by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, December 28 1994:
The Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar should sign a public undertaking committing the State Government to use consultation’ and renouncing the use of ‘force’ through the inequitable process of the Land Acquisition Act to resolve the Seremban II land acquisition controversy
The MCA Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Wong See Wah, has claimed that the Negri Sembilan State Exco has accepted the MCA representation that the Seremban II land acquisition controversy involving some 600 smallholders at Mambau, Rasah and Labu would be resolved through the ‘consultation’ process.
As the record of the Negri Sembilan MCA on the Seremban II land acquisition controversy for over a year has been one of broken promises and failures to defend the legitimate rights and interests of the 600 smallholders whose 2,234 acres are earmarked for the Seremban II land acquisition project, the latest claim by Wong See Wah must be subject to close scrutiny.
The Negri Sembilan MCA State leadership, for instance, failed to ensure that the rights of the 600 smallholders would get full protection when the Negri Sembilan State Exco, with the full support of the Negri Sembilan MCA State Exco members, decided in September 1993 to acquire the 2,234 acres of land for the Seremban II project.
What the Negri Sembilan PiCA state leadership should have done before the MCA gave its agreement at the Negri Sembilan State Exco meeting in September 1993 to the acquisition of 2,234 acres for Seremban II project was to get the Negri Sembilan State Government to make public the full details of the Seremban II project, as well as to secure a full undertaking from the Negri Sembilan State Exco that the legitimate rights and interests of the 600 smallholders – both with regard to their development rights and fair land compensations – would he fully respected.
The Negri Sembilan MCA state leadership failed to secure both these safeguards – and even up to now, the full details of the Seremban II project has not been publicised.
It is only after the DAP intervened two months ago to secure for the 600 affected smallholders greater justice that the MCA leadership has now claimed that it had got the agreement of the State Exco to resolve the issue through ‘consultation’ !
It is clear that if the DAP had not intervened in the past two months, both the Negri Sembilan State Government and the MCA leadership would have no time for ‘consultation’ and would have left the entire issue to be resolved through the process laid down by the Land Acquisition Act, however inequitable and unfair this would be to the affected landowners.
While I welcome the statement by Wong See Wah that the Negri Sembilan State Exco has agreed to resolve the Seremban II land acquisition land controversy by ‘consultation’ and not solely through the unfair process of the Land Acquisition Act., the smallholders are entitled to seek clarifications and assurances to ensure that the Negri Sembilan MCA leadership is not up to some new ‘tricks’.
For instance, if the State Government had genuinely decided to use ‘consultation’ to resolve the Seremban II Land Acquisition controversy, the Seremban Police would not have mobilised 200 FRU and police personnel two weeks ago just because the police got word that the affected Seremban II smallholders would be distributing leaflets to explain their case for opposing the Sereraban II land acquisition.
The MCA leadership should therefore answer the following two questions:
* Firstly, is the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Haji Mohamad Isa Abdul Samad, prepared to confirm Wong See Wah’s claim and commit the Negri Sembilan State Government to resolve the Seremban II land acquisition controversy through consultation and to renounce the use of ‘force’ through the unfair process under the Land Acquisition Act?
* Secondly, will Mohamad Isa sign within a week a public undertaking committing the Negri Sembilan State Government to use ‘consultation’ and renounce the use at ‘force’ through the inequitable process of the Land Acquisition Act to resolve the Seremban II land acquisition controversy?
Timing is of the essence here, for the affected smallholders and the public do not want the MCA to use ‘delaying tactics’ to drag out the issue until after the next general elections, when the State Government with the support of the MCA could disregard the legitimate rights of the affected smallholders and rely solely on the inequitable process of the Land Acquisition Act to implement the Seremban II project by displacing and evicting the smallholders from their land and properties.