by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, February 4, 1995:
DAP is prepared to form a joint legal panel with MCA and Gerakan to sue Kelantan State Government for illegal and unconstitutional acquisition of Tanah Putih land under Land Acquisition Act without compensation
My invitation to the MCA President, Datuk Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to jointly visit Gua Musang with me tomorrow at 3 p.m. to meet and understand the land problems of the Tanah Putih farmers still stands, and I hope that they will make the special trip to Gua Musang tomorrow.
The MCA National Publicity Bureau had alleged that the Kelantan State Government had acquired 1,000 acres of 500 Chinese smallholders at Tanah Putih, Gua Musang under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation, and the visit to Gua Musang tomorrow is to establish whether the Kelantan State Government had deprived the rights of 500 Chinese smallholders in illegally and unconstitutionally acquiring their land under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation.
I will announce in Gua Musang tomorrow that the DAP will provide free legal service to any Tanah Putih farmer – regardless of whether he is a MCA member or official – to sue the Kelantan State Government once documentary evidence is presented that his land had been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation, and that such legal action would be instituted immediately without any delay.
The DAP is prepared to form a joint legal panel with MCA and Gerakan to sue Kelantan State Government for illegal and unconstitutional acquisition of Tanah Putih land under Land Acquisition Act without compensation and this is why Liong Sik and Keng Yaik’s presence in Gua Musang tomorrow is useful and essential.
Their visit will also demonstrate that the MCA and Gerakan Presidents are really concerned about the legal and constitutional rights of the Malaysian Chinese and are prepared to work with DAP for a common objective – in this case, to sue the Kelantan State Government for its illegal and unconstitutional action in acquiring land under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation.
For a common objective to defend the constitutional rights of the people and in the interests of the country, the DAP is prepared to work with MCA and Gerakan – although I do not know whether the MCA and Gerakan are prepared to similarly reciprocate.
If there is not a single case of Tanah Putih fanner in Gua Musang whose land had been acquired by the Kelantan State Government under the Land Acquisition Act without compensation, then in all fairness, the MCA and Gerakan leadership should publicly apologise for misleading the public about the issue for the past month.
There are over 4 million hectares of arable land in Malaysia which could be alienated to the landless farmers so that they could have land for cultivation
However, the visit to Gua Musang tomorrow will not be confined to Land Acquisition Act abuses and injustices by the Kelantan State Government, but will also deal with the larger question of land justice for Malaysians, including illegal fanners occupying state land.
Farmers who have illegally occupied state land to plant crops may riot have legal titles to the land, but they have developed socio-economic rights which should be respected by every State Government which should not be trodden on and destroyed without a just and equitable settlement.
One of the greatest injustices in the country is over land – bow with a stroke of the pen, big corporations could acquire thousands or even tens of thousands of acres from the government while Malaysians could not get land to farm and eke out a living.
Malaysia is not short of arable land for die farmers for there are over 4 million hectares of arable land which could be alienated to the landless farmers so that they could have land for cultivation in fulfilment of a ‘land for the landless’ policy.
According to a 19S1 census, the arable land for agricultural cultivation in each state but which had not been alienated are as follows:
Sabah 1 ,696,000
Pahang 1 ,095,700
Negri Sembilan 72,300
Federal Territory –
This is a grave socio-economic problem which must be resolved at the nationwide level, and this is another reason why I hope Liong Sik and Keng Yaik would visit Gua Musang tomorrow to formulate principles to resolve problems of farmers illegally occupying state land applicable to all states in Malaysia.
It is also for this reason why tomorrow, the DAP delegation visiting Gua Musang will not only comprise DAP, DAPSY and Wanita DAP leaders from both national and state levels, but also DAP Members of Parliament, including DAP MP for Siputeh, Liew Ah Kim, DAP MP for Bukit Bintang, Wee Choo Keong, DAP MP for Sungai Besi, Tan Kok Wai, DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, DAP MP for Pasir Pinji, Kerk Kim Hock, DAP MP for Bagan, Lim Hock Seng, as well as officials from the DAP National Committee to Defend Land Rights of Malaysians.
The DAP National Committee to Defend Land Rights of Malaysians had successfully organised the National Conference Against Land Acquisition Abuses and Injustices In Kuala Lumpur on January 8, and it hopes to get the co-operation of MCA and Gerakan to organise a National Conference for Land Justice for all Malaysians, especially landless fanners.