Saturday, August 04, 2007

50th Merdeka - Shall we fly the flag then? (1)

From malaysiakini:

27 days to 50 years as a sovereign nation, and what has Malaysia to show?

Well, we are just about to see senior citizens from Bukit Jalil estate – citizens who have made homes out of houses given to them more than 50 years ago when they were brought in to work as rubber tappers – being evicted.

A man or woman’s home is his/her castle, and the grim face of DBKL is staring down at the senior citizens’ ‘castles’ without an iota of compassion, but with tools of demolition at the ready.

One of those unfortunate residents, Nyanameh recalled she arrived at Bukit Jalil 40 years ago with her husband as young labourers soon after Merdeka ('Merdeka', what’s this word again?).

Senior citizen Nyanameh - malaysiakini photo

She lamented: “For years, I have worked on this estate tapping rubber. My children grew up here. Now they can just easily tell us to leave. Where can we go?

Got that?
‘Now they can just easily tell us to leave’! Yes, on this 50th year of our nation’s supposed independence from oppression! WTF can I say!

She was fatalistic yet defiant, stating:
“They want to break down my house, let them break it. I will stay right here. I’ve been staying here up to now, (this house) is mine. Are they going to give me a house?”

“When I die, I’ll die here. If they break my house (down next week), I’ll build it again once they leave.”

DBKL in typical city-hall mentality quoted the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 averring the residents are squatters. And if we remember their Hindu temple smashing proclivities, we have to fear not only for the claims of those residents but for their physical safety as well.

For more of DBKL's typical attitude towards 'some' of our citizens, please read:
DBKL smashed statues of Hindu gods!
DBKL staff armed with WMD - Legal?
Another Hindu Temple in KL Smashed!

Dear olde city-hall has demanded that the residents vacate their houses by next
Wednesday. The 'or else' is ominously implicit.

The residents are naturally infuriated at being classified as squatters, and demanded that they be treated fairly and accorded their rights as rightful owners of the houses, their castles. They are not obdurately against development per se, but would want to see reasonable compensation for abandoning the houses that have been their homes for over four decades.

One resident, retired army corporal Balakrishnan Kunjoo said poignantly:

“The country has been independent for 50 years, but residents of Bukit Jalil estate are yet to be free.”

Shall we fly the flag then?


  1. Employing the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 1969 is another serious abuse of power. The ISA is much higher-profile and the government knows unleashing the ISA will create heavy condemnation both domestic and international.

    The Emergeny Ordinance is almost a "sleeper" - it gets used regularly, and they don't even have to claim any threat to national security. And you hardly hear any protest. Its a relic of the May 1969 aftermath, and has NEVER been repealed.

    By normal legal process squatter eviction requires a Court Order, the aggrieved party has right to defend themselves legally. I'm sure there are NGOs and opposition parties which would be happy to oblige. But DBKL here is using the EO, which cannot be challenged in a court.

    How come there is still an Emergency proclaimed in this country ? (That's essentially the legal status). Why is Bedol talking-feeling good every day then ?

  2. It makes me sick every time I hear non-bumis yelling 'merdeka'. What is there to celebrate about? The NEP? The islamic state? The quotas? Or the fact that the country has regressed economically relative to other emerging nations?

    In reality there has been no independence in 1957; only a worse fanatical coloniser had taken over the place of the british. Had the brits stayed on, I really doubt if those Bukit Jalil estate workers would be evicted, or if they had to be evicted, at least with ample compensation.

  3. damn DBKL! damn the gomen! no, i'm not going to fly the jalur gemilang at all!!

    KT, this post of yours is very timely with my post 'the marginalised people' where i also talked about the plight of the plantation estate workers in sg siput, perak. it reminds me of what one of the PSM member (who was there to help us in the translation... since the workers were indians, we were all chinese) said. he said "apa ertinya merdeka 50 tahun bila pekerja-pekerja masih diabaikan".

    hmm... i forgot about this when i made that post. must remember to add it in.

  4. I think the question is who is the owner of the land? Do the victims have ownership of the land their homes is on? A nation is ruled by law not emotions.

    DBKL should use the law to evict these people instead threatening emergency orders. The victims should also be clear of their rights. Having a home on someone else's land no matter how long it has been there is still unlawful.

    How would you feel if someone came and squat on YOUR land? Sure a lot of them were ex workers and had a right to stay in the estate but when the estate is no longer existing, and the contract of service has terminated, so do the right to stay there. You don't see government servants refusing to leave their quarters after retiring no matter how long they have lived there.

  5. Why should there be a reason not to fly the flag this Merdeka? The UMNO-led government doesn't own this country, even if they think they do.

    But if you want to, you can fly it upside down. Its a distress signal to symbolize what's going wrong with our country...