G Vinod | April 27, 2011
The KL High Court delays DBKL’s plans to demolish the Ladang Bukit Jalil houses.
The judge, Zabariah Mohd Yusof, said this after presiding over an inter-parte hearing this morning. She also extended the deadline of the previous ex-parte injunction granted to the residents on March 15 till May 10.
DBKL was represented by Adnan Ali and his team, while the residents were represented by former Bar Council presidents, Ragunath Kesavan and Ambiga Sreenivasan.
On March 1, the 41 families residing in the former estate area were slapped with eviction notices by DBKL, asking them to move out within two weeks.
But they obtained an interim injuction after an ex-parte hearing on March 14 to stop the eviction notice.
During submission, Adnan told the court that it does not have authority to slap injunction against a government officer, referring to mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail, from carrying out his duties.
He added that 41 families residing in the estate had not been able to provide evidence that they were former estate workers or their kinsmen. Therefore, the eviction notices sent to the residents under the Emergency Ordinance in July 2007 and in March this year were valid, implying they were squatting on the land.
However, Ambiga rebutted the argument, saying it was dangerous to imply that the court has no jurisdiction over public officials.
“Based on that argument, the officials will hold too much power in their hands. In that case, they can even come and demolish my house and say I cannot argue the matter in court,” said Ambiga.
“If they are squatters, then why were the notices sent on March 1, indicating goodwill payments for the 41 families? This is not how you deal with squatter dwellers,” said Ragunath.
The notices were referring to an offer made by the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry in February, offering RM23,000 each to those who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.
Later at a press conference, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan reminded the residents who were present in court that their struggle was not over.
“DBKL’s lawyers said you have not provided any proof that your were former estate workers,” said Arutchelvan, who accompanied by Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.
Also present were the estate action committee secretary S Thiakarajan, Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator K Balakrishnan, Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit) coordinator E Nalini and Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation publicy chief A Rajaretinam.