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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 19. 2nd August 1973

Land and Political Power

Land and Political Power

The indisputable facts cited above illustrate that the Alliance government is, in actuality, the direct cause of the grinding poverty and rising unemployment in the rural areas. The agricultural labourers, peasants and other rural people have no other alternative but to conduct struggle against their government and exploiters.

For example, Hamid Tuah, a Malay, led the 1,500 landless peasants to open up 80 acres of virgin jungle land on August 31, 1969 reflecting the daring spirit of Malayan people to resolve their problems. Hamid Tuah was detained under the Internal Security Act which was a political action reflecting the frenzy of the then National Operation Council (NOC). The extension of the detention of Hamid Tuah last year shows that the problem has further deteriorated, so much so that Razak and his government dare not free Hamid Tuah.

The spontaneous struggle of Hamid Tuah and the 1,500 landless peasants indicated the real nature of the "Special Malay Rights" constantly peddled by the UMNO with a view to endearing themselves to the Malays and to divide the latter from the Chinese and Indians. In contrast to the real privileges given to the foreign investors and the local parasites, the big landlords and the political and business elites, the only privilege that Hamid Tuah and the Malay peasants enjoy is to be poor and landless in a country of abundant land. This clearly shows that the real issue is not one of race as the Alliance government would like us to believe, but one of class.

The agricultural labourers, peasants and other rural people have already stepped up their militant actions, such as demonstrations, seizure of government land for cultivation, resistance to oppression by the Alliance government. These phenomena are encouraging. Today, more and more Malayan people are seeing the need for the poor and landless peasants to organise to struggle not only for land but also for political power.

Photo of Vietnamese Fishermen's houses

Fishermen's houses, also at Pontian Kechil