Seminar on "The
Development and Problems of Chinese New Villages of Malaysia"
By Dato' Ir. Fong Tian Yong
Ir. Fong Tian Yong was the guest speaker at the
seminar entitled "The Development andProblems of
Chinese New Villages of Malaysia" held at UTAR Perak Campus on 3rd April 2013.
The seminar was jointly organised by Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), Centre for
Chinese StudiesResearch (CCSR) and Department of Soft
Skills Competency (DSSC). The session kicked off with the introduction of the
speaker by Ms. ChiokPhaik Fern, the moderator of the
Being trained as an engineer and
currently the technical advisor to Tan Sri OngKar
Ting (chairman of Malaysia-China Business Council), Dato'
Ir. Fong was born in a settlement near Layang-Layang
that is non-existent now due to the resettlement during the Emergency period.
When he was the Deputy Director-General of the Local Government Department
before assuming the current position, the development of the New Villages comes
under one of his divisions, which include among others the Building Control
Division and Health Engineering Division. Being in such position provided him
the opportunity to work with residents of Chinese New Villages (NVs) and to
understand the development and problems faced by the NVs in Malaysia
The speaker began his talk by
outlining the topics of the discussion that included a general introduction,
history of NVs, NV Master Plan and the way forward. In the general
introduction, Dato' Ir. Fong provided the staff and students
who were present in the room with the demography of NVs and the administration
of NVs at the federal, state and local level.
Moving on to the history of NVs, Dato' Ir. Fong explained how the NVs were formed in
response to the communist threat during the time of emergency (1948 - 1952)
under British government. He also acknowledged the contribution of Malaysian
Chinese Association (MCA) in assisting the British government to resettle the
Chinese squatters as well as providing them with various kind of assistance
such as transportation, financial and welfare support, building materials,
farming tools and others. The speaker also described the social condition of
settlers during the time of emergency by showing the audience the pictures of
the NVs, central cooking (taiwokfan), villagers
queuing for cooked rice ration, check point at the entry to the NVs, home guard
ID, army guard post, declaration of white area, social activities ? opera show,
funeral procession, celebration of Queen Elizabeth II birthday at Chinese
primary school (Jementah, Johor), setting up of
Kuomintang branch (Jementah,
Johor), communal well and pig style behind houses.
Highlighting a few NVs such as Sitiawan, Sg. Siput
Selatan and Air Kuning, the speaker showed the
pictures of poor house condition, infrastructure, social amenities and housing
planning faced by the NVs. He then moved on to discuss the preparation of New
Village Master Plan (NVMP) which involved a detailed sectoral
study of NV physical planning, demography, socio-economic base, agriculture,
land ownership, housing and social facilities, landscaping, and village
administration. The Master Plan implementation started in 2005 and is expected
to be completed by 2015. The Planaims
to integrate NV physically, socially and economically with the mainstream in
development of the nation as well as to consider the cultural, historical and
heritage of the NV, to conserve special feature of the NV that are potentially
made places of tourist attraction and to identify economic niches of the NVs.
Going through the pictures of
local industries identical with NVs such as GunungRapat
and its biscuit making, Muar and its gerisek making,
youth training, housing development, and preservation of heritage building, Dato' Ir. Fong showed the development and modernization
that have taken place in NVs. By showing the simplicity of life and the
cheerful children in those days, he hoped to make the NVs to become lively and
vibrant again, to have peaceful and tranquil environment for residents to enjoy
their leisure time, as well as to train up the new generation by engaging them
with sports and schooling.
The seminar has introduced the
staff and students who were present to the NVs, their socio- economic
conditions, and the efforts taken by the government and professionals to revive
NVs. With a better understanding of NVs, the staff and students could engage
with the NVs in a morepragmatic and meaningful way.
Figure 1: Prof.Ho Khai Leong, Dean of IC Spresented Dato'Ir. Fong the first publicationof NV Project Chinese New Villages of Kulaijaya, Johor".
From left: Ms. Lok Bee Lan (DSSC Department Head) & Ms. Chiok Phaik Fern (moderator of the session).
From right : Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wong Wun Bin (author of the book & Head of Malaysian Chinese and Cultural Studies Unit, CCSR).