Speech by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang at the inaugural meeting of the DAP National Land Committee to Defend Land Rights of Malaysian held in Petaling Jaya on Saturday. 17th December, 1994 at 8pm
Call on Barisan MPs with social conscience to attend meeting in Parliament on Monday to Forum All-Party Parliamentary Forum on Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices
The inaugural meeting of the DAP National Committee to Defend Land Rights of Malaysians is a historic meeting as it is an important step to crystallize public opposition to land acquisition abuses and injustices into a national movement to demand for just and equitable amendments to the land acquisition law
The National Committee to Defend Land Rights of Malaysians has been formed three years after the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Act flowing nation-wide abuses of the property rights of Malaysians.
This has been admitted yesterday by the Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik although he has declined to name the states where such abuses and injustices have taken place.
The National Committee has been formed at an important juncture as after the general elections which is expected any time, land acquisition abuses and injustices will multiply many fold if the people do not send a very clear message to the Barisan Nasional government that they have had enough of the injustices created by the land acquisition law.
The best time to check land acquisition abuses and injustices as well as to demand for reforms to the land acquisition law is now as this is the time when the Barisan Nasional Government will have to be most sensitive to the wishes and the needs of the people.
When the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Bill was presented to Parliament, most MPs, including from the Barisan Nasional, had grave reservations about the new powers which allow the state government to acquire land not for public purpose but for private development by private companies or individuals.
However, as the Barisan Nasional applied the whip, all Barisan MPs fully voted in support of the Bill.
The last three years have proved these initial reservations of the MPs, including those from the Barisan Nasional to be right, as there is now a long list of such land acquisition abuses and injustices.
The solemn promise given by Ghafar Baba in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister in 1991 to protect the legitimate rights and interests of smallholders and small landowners whose properties are acquired for private development have not been honoured. His undertaking that such smallholders would be given the opportunity to take part in the development of their land have also been forgotten.
I hope that the Barisan MPs who had reservations about supporting the 1991 Land Acquisition Amendment Bill will now come forward and work with all other MPs to speak up against all forms of land acquisition abuses and injustices.
I call on Barisan MPs with social conscience to attend the meeting in Parliament on Monday to form an All-Party Parliamentary Forum on Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices.
MPs are responsible for making the Land Acquisition Act 1991 into law and they have a greater responsibility than anyone else to oppose and redress land acquisition abuses and injustices.
Tengku Razaleigh will address the National Conference on Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices on 8th January, 1995
Barisan MPs with social conscience would not only attend Monday’s meeting in Parliament but should also attend the National Conference on Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices planned at the Federal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on January 8.
This National Conference will not only be attended by smallholders and small landowners, whose land have been inequitably acquired as in the Gelang Patah and Tanjong Kupang in Johore, Seremban II in Negri Sembilan, Pantai Kundur and Pantai Tanab Merah, Paya Mengkuang, Ayer Salak, Kuala Sungai Baru in Malacca, arid other cases but should also be attended by all political leaders who are concerned about the issue.
Semangat 46 President and MP for Gua Musang, Tengku Razaleiqh Hamzah will address the National Conference on Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices on January 8. I hope that the leaders from all other political parties, including from the Barisan Nasional – in particular the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had said political leaders must dare to stand up and speak up against all forms of injustices – will also attend this conference.
The Association of Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) which passed a resolution last month calling for safeguards against land acquisition abuses and injustices should also send representatives to this conference to give their views.
The Malacca, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Selangor/Federal Territory Chinese Chambers of Commerce which jointly sponsored this resolution at the ACCI general meeting in Penang should also be represented at the conference.