Yang di Pertua,
YB Tan Sri,
Usul di bawah Peraturan Majiis Mesyuarat 18(1) untuk perkara tertentu berkenaan kepentingan orang ramai yang berkehendak disegerakan ke atas demonstrasi 400 land owners outside the Neqeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s office in Seremban yesterday in protest against the arbitrary, inequitable and oppressive acquisition of 2,234 acres of their land for Seremban II satellite township project
Di bawah Peraturan Majlis Mesyuarat ke 18(2), dengan ini diberi notis bahawa saya ingin mengusulkan bahawa Majlis Dewan ditangguhkan untuk usui tertentu berkenaan kepentingan orang ramai yang dikehendaki disegerakan:
“That this House gives leave to the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and MP for Tanjong, YB Lim Kit Siang, to adjourn the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the demonstration of 400 landowners outside the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s office in Seremban yesterday in protest against the arbitrary inequitable and oppressive acquisition of 2,234 acres of their land for Seremban II satellite township project, because of the following grounds;
“(i) The demonstration of the 400 landowners outside the. Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s office yesterday in protest against the state government acquisition of 2,234 acres of their land for Seremban II satellite township project is the latest public manifestation of popular outrage against arbitrary, inequitable and oppressive government acquisition of private land not for public purpose but for development to profit private companies and individuals, such as the cases of land acquisition in Pantai Kundur, Pantai Tanah Merah, Ayer Salak New Village, Kuala Sungai Barn, and Paya Mengkuang in Malacca, Bath Kawan in Penang and in Kedah for the subsequently aborted Jerai International Park.
“(ii) The proposed land acquisition of 2,234 acres of land in Rasah, Mambau and Labu, Negeri Sembulan is a violation of the solemn promise given by the former Prime Minister Ghafar Baba when presenting the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Bill that there will be no abuses of power or disregard of the legitimate rights of ordinary Malaysians in the use of land acquisition powers because:
(a) When the Negeri Sernbilan state government gazetted its intention to acquire 2,234 acres of private land on 28th April this year and until the present time, there has been no proper announcement or consultation with the affected landowners by the government with regard to the Seremban II project. In fact, the people of Seremban are completely in the dark about the massive Seremban II project and no details of the project have ever been presented to the Negeri Sembilan State Assembly. There was also completely no mention of the proposed Seremban II project in the recently approved Serernban Structure Plan.
The speed with which the Seremban II project is been pushed in utter disregard of the democratic principles of accountability and transparency has reinforced doubts and fears that both the public interest mid their legitimate rights are being sacrificed for the benefit of a select few, as the developer for the Seremban II project has not only been selected hut has established its administrative offices on the site in question.
(b) The affected landowners have not been offered a fair compensation.
In July, the first batch of 44 landowners were summoned to the land office and told of the offer of compensation which averaged from RM27,000 to RM30,000 per acre although the highest offer was for RM5O,000 per acre for one particular ease.
The affected landowners were told orally that if they did not object to the land acquisition compensation, the government would increase the quantum of compensation to the range between RM43, 000 to RM60, 000 per acre.
However, all the affected smallholders whose land were being acquired objected, as the state government had never made any prior announcement about such a massive project as the new Seremban Town II project, and it was clear that it would be a favoured private developer who would reap huge profits from the project.
According to one calculation, the developer stands to net profits to the tune of billions of Iinggit from the Seremban II project.
The affected landowners sought the help of the MCA and met the MCA Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Wong See Wah four times, before they decided to demonstrate outside the Negeri Sembilan Menteni Besar’s office yesterday. Instead of getting more help, all that Wong See Wah could offer the affected landowners was the return to the original compensation quantum averaging RM27, 000 to RM30, 000 for most landowners together with a ten percent increase. This is very much less then the oral offer to increase the quantum of compensation to $43,000 to RM60, 000 if the affected landowners relinquish all rights to objection.
This is a classic example where instead of getting help from the MCA, the deal offered by the MCA Deputy Minister was even worse than that proposed by the Land Office and the landowners might as well have accepted the oral offer in July in the first place.
The affected smallholders object to the quantum of compensation as the market price for their land is easily three to four times the government offer.
(c) The affected landowners should be given the option of participating in the dee1opment of Seremban II project so that they can also enjoy the fruit of the development of their property.
(iii) In the public interest, Parliament must immediately rectify the injustices arising from the arbitrary deprivation of the constitutional right to property of Malaysians as well as the violation of the solemn Promise made by the then Deputy Prime Minister in Parliament in 1991 that there will be no abuses of power in land acquisitions.
There is no better parliamentary remedy to prevent abuses of power in land acquisition cases than the establishment of a parliamentary committee headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Ghafar Baba to ensure that the government honours the parliamentary pledge on land acquisition made by Ghafar Baba when he was Deputy Prime Minister.
(iv) If no immediate action is taken to give justice to landowners adversely affected by government land acquisitions, public discontent rind frustration will snowball resulting in the total loss of respect of the law by ordinary Malaysians, arid the demonstration in Seremban yesterday will be repeated throughout the country in the weeks, months and years to come by aggrieved and disaffected Malaysians who have become victims of a most arbitrary, inequitable and oppressive land acquisition law..
Yesterday, as a result of the demonstration outside the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s office before the weekly state exco meeting, for the first time in the history of Negeri Sembilan, the weekly exco meeting was cancelled and the Negeri Sembilan state government staged a ‘empty fort’ stratagem where nobody of importance was around to meet the demonstrators.
(v) For the above reason, the land acquisition for Seremban II project has. become a test ease whether the Barisan Nasional government will honour the C3hafar I1aha pledge that there will be no abuses of power in land acquisition cases and until a satisfactory settlement has been reached with the affected landowners, the Cabinet should issue a directive to freeze all developments of the Seremban II project, and the affected landowners should not be regarded as illegal squatters and be allowed to continue to enjoy their property rights including their rights to the rubber, durians and other crops on their land.
(Lim Kit Siang)
Parliamentary Opposition Leader