Court halts Bukit Jalil Estate demolition

They broke into thunderous applause on being told the news.  Two-hundred residents of Bukit Jalil Estate were overjoyed on being told the court had granted them an injunction against City Hall’s demolition order on their 41 homes scheduled for today.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran announced this at 9am, hours after residents had blockaded the entrance to the estate.

Surendran said the injunction was given by KL High Court yesterday evening after the court ruled that DBKL’s eviction order was defective and thus illegal. The injunction is valid for 21 days.

“There will be a full hearing be called by court within the period, when we expect to face DBKL’s lawyer. Then the court will decide whether to revoke or extend the injunction order,” Surendran said.

“Nevertheless the battle must continue,” he added (right, in white shirt).

Earlier, the residents, dressed in orange, were chanting “we want our rights” while carrying banners against DBKL’s eviction and 1Malaysia.

Also at the rally were PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan and Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, Human Rights Party pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, Human Right Commissioner (Suhakam) Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah and activists.

DBKL, however, did not send any representative to the scene.

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, a member from Lawyers for Liberty, chided the authorities for using the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 to evict the former estate workers today.

“This should not happened because Malaysia has endorsed the International Human Rights Commission resolution 1993/77, which is a resolution against forceful eviction.

“They are doing something that opposes what they endorsed in Geneva in 1993,” she said.

Muhammad Sha’ani, while echoing Fadiah’s opinion, said DBKL should fulfil the residents’ demand for four acres of land, as they have been occupying it for generations.

“It is just four out of thousand acres of land that (DBKL) has acquired,” he said.

Suhakam has also written to DBKL to ask for its explanation of its eviction order, which is not supported by any legal provisions except the Emergency Ordinance.

Some 220 Bukit Jalil Estate residents have been struggling to keep their homes ever since the estate was first sold, to DBKL, in the 1980s. The land is now owned by Bukit Jalil Sdn Bhd, whose chairman is said to be former DBKL mayor, Kamaruzzaman Shariff.

The developer and DBKL are looking to evict the residents to develop a cemetery and property projects on the land, but are only willing to pay each household RM23,000 in compensation.

The residents rejected the offer as they claim it can barely make up for the total amount of unpaid Employee Provident Fund and Socso contributions owed to them by a government contractor.

They repeated their call for a four-acre plot of land to be given to each of them, or to compensate them with new terrace houses.