‘DBKL the wrong party to haul to court,’ says Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof in striking out suit of 41 families.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today struck out a suit brought by Bukit Jalil estate residents against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for using the Emergency Ordinance to evict them from their homes.

The decision was yet another blow to the residents as yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision in May not to grant an interim inter-parte injunction to the residents.

The 41 families living in Bukit Jalil estate have been at loggerheads with DBKL since the latter issued eviction notices to the residents in March under Emergency Ordinance.

The residents argued that the Emergency Ordinance could only be used to evict squatters, not former estate workers.

The residents’ lawyer, Ragunath Kesavan, said Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof struck out the suit in her chambers today on the grounds that they had filed the suit against the wrong party.

“Though DBKL is planning to destroy their homes, Zabariah said it was the wrong party for the residents to haul to court.

“What the judge is effectively saying is that estate workers have no rights in this country and that their grouses mean nothing to the court,” said Ragunath.

No justice for the poor

Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary general S Arutchelvan said Zabariah probably dismissed the suit to avoid a full hearing of the case which was scheduled for October.

“She would have had to hear out the 41 families if it goes to a full hearing,” said Arutchelvan.

The court, he added, had set a bad precedence by allowing DBKL to use the Emergency Ordinance to evict estate workers.

“This is probably the first time in Malaysia that an arbitrary law is allowed to be used to evict former estate workers,” said the PSM leader.

Although the residents are planning to appeal Zabariah’s verdict, Arutchelvan said it was obvious that they needed a political solution to the issue.

“We have sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in March but have yet to receive any feedback.

“Since DBKL is a government body, we will hold the government responsible for DBKL’s actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Jalil estate committee treasurer K Balakrishnan said it was clear that the court would not dispense justice to the poor.

“But we have lived there for four generations and will not back down without fighting to claim our rights,” said Balakrishnan who is also Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator.

Also read:

Bukit Jalil estate folk lose appeal

High Court breaks hearts of estate workers

By G Vinod | August 11, 2011