Gatco development will proceed, says MB


PETALING JAYA: The Negeri Sembilan government will not bow down to any party trying to block development in the estate land at Kampung Serampang Indah (Gatco) in Jempol near here, said Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan.

He stressed that anyone trying to stop civil servants from carrying out their duties pertaining to the rubber replanting project there as agreed to by the residents would face the full brunt of the law, reported Bernama.

“We (state government) are running out of patience because the project has been in limbo for 47 years.

“The Federal Court has already decided on the matter (allowing the project to go ahead) but a few residents there are trying to circumvent this by resorting to various other legal measures,” Bernama quoted Mohamad as saying.

“This leaves us with no choice but to bring in enforcement authorities if needed,” he told a press conference after chairing the state executive council’s weekly meeting here today.

He was commenting on the action of a few disgruntled residents there who are unhappy with the compensation paid for their land for the project.

In 1977, the land was leased by the state government through the Negeri Sembilan State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to Great Alonioners Trading Corporation Bhd (Gatco), an investment company set up by more than 400 villagers to develop a rubber estate.

The National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), which owned Gatco, then converted the company into a land scheme model for members, each of whom was required to deposit RM7,600 to work on the land.

The land scheme failed and Gatco had to take loans from two financial institutions.

Gatco was declared bankrupt in 1996, and the land it occupied was bought in 2006 by Thamarai which proceeded to liquidate the company.

However, the settlers who believed they still had rights over the land sued Thamarai in 2013.

Their attempt was rejected by the High Court but the Court of Appeal, in revising the lower court’s decision in 2014, ordered the case to be heard again. But the settlers lost again.

Early this month, several settlers were detained when they tried to obstruct Thamarai-owned timber lorries from leaving the disputed land totalling 4,700 acres.