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A ‘dark’ Deepavali for Kg Railway residents

 | November 10, 2012

Slapped with an eviction order, the residents staged a picket and demanded the developer and DBKL to build them low-cost houses.

SENTUL: This year’s Deepavali or festival of lights will be a gloomy one for 153 Kg Railway residents who have been slapped with a court eviction order from developer Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd.

“Light festival darkened” read one banner as some 40 residents staged a picket at the entrance of their century-old settlement this afternoon.

The 30-minute picket saw the residents holding black flags and displaying banners that read among others “One Malaysia, one family, one house” and “Safeguard Kg Railway residents’ rights”.

On Oct 30, High Court declared Sentul Raya as the rightful owner of the land and issued the eviction order.

The residents now demanding the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Sentul Raya to issue a letter of commitment to fulfill their earlier promises of building low-cost apartments as compensation.

Their lawyer Abdul Rashid Ibrahim said the residents are not requesting a free unit but agreed to pay at a discounted price to own a unit.

He said prior to the court decision, Deputy Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing M. Saravanan pledged that low-cost apartments will be built by the developer in a meeting with the residents at Sentul Pasar.

He claimed that Saravaman reaffirmed the statement before the court handed down its decision on Oct 31.

The residents were informed that they would obtain the commitment letter from the developer regarding the building of low-cost apartments on Nov 4.

“However, they have yet to receive such a letter,” said Abdul Rashid.

It is understood that another 31 residents represented by Hindraf de facto leader P Uthayakumar are seeking a declaration that the village is national heritage and a plot of land to be given to each family.

Batu MP Tian Chua, who was also present, urged the residents to protest in front of the Prime Minister’s Office or the developer’s office should they fail to resolve the matter after Deepavali.

Chua later told reporters that the residents were initially promised with negotiations for settlement but the developer brought them to court.

“Saravanan promised to have a discussion after the court proceeding is done. But again there is no meeting. People are running out of patience,” he said.

Kg Railway residents action committee chairman Darshan Singh said only DBKL and the developer could return the “light” the residents needed for Deepavali.

“We never say this land belongs to us, but we were pioneer residents who have been paying rental and assessment fees until 2009. We hope they can fulfill their promises,” he said.


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