by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, January 13 1995:
Challenge to Anwar Ibrahim to explain how the Nine Principles adopted by the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices on Sunday to strike a fairer balance between development needs and the property rights of Malaysians is anti-development
The outburst of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the launching of the Bank Simpanan Nasional Trust Fund (ASBSN) accusing the Opposition for being ‘narrow-minded’ on development issues, is most uncharacteristic and unwarranted.
Anwar should not make wild and general allegations against the Opposition but should spell out facts and instances against any opposition party he wants to criticise.
I suspect Anwar’s outburst yesterday is connected to the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices organised by the DAP at the Federal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, which was most successful and historic as it was attended by over 1,000 people of all races from all over the country completely at their own expense.
I had subsequently sent the Resolution adopted by the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices incorporating the Nine Principles for a more just and equitable land acquisition law, policy and approach to Anwar Ibrahim asking him to raise the widespread nation-wide unhappiness at the land acquisition abuses for Cabinet discussion and decision.
If Anwar disagrees with the Nine Principles adopted by the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices to strike a fairer balance between development needs and the property rights of Malaysians, I challenge him to explain that are the principles he find objectionable and anti-development instead of making general, blanket and wild allegations that the Opposition is anti-development.
It will be very sad if Anwar Ibrahim has reached a stage where he has become a champion of ‘development for development’s sake’, utterly in disregard of the considerations of justice, equity and fair play.
Anwar should take note that in the Resolution adopted by the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices, it was stressed that the Nine Principles for a more just and equitable land acquisition law were formulated not to block or impede ‘development’, but to ensure that development is carried out with justice and equity.
As the Resolution had further stressed, the Nine Principles were formulated to ensure that the smallholders and landowners affected by land acquisitions do not become ‘victims of development’ but could become full and active ‘partners and participants in the development process’ and in particular in the development of their own land.
Call on Anwar to make public the Guideline on Land Acquisition binding on all State Governments to prevent land acquisition abuses and injustices
Anwar is the Cabinet Minister who has spoken most about ‘justice’ and ‘equity’, and as much, he should initiate a nation-wide discussion and government examination of the Nine Principles for a fairer and more equitable land acquisition law, policy and approach.
After the controversial Land Acquisition Amendment Act was passed by Parliament in July 1991 – purely on the votes of the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs – the Federal Government announced that the Cabinet had decided to formulate a Guideline on Land Acquisition binding on all state governments to ensure that there would be no land acquisition abuses and injustices.
Up to now, however, such a Guideline on Land Acquisition had never been made public, and nobody knows whether it had been formulated in the first place.
Can Anwar Ibrahim live up to his calls for greater government openness, accountability and transparency by making public this Guideline on Land Acquisition binding on all state governments, and if not why not?