Dap CEC meeting on 13th December will focus on land acquisition abuses, injustices and reforms

Press statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on 30 November 1994 at 11.30 am

Dap CEC meeting on 13th December will focus on land acquisition abuses, injustices and reforms

The DAP Central Executive Committee meeting on 13th December will focus on land acquisition abuses, injustices and reforms as the arbitrary, inequitable and unfair government acquisition of provate land for development by private companies and individuals have become one of the burning issues of the country.

The DAP CEC will discuss the strategy as to how to mobilise public support including support from Barisan Nasional parties to curb and end such land acquisition abuses and injustices.

The government handling of the widespread nation-wide protest against the arbitrary use of land acquisition powers to benefit private companies and individuals will become an acid test as to whether the Barisan Nasional government can be responsive to the cries for justice and fair play by the ordinary rakyat.

The Barisan Nasional government must be forewarned that it would become very umpopular and lose all credibility as a good government if it continues to turn a deaf ear to the land acquisition abuses and injustices in the various states and the increasing demand for safeguards and reforms to the Land Acquisition Act.

In parliament on 30th July 1991, all the four MCA Ministers, six MCA Deputy Minister and one MCA parliamentary secretary voted in full support of the Land Acquisition Amendment bill 1991 which gave the government new powers to acquire private land for private development. Their votes are fully recorded in the Hansard of 30th July 1991.

However, when the landowners, particularly smallholders, become the victims of such land acquisition powers, the four MCA Ministers, six MCA Deputy Ministers and one MCA Parliamentary secretary are nowhere to be seen or to be heard in defence of the rights of the ordinary rakyat for justice and fair play.

MCA ministers are the first to support Land Acquisition Amendment Act but are not bothered at Land acquisition abuses and injustices, whether over Second Johore-Singapore Link and second Johore baru township, or Seremban Ii project, or acquisition of Paya Mengkuang in Malacca.

In the Johore-Singapore Second Link and second Johore Baru township in Tanjong Kupang and Gelang Patah, a Johore MCA State Assemblyman had publicly said that the value of the acquired land in gelang patah for industrial purpose should be worth in the region of RM50 per sq. ft. as compared to RM75 per sq. ft. for industrial land in Johore baru or RM680 per sq. ft. in Singapore.

However, the affected smallholders in Gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang are being offered compensation of less than RM1 per sq. ft. on the ground that when they were acquired, they were mere agriculture land. This means that the United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) and its subsidiary Prolink, which will be carrying out the development project, will be making more than RM49 per sq. ft. than two million ringgit per acre from the acquired land.

This is most scandalous as the smallholders in gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang were advised by the Johore Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhyiddin yassin and the Information Minister Datuk Mohamed Rahmat in 1990 not to sell their land, when they were being offered RM100,000 per acre, on the ground that the land would fetch very much higher prices under the second Johore baru township plan as they would be converted into residential, commercial and industrial uses.

All the MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary failed to come out to the aid of the Gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang smallholders when they were offered such a raw deal as compensation for acquisition, although it was precisely because of their votes in parliament in support of the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Bill that these landowners have now become victims of land acquisition injustices.

The same applies in the case of the acquisition of 2,234 acres in negeri Sembilan for the Seremban II project, affecting 600 smallholders in mambau.

Not a single MCA Minister has come foreward to champion the rights of the affected smallholders in Mambau and if not for the DAP intervention in the past month, work on the Seremban II project by the development, Roadbuilder Bhd. would have started and the smallholders turned out of their land and properties.

Another glaring case is the land acquisition of the pig rearing area in paya Mengkuang in Malacca which boasts of having the most number of MCA life-members for any branch in the country.

Although the MCA Ministers are the first to put up their hands. In support of the Land Acquistion Amendment Act, they are not even the last to come foreward to defence the rights of the people whose land are bring arbitrarily and unfairly acquired. This is because the MCA Ministers simply do not bother in such cases.

This is why no MCA Minister had visited Paya Mengkuang in the past few years when there was the controversy created by the Malacca State government to impose a complete ban on pig rearing in that area, and why MCA Ministers had avoided visiting Paya Mengkuang when the Malacca State government abused land acquisition powers to ban pig rearing in the area.