High Court rules DBKL can demolish Bukit Jalil residents’ homes before full-trial is heard

The residents of the contested former Bukit Jalil Estate were deeply disappointed today when the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed their injunction against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) preventing it from demolishing their homes before a full-trial on their status as legal residents.

High Court Judicial Commisioner Zubariah Mohd Yusof also found no flaws in the eviction notices issued by DBKL, as argued by the lawyers for the residents.

Zubariah ruled that the defendant, DBKL, can legally cite the Emergency Ordinance 1969 (Squatter Clearance) to evict the residents despite not being the landowner of the former estate.

Hence, she said, the eviction notices served on the residents by DBKL were legal.

“There is also evidence of efforts (by DBKL) to relocate the residents and compensate them,” she said, to a packed courtroom.

Zubariah thus side-stepped the argument by DBKL that injunctions should not be granted against government agencies, as this prevents them from discharging their public duties.

The residents’ lawyer, Ambiga Sreenevasan, then requested for an interim injunction order pending the full-trial of the residents’ claims in October.

“If the injunction is dismissed, it will completely undermine our efforts for the houses not to be demolished until a full-trial is heard,” she told the court.

Zubariah denied her request.

Zubariah had also referred in her judgment to the Federal Territory Islamic Department (Jawi) as being the rightful owner of the land, a fact which was not widely known before.

Residents to file an appeal

Speaking to reporters later, Ambiga said the biggest concern now is to safeguard the houses before a full-trial can be heard.

“Hence, we will be applying for interim relief at the Court of Appeal today,” she (left) said, adding that the residents will also be appealing against the High Court decision.

If the interim relief is not granted, she hopes DBKL and Jawi will refrain from demolishing the last 41 houses at the estate based on the principles of natural justice.

Lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, who also represented the residents, totally disagreed with the grounds of the court’s decision, which deems the former estate workers as squatters, and who can thus be evicted under the Emergency Ordinance.

“This is despite many correspondents, including a deputy minister, acknowledging that they are former estate workers,” she noted.

The residents gathered at the entrance of the court complex later, vowing to defend their rights.

Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general, S Arutchelvan, who has been advocating the residents’ cause, said he will pursuit the matter with Prime Minister Najib Razak since two petitions have already been sent

Some of the residents with S. Arutchelvan from PSM, who has been advocating for their cause

to Najib’s office in the past six months.

“If any house in Bukit Jalil Estate is broken down, I will hold PM responsible,” he (right) said.

He also revealed that PM’s office has replied to his letter and sought more information on the case.