by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, February 3, 1995:
I will definitely visit Gua Musang on Sunday at 3 pm to understand at first-hand the problems of the Tanah Putin, Gua Musang illegal farmers although I have not received a reply from Choong Tai Onn
I will definitely visit Gua Musang on Sunday at 3 p.m. to understand at first-hand the problems of the Tanah Putih, Gua Musang illegal fanners although I have not received a reply from Choong Tai Onn, Secretary of the Gua Musang Branch of ‘the National Smallholders Association.
Cheong Tai Onn wrote to me in a letter dated 14th December 1994 but which did not reach me until 26 days later asking me to visit Gua Musang to understand the problem of the Tanah Putih, Gua Musang farmers.
Last Thursday, I cabled Cheong Tai Onn that I would visit Gua Musang on Sunday to meet the Tanah Putih farmers.
Tanah Putih, Gua Musang farmers who have titles to their land should make-ready photostat copies, as the DAP is prepared to institute instant legal action against the Kelantan State Government if there is a single case of acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation.
If any Tanah Putih, Gua Musang farmer can produce land titles to prove that the Kelantan State Government had acquired land winder the Land Acquisition Act without compensation. I will announce at Gua Musang on Sunday that the DAP will provide legal assistance free of charge to sue the Keianten State Government, even if the farmer is a MCA member or official.
As far as the DAP is concerned, we are prepared to defend the legal and constitutional rights of all Malaysians, regardless of his party affiliation – and this is why the DAP would have no hesitation in instituting legal action on behalf of a farmer whose land had been acquired by the Kelantan State Government under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation, even if he is a MCA member or official.
After all a MCA member or official is first and foremost a Malaysian and whose legal and constitutional rights must remain sacred and inviolate.
Although landless farmers illegally occupying state land is a completely different case from Land Acquisition Act abuses and injustices, landless farmers who had invested their life-earnings for ten or twenty years in cultivation on state land should also be treated with justice and consideration.
This has always been the stand of the DAP over the years, and this is why the DAP had championed the right, of the landless fanners for justice and fair play in the various states in the country in the last three decades, although in most of the cases, it was the MCA State Executive Councillors who were responsible for supporting the decisions to evict the illegal farmers sometimes without notice and under circumstances without compassion or humanitarian considerations.
This was why in the 1980s, on behalf of the DAP, I brought the case of the 1,500 smallholders in Kuala Kabong Johore to Parliament. These smallholders had invested their earnings, labour, sweat and toil for 20 years to open up and cultivate 20,000 acres in central Johore, planting rubber, oil palm, vegetable, etc but when the time case for the harvesting of their crops, the Johore State Government deployed police and armed forces to seize and cordon off the 20,000 acres and evicted the 1,500 smallholder families, denying the smallholder families the right to harvest their crops.
Adding insult to injury, the State Government sub-contracted out the harvesting of the crops in the 20,000 acres to benefit from the smallholders’ opening up of the 20,000 acres for 20 years!