Mystery fire strikes Bukit Jalil Estate

A wooden house at the demolition-bound Bukit Jalil Estate was ablaze yesterday; half the building was destroyed and losses were estimated at RM5,000.

Coincidentally, the fire happened as the last 41 families at the estate face eviction, said Parti Socialis Malaysia central committee member, V Selvam.

The fire took place at around 12am when the occupants of the house were at a wedding reception.

House owner P. Gnasasasambathan said he was alerted by a neighbour at around 12.30am.

“The fire had been put out when I got back, but my washing machine, furniture and some cash went up in smoke,” he said.

Gnasasambathan (center) showing the police report he made

Gnasasasambathan, a deliveryman, stressed that he had not offended anyone to make them want to set his house on fire, and could not seem to find a cause for the blaze.

“I have been staying in this house since my father’s time… this is the first fire that has ever occurred,” he said.

NGO suspects official involvement

The residents later found a bottle of used kerosene at the scene.

NGO Plantation Workers’ Welfare and Rights (Power) secretary, Gobi Krishnan (below, right), said it appeared that if there was a perpetrator of the fire, the intention would have been to cause fear among the residents, who court injunction to stop DBKL from evicting them is being challenged by the latter.

“We suspect that the event was done by a group of gangsters hired by a [government official],” he said.

Gobi declined to provide more details on his allegation, saying that he would co-operate with police to prove what he had said.

The residents had previously lodged a police report against Deputy Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing M Saravanan for his alleged threatening behaviour towards them.

Selvan (left), on the other hand, said the fire “is a designed and planned event”.

“In the history of Malaya, Singapore and now Malaysia, fire has always been used as the tool to force an eviction,” he said.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has set May 10 to decide whether an injunction granted to the estate residents should be upheld pending a full trial to determine their status as former workers of the estate.