Batu Estate residents camp at DBKL

Some 88 Batu Estate residents rallied in front of Kuala Lumpur City Hall building at 10am this morning. They were seeking an assurance by the authority not to evict them by next week.

The residents have decided not to leave the site until DBKL guarantees not to evict them using the Essential Regulations (Squatters Clearance) 1969.

“We are not going to move, we want them to promise us (that we will not be evicted),” said residents’ representative, Thilagendran Vadiveloo.

Carrying banners that protested DBKL’s involvement in their eviction, the group had gathered in front of DBKL headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut, led by PKR vice president N. Surendran, Subang MP R Sivarasa, Batu MP Tian Chua and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.

They submitted a memorandum to DBKL deputy director-general Zulkifli Ibrahim at around 11.30am.

Zulkifli, when pressed by the MPs to defer the eviction scheduled on March 3, said he would refer the matter to Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail and Federal Territories Deputy Minister M Saravanan.

“The fastest I can respond to you is by this afternoon. If not, I will get back to you by tomorrow,” he told the MPs.

Surendran was heard trying to argue that DBKL should not impose the Regulations on the residents as the law itself is outdated and unsuitable in this case. However, his argument went unheeded.

Surendran called the residents’ protest “an embarrassment to DBKL”.

The Batu Estate residents were promised landed low-cost houses when their former employer Semantan Estate had sold off part of its landholding to Sri Hartamas properties in 1978.

However, the parcel of land on which the Estate sits then changed hands again, and the current owner, Mayland Sdn Bhd, which acquired the land in 1998, had only agreed to compensate every family with RM30,000 and a Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR)  housing unit sponsored by DBKL.

Many residents rejected the offer, as RM30,000 is the amount usually given to illegal squatters as compensation.

The residents were declared by the courts in 2003 as lawful occupants of the land.

The residents also say that they would need to pay rental if they moved into a PPR flat.

Mayland, which failed to obtain an eviction order due to the 2003 verdict, recently requested DBKL’s assistance to evict the residents.

DBKL, in return, has issued an eviction order which expired on February 16 but was deferred to March 3.

A downpour that started at 4pm then forced the residents to disperse.

But they vowed to gather again next Tuesday, two days before their latest eviction date, March 3, comes to pass.

They left empty-handed, and failed to get an assurance of no-eviction from the authorities were futile.

It is however unclear whether the Opposition MPs, who were present at the rally today, will again lend their support to the residents next week.