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Another land grab charge against S’gor govt

 | May 24, 2012

Former Ladang Coalfields workers claim that the Pakatan-led government had acquired 10 acres of land allocated to them as compensation.

SUNGAI BULOH: A storm is brewing against the Selangor government over another land grab allegation.

This time it is the former Ladang Coalfields workers, who claim that the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government had acquired 10 acres of land allocated to them as compensation, for its own purpose.

Last week, former Bukit Raja plantation workers had alleged that the state government diverted eight of the 15 acres awarded to them as compensation, to build luxury homes to be sold to the public.

Former Ladang Coalfields estate worker Lobat Raju, 44, claimed that while the Barisan Nasional government had “cheated” the estate workers some 20 years ago, it is now time for the Pakatan led Selangor government to do the same.

“We want the state government to give back our land,” he said, adding that the 10 acres “stolen” from the former workers have been earmarked for a fully residential Tamil school.

“This was even announced by the Menteri Besar (Abdul Khalid Ibrahim)…We are not against the fully residential Tamil school. But, it is unfair for the state government to use our land for its own political mileage,” he told FMT.

“Its like ‘lembu punya susu, sapi dapat nama’ [someone works hard but someone else enjoys fruits of the labour],” he added.

Lobat (photo) said the problem began when owners of Ladang Coalfields terminated the employment of its workers in 1991. The firm was sold and ownership transferred to KL-Kepong Country Homes Sdn Bhd.

“Since 1991, the workers fought for their rights until Pakatan took over Selangor in 2008. In June 2008, we approached Dr Xavier Jayakumar [who is in charge of health, plantation workers, poverty and caring government in the state exco], and explained our plight.

“He spoke to KL-Kepong Bhd, the parent company of Kl-Kepong Country Homes, and later told us that the developer had agreed to set aside 10 acres for us to build our own homes.

“A Tamil paper, Malaysian Nanban, carried the story quoting him. I still have the report. We believed him [Xavier] and were very happy,” he added.

Lobat also furnished copy of the news report to FMT.

The news report, dated June 30, 2008, contained quotes of Xavier declaring that both Bukit Raja and Ladang Coalfields workers were awarded 15 acres and 10 acres respectively.

“However, lately he is singing a different tune saying that he never promised any land to us,” said Lobat Raju.

Recently, when contacted by FMT, Xavier stood his ground despite being told of the newspaper report.

He also disputed the land size awarded to the Bukit Raja plantation workers, saying the former estate workers wanted landed property and the court had ruled in their favour.

Lobat, however, said estate workers felt cheated and that there was no difference between the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan.

“Both are treacherous. Politicians are working just to remain in power… not to uplift our living standards,” he said, with tears in his eyes.

[Main photo taken from http://greenboc.blogspot.com]


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