Friday, May 31, 2024

Latest from Malaysia Now: Madani refugees Homeless amid rubble, Gombak villagers forced to live in tents

Murray Hunter

Latest from Malaysia Now: Madani refugees
Homeless amid rubble, Gombak villagers forced to live in tents

MAY 31, 2024

A resident of Kampung Sri Makmur takes a nap under a tent surrounded by the belongings she saved after her house was demolished by authorities on May 27, 2024.

We are now witnessing in Malaysia the use of the full force of the law to assist corporate greed. This report from Malaysia Now gives an update on the situation at Kampung Sri Makmur in Gombak.

It has been days since Muhammad Khairul and his family were forced out of their house in Kampung Sri Makmur, Gombak, by enforcement officers with demolition machines, but they are still struggling to process the loss of their house – the only place they ever had to call home.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Khairul said a group of "thugs" in green vests with their faces covered had started a commotion on Monday, evicting the villagers before proceeding to tear down their homes.

Fearful for their safety, he and his family, including his seven-year-old son, rushed out of the house.

There, he witnessed a shouting match between the residents and the "thugs" which quickly turned into a scuffle.

"Their ways are unjust," Khairul said. "We were prepared for a proper discussion, but they pounced on us while my son was behind me. I could not reach him so he fell and was trampled on."

Khairul, who lodged a police report on the incident, now lives in a tent with his family behind what remains of their home.

Family portraits lie amid the rubble of houses demolished by the state government in Kampung Sri Makmur, Gombak.

Among hundreds of residents who were ordered to vacate their homes by May 31, he hopes to find somewhere to rent for the time being.

The villagers said the court had set them the deadline, but that there wasn't enough time to make adequate preparations.

"The notice was served on Friday and they came on Monday for the demolition," said Amril Muslim, 59.

Kampung Sri Makmur, located between Middle Ring Road 2 and the Taman Sri Gombak business centre, consisted of 130 houses which had existed since the 1980s.

The use of force by the authorities to evict the residents was condemned by Gombak Setia assemblyman Hilman Idham.

"The violence that took place has gone viral on social media. Unfortunately, the lack of a response from the state government, especially the menteri besar who is also the MP for Gombak (Amirudin Shari), shows how cruel and inhumane the state government is today," he said at a press conference in Kampung Sri Makmur yesterday.

The residents have not been compensated.

However, 21 residents received a "goodwill" payment of RM1,000 each from developers Rexpoint Resources Sdn Bhd and PKNS, as well as an offer for the purchase of homes under Rumah Selangorku, the state's affordable housing scheme.

Khairul said the residents had not been given enough time to find anywhere to rent.

"They just turned up and told us they were going to demolish the house. There were many items we could not save.

"It's not cheap to rent a house. If the rent is RM1,000, you should come up with about RM3,000 to RM4,000 for the down payment and deposit," he added.

Rosiah Ismail, 64, also lives with her family members in a tent in front of the rubble of their house.

On Tuesday night, a heavy downpour left them drenched as they slept.

"The items we were able to get our hands on are the only ones that are safe. Many items were damaged by the falling bricks caused by the demolition," Rosiah said.

Her daughter Norshila Abu Bakar, 37, said the family was looking for a house to rent, but that it was not easy to find a place within their budget.

Norshila and her siblings work as petty traders selling kuih in Selayang.

"We need to find a house nearby because we work here and my children's school is also here," said the mother of two.

Ibrahim Din, the deputy community leader of Kampung Sri Makmur, said apart from the short eviction notice, there was also the issue of land ownership involving the state government, developers and residents.

He said documents showed that PKNS had owned the land since July 1, 2020, before which it belonged to two Singapore nationals.

He said no fewer than 60 residents had applied to the land office to have the village gazetted.

"We purchased the village plan. PKNS should have let the villagers apply for land, not the developer, because it did not develop this land.

"It was the developer who evicted us, even though the land actually belongs to PKNS. PKNS did not consult with the residents," he said.

In a statement, PKNS said it had sold the land to private developer Rexpoint Resources in September 2020.

"The public is advised not to encroach on the property of Rexpoint Resources so as not to obstruct the demolition works and also for safety reasons," it said.

Referring to Kampung Sri Makmur as a squatter area, PKNS said the demolition of houses had been ongoing since 2006.

It said at that time, the residents had rejected an offer to buy low-cost houses and demanded compensation instead.

It said the demolition of the houses was carried out in compliance with the court order, adding that the government had decided to give 21 residents a goodwill payment of RM1,000 each, in addition to offering them Rumah Selangorku units of 750 sq ft at a "subsidised price" of RM65,000.

This is not the first time that the Selangor government under Amirudin has been embroiled in controversy over the forced eviction of residents.

Last year, MalaysiaNow reported the plight of residents in Selat Klang, Klang, and Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Gombak, who were told to vacate their homes to make way for the East Coast Rail Link project.

The residents of Kampung Koskan Tambahan in Serendah were also told to move out, although they had received nothing in black and white about alternative housing.

Published in Malaysia Now 30th May 2024

1 comment:

  1. PKR once championed the disenfranchised.
    Now they are on the side of the developers.