Evicted longhouse residents pitch-up at demolition site

The three evicted families of the PJS1 longhouse have erected a tent at the demolition site and continue to resist offers of relocation until their demands are met.

The residents, including disabled man, Mahalingam Veeriah and his wife, whose homes were demolished on Friday, are now cooking meals and sleeping under the tent.

They conceded to Komunitikini that MBPJ had on last Wednesday offered them the choice of relocating to the Lembah Subang PPR (People’s Housing Project) flats, but they rejected this offer as they consider the place too far away.

Mahalingam had last Friday said that he is now homeless with nowhere to go.

Resident Pusparani Balakrishnan (right) said Lembah Subang PPR is too far away for her children who are schooling at SJK(C) Yuk Chyun next door.

“My husband is also working nearby. Our livelihoods will be affected if we move to Lembah Subang.

She prefers MBPJ to give them cash compensation and allow them to choose where to stay.

“We have had enough of being asked to move everywhere. [The demolition of longhouse] is the third time we have to shift to another house,” she said, demanding that the developer build the promised low-cost flats immediately.

The van driver said she is boarding her six children at her friends’ houses, whereas she will sleep in the van at night.

Mahalingam, whose legs defect has made him completely dependent on a wheelchair, said he has caught a cold after two days of sleeping out.

“Over the weekend nobody has come to visit us. Only police and gangsters were here,” he said.

An offer letter sent to him by MBPJ’s urban planning department states that he has been allocated a flat in the Lembah Subang PPR, “consolation” (bantuan saguhati) of RM14,285 to be used as rental, should he not take up the offer of a flat.

Block E residents action committee chairman, M Sugumaran, said this offer was given to all three families.

He claimed it as a “well-planned tactic” by the Selangor state government to first issue the offer, and then allow demolition to take place eventually.

“Our demands have yet to be fulfilled and no black and white (written) assurance has been given,” he said.

He added that the developer is carrying out construction despite a stop-work order by the state government.

Meanwhile, MBPJ councillor Latheefa Koya, when contacted by Komunitikini, assured the residents that they would not be waiving their legal rights in any future legal action they may choose to take up against the developer or the state government if they accept the state’s offer of free housing or rental assistance.

“We have already offered them an alternative of housing or compensation for them to rent a unit within the vicinity.

“By taking up the offer, they still reserve their rights on their legal claims,” she said.

“We reckon that we are dealing with some 250-odd residents. (Alternative housing and compensation) is the most we can do; above that, we must wait for a state directive,” she added.

The residents are primarily demanding for the authorities to waive the outstanding interest on their bank loans for their delayed low-cost flats, to extend rental compensation until their purchased units are built, and to renew sales and purchase agreement without cost.

Latheefa confirmed that the Selangor government has agreed to the residents’ demands in principle.

“But it takes time, it couldn’t be done immediately,” she said.

Meanwhile, she noted that the developer would not be considered as violating the stop-work order if they were only marking the work-site.