Press statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, Petaling Jaya on Monday. 28 November 1994
DAP calls on Anwar Ibrahim to intervene in the Johore – Singapore Second link and Johore Baru Second New Town-ship land acquisition controversy involving 33,000 acres to honour Ghafar Baba’s promise that the smallholders will not become the victims of development
DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Government to present. an urgent bill to amend the Land Acquisition Act in the current meeting of Parliament before Christmas to end abuses and malpractices of government land acquisition.
There have been more and more cases of government land acquisition for development by the private sector which will end up in fantastic profits for private companies individuals while private land owners become the victims of such development.
Yesterday I was in Gelang Patah in Johore and met hundreds of smallholders from Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah whose kind are being acquired by the Johore state government for the Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing end the new Johore Baru Satelite Town.
Although the Malaysian public have the impression that the land acquisition 33,000 acres of land in Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah for the Second Crossing and the second Johore Barn Township has been satisfactory resolved. I found from my visit to Gelang Patah yesterday that this is completely untrue..
The overwhelming majority of the Malay and Chinese smallholders who are affected by the land acquisition publicly expressed their opposition to the government land acquisition deal and this was why for the first time, they formed a Joint Action Committee comprising both Malay and Chinese smallholders to fight for justice.
The Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah smallholders, both Malay and Chinese, are ‘up in arms’ against the land acquisition because of four reasons : –
* Firstly, the affected smallholders whose 33,000 acres of land are being acquired have not been fully informed of the Second Crossing and second Johore Baru Township plan, which is a violation of the principles of accountability and transparency:
* Secondly, the affected landowners are given a very raw deal as they are offered compensation averaging RM26, 000 per acre when according to independent valuation, the market price could fetch as high as RM100, 000 to RM200, 000 per acre;
* Thirdly, the affected smallholders had been misled by the Johore Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Information Minister Datuk Mohamad Rahmat who had advised them in 1990 not to sell their land which was fetching the price of RM100,000 per acre on the ground that they will get better price under the proposed Second Link and second Johore Baru Township project;
* Fourthly, the affected landowners have not been given the option of using their land to participate in the development of the Second Crossing and the second Johore Baru Township so that they could also enjoy in the fruits of the development of their properties.
DAP calls on the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to intervene in the Johore-Singapore Second Link and the second Johore Baru new township land acquisition controversy involving 33,000 acres, which is probably the biggest land acquisition for private development in the country so far.
Anwar should ensure that the promise given by the former Deputy Prime Minister Ghafar Baba in Parliament in July 1991 that Malaysian land owners will not become victims of development in cases of land acquisition for private sector projects is honoured.
Anwar should order a full review of the land acquisition controversy in Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah to give justice to the affected smallholders and in particular to inquire why the Johore Mentri Besar and the Information Minister had misled the smallholders from selling their land at a higher market price in 1990 as compared to the compensation now offered to them by the state government.
Anwar should also find out why the smallholders not only in the Johore Baru land acquisition controversy but also in all other land acquisition issues have, no confidence whatsoever in the courts as they believe they cannot get justice through the present legal process.
The Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik said in April this year that the affected landowners should appoint their own values to give a valuation of the compensation they are entitled to from the land acquisition.
Gerakan and MCA Ministers and MPs should call for repeal of Land Acquisition Amendment Act 1991 as ‘untying of the bell depends on the person who ties the bell’
Unfortunately, although the affected landowners have appointed independent valuers, their valuation have been completely rejected by the state government which would only offer 40 to 50 percent, or even less, of the quantum assessed by the independent valuers.
The root cause of the problem faced by the smallholders in Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah is the Land Acquisition Amendment Act passed by Parliament in August 1991, with the full support from all UMNO. MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs.
As a result of this amendment, the people of Malaysia have lost their constitutional right to property, and anytime their land could be acquired arbitrarily by the state government to be handed to the private sector for development which will create a fortune for the lucky few.
The only way to protect the rights of the smallholders in Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah, as well as all Malaysians with regard to their constitutional right to property, is for the repeal of the Land Acquisition Amendment. Act 1991 to protect Malaysians from inequitable and arbitrary land acquisition for the benefit of the private sector.
As it has been said, the ‘untying of the bell depends on the person who ties the bell’. This means that the real answer to the problems faced by the people of Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah, as well as others faced with arbitrary and inequitable land acquisition as in Pantai Kundur, Pantai ‘Tanah Merah, Paya Mengkuang. Ayer Salak, Kuala Sungai Baru in Malacca, and the Seremban II township in Negeri Sembilan is for the UMNO, MCA, and Gerakan Ministers and MPs to repeal the 1991 Land Acquisition Act immediately.
This is why the DAP is calling on the Barisan Nasional government to rush to Parliament an urgent amendment bill to the Land Acquisition Act to curb and end all abuses and malpractices of government land acquisitions and such a bill should be presented before the end of the current meeting of Parliament by Christmas.
The DAP is prepared to give full co-operation and support to the Gerakan and MCA if they are prepared to stand firm in Cabinet and Government to oppose the blatant abuses and malpractices of government land acquisitions and demand the repeal of the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Act.