Bukit Jalil Estate saga rumbles on

Residents of Bukit Jalil Estate today expressed their unhappiness with Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister, Raja Nong Chik, over their treatment while attending a meeting chaired by the latter at Putrajaya recently.

“It wasn’t much of a meeting. They had already decided what they want to offer us. They did not negotiate with us,” said Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general, S Arutchelvan, during a press conference in Bukit Jalil.

The Bukit Jalil Estate’s action committee was on Wednesday invited to Putrajaya to participate in a meeting hosted by Raja Nong Chik.

The residents have been receiving eviction notices from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for several years now, and their efforts to get the authorities to negotiate with them have fallen on deaf ears.

“All they wanted to offer was to double the compensation. If they offered someone RM 11,000 before this, now they are offering RM 23,000,” Arutchelvan said.

He had also rubbished the valuation which, according to him, was referred to by the minister as ‘akin to getting a free house’.

“RM23,000 does not amount to a free house,” he said.

However, the residents are apparently still in the dark over the ownership of the land, and are yet to receive a formal offer from the authorities.

“There’s nothing in black and white. And now some are saying that this land was acquired by a private developer. Why then is the government negotiating with us?” asked Arutchelvan.

He pointed out that the current estate land spans to 26 acres, but the residents, most of them former estate workers, are only asking for an extra three acres on which they can build their houses.

According to him, the authorities have given the residents one week to accept the verbal offer, and will serve a demolition notice on them again once the grace period expires.

However, the minister had recognised, albeit verbally, that the estate residents are former estate workers and not squatters, as they were previously referred to in DBKL’s eviction notices.

Arutchelvan blamed the government for not acting and resolving the issue when it first acquired the lands some twenty years ago.

“If they allow us to build our houses here, tourists or outsiders can come here and see for themselves how an estate area is conserved. That’s what the government should be doing,” said action committee member, N Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan said that the Bukit Jalil estate used to span some 180 acres, and included the land on which the Bukit Jalil Stadium and the Technology Park now sit.

Apart from the compensation, the authorities are offering the residents Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) flats.

Federal Terittories and Urban Well-Being Deputy Minister, M Saravanan, had previously promised the residents that they would not be evicted.