G Vinod |freemalaysiatoday.com
March 15, 2011
The Bukit Jalil estate residents obtained an interim injunction for 21 days from the court, thwarting DBKL’s plan of evicting them.
When lawyers N Surendran and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri told the residents about the court order, the news was greeted with a resounding applause.
Also present were Human Rights Party (HRP) pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan, Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, Suhakam commissioner Muhammad Shaani Abdullah, MIC Youth members and scores of other activists.
There were no Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officers at the scene.
DBKL is looking to evict some 41 families, some of whom have been living on the estate for generations.
In 1980, the government acquired the land for redevelopment and the land is said to be owned by Bukit Jalil Development Sdn Bhd.
The government offered RM23,000 each to residents who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.
However, DBKL refused to grant four acres of land requested by the residents to build low cost houses.
On March 1, DBKL issued new eviction notices to the residents and the deadline expired yesterday.
Arutchelvan, however, reminded the residents that their problem was merely postponed for the time being.
“This is a political struggle. It’s now up to the Barisan Nasional government whether they want grant the four acre land or get a court order to quash the injunction,” said the PSM leader.
He added that there was no law in Malaysia that provided a safety net for the poor and was sceptical that the court would give residents a fair trial.
“We will take it up in the courts but it is up to the latter whether they want to uphold justice or serve to please its political masters,” he added.
Shaani called upon the government not to neglect its social responsibility when dealing with the poor.
“This is not only about former estate workers but the democratic process itself.
“As a responsible government, they should respect democracy and not resort to using emergency laws to evict people as it is against human rights,” he said, refering to the previous eviction orders issued under the Emergency Ordinance.
Among the non-governmental organisations present were Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit), Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Malaysia (Gamis) and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Residents Association (Permas).