It’s war, say Bukit Jalil residents

The residents of Ladang Bukit Jalil have vowed to go to “war” with the authorities if necessary.

This is because they claim that a group of 20 Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and 10 police personnel “invaded” the former estate quarters area at 10.30 am yesterday, bringing down banners, breaking chairs, and even attempting to bring down a guardhouse-tent erected by the residents after a recent fire of one their homes.

They claim they are being threatened into vacating the land.

The officers, who came in fleet of two DBKL vans, two police cars, and four police motorbikes, had also allegedly verbally abused several women who had tried to prevent them from bringing down the tent.

The residents have obtained a court injunction preventing DBKL from demolishing their homes pending a full-hearing of their claim to be legal residents and not squatters, as DBKL claims.

“We have lodged a police report on the matter today (yesterday), and this is an addition to the countless reports we have already lodged on the matter. But if no action is taken on this report, we are ready to march to Bukit Aman and demand an answer,” said the estate residents’ action committee member, N Balakrishnan, during a press conference.

Several NGO representatives present also said they would march in solidarity with the residents.

“This is not the only case. There is one in Bangi as well. If these things aren’t tended to, we will gather all the NGOs that are together with us and do a mass protest,” said Rajaratnam of the Federation of Indian Organisations, who claimed that such a protest would rival that of the 2007 Hindraf rally.

According to Plantation Workers Rights and Welfare Group president, Gobikrishnan, some 200 NGOs are ready to fight for the estate residents’ rights.

“They should stop coming when there is no-one in the estate. Ask them to come when we (the NGOs) are around. We will give them a run for their money,” said Rajaratnam of DBKL and the police.

Verbal abuse

Some of the women residents claimed that an inspector from the Sungai Besi police station, whom they named as Chandran, and a DBKL officer, had verbally abused them.

“When we were arguing with them, they asked whether we are really women. That we don’t talk like women,” said Saraswathy, one of the residents.

The DBKL officer, according to another woman, called them ‘dogs who would go away once they a thrown a bone’.

“Who are they to call us such names? They come into our land and call us names,” they said.

Around 10 women, who were at home when their husbands were at work, argued with the officers until a residents’ committee member, S Thiagarajan, interjected.

“They told me we don’t have permit for these banners. But fact is we don’t need permits for these banners. This land is ours until the court decides otherwise,” he said, noting that DBKL and the police were being “disrespectful” of the court.

Most of the banners carried messages critical of DBKL’s role in seeking to demolish the former estate quarters.

The officers, according to the residents, also attempted to break a collection of photos inside the tent, showing the residents’ struggle to keep their land from the authorities.

Komunitkini’s repeated attempts to reach DBKL for comment since yesterday, via text message and phone calls to the PR officer’s handphone and to the DBKL headquarters, have been unsuccessful.