DBKL: courts should not grant injunctions against government

Photo by Ram Anand

The residents of the disputed Ladang Bukit Jalil in Jalan Puchong must wait two weeks to know if their injunction to prevent the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) from demolishing their houses still holds. DBKL is challenging the legality of the injunction.

Judge Sabariah Mohd Yusuf told a packed courtroom at the High Court in Jalan Duta today that she will deliver her decision on May 10.

The residents had obtained an injunction to prevent DBKL from demolishing their houses until they claim full trial to verify their legitimacy as former estate workers, and regarding the ownership of the land.

Photo by Ram Anand

DBKL claims that the residents are not ex-workers of the estate, but squatters. Nazrul Zaki Mohd Yunus, representing DBKL, argued that there are no documents to properly verify the residents’ claim to be former workers.

Dangerous precedent

Nazrul’s main argument, however, was that the court should not grant injunctions against government bodies as this interferes in the government’s attempts to discharge its ‘public duties’.

Ambiga Sreenevasan, representing the residents, described this argument as “dangerous”.

“So tomorrow they can come to my house and tell me that my house belongs to the state. What can I do then?” she asked, noting the urgency for relief while a such a dispute was resolved by the courts.

MIC and Jawi in the picture

After the hearing, amid continuing demonstrations by the residents. a representative of the MIC told Komunitikini that the party would do its best to help the residents.

This came within minutes of a Plantation Workers’ Wefare and Rights Group (Power) member branding MIC as ‘traitors’ while talking to TV Selangor reporters.

“We feel the residents’ demand for four acres of land to be allocated to them (for them to build their own houses on) is a reasonable one, but there is a due process that needs to be observed first,” said MIC Youth Exco member P. Punithan.

The residents have been highly critical of the MIC’s involvement, or the lack of it, in their plight, and were chanting that the Federal Terittories and Urban Well-Being Deputy Minister M Saravanan was a ‘liar’.

The residents currently occupy a 26-acre piece of land, which is what remains of the former Ladang Bukit Jalil.

According to DBKL, the land has been sold to the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi), which is planning to use it for a cemetery.