After 20 years, estate workers still waiting for promised homes

protest
Estate workers protesting today in Putrajaya to demand for the terrace houses they were promised almost two decades ago.

PUTRAJAYA: It has been almost two decades since a group of estate workers in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, was promised terrace houses by the estate owner.

But until today, they have not seen even a single pillar.

The workers are now worried that they would not have a roof over their heads should the estate be developed.

Siti Jarinah Mohd Jajuli, 36, has been living at the estate for nearly 15 years. Her other three siblings are also staying there.

Siti Jarinah Mohd Jajulu, 36, lives in fear of being told to leave the estate.
Siti Jarinah Mohd Jajulu, 36, lives in fear of being told to leave the estate.

“I have been working here for almost 15 years while my husband works somewhere else as a factory worker. We earn about RM2,000 per month from our combined salaries.

“I have to take care of my four children who are still schooling. Sometimes, our earnings are enough but sometimes they are not,” she told FMT.

Jarinah said for now, most of the workers could still live there as they still worked for the estate.

However, some older former workers had been given notices to vacate their homes.

Jarinah is worried that with the influx of foreign workers, she would lose her job and would have to move out of her current house.

“We are not prepared to move as we have nowhere to go. We can’t afford to rent any house outside the estate.”

Jarinah said she was aware that development would eventually reach the estate and feared that her family would have to move before the promised homes are built.

Jarinah is among 150 estate workers from Batang Berjuntai who protested in Putrajaya today to claim the houses that they were promised 17 years ago.

Also present at the protest was Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) committee member S Arulchelvan.

He urged Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar to look into the matter and ensure the company that owned the estate built fully-subsidised low-cost terrace houses for the 245 families.

The protesters also wanted a guarantee that they would not be asked to leave the estate until the housing issue was resolved.

Single mother T Nanthini's two adult sons are living with her as they cannot afford a house anywhere else.
Single mother T Nanthini’s two adult sons are living with her as they cannot afford a house anywhere else.

Another estate worker, single mother T Nanthini, said her two adult sons were living with her as they could not afford their own place.

“I really hope that we can get the house promised to us. I am 56 years old and I still have to get up every day and work so that I won’t be given a notice to vacate our present house.

Aisyah Ismail has been living at the estate for nearly 50 years.
Aisyah Ismail has been living at the estate for nearly 50 years.

“It is worrying if we can’t claim the house that was promised to us. Where would we go if one day we were told to leave? There is no guarantee.”

Another resident, Aisyah Ismail, said she had been living in the estate for 50 years and her children were born there.

“Every day, I worry about what we would do if we are suddenly told to leave.

“We have no plans. Where do we go? I have seen many families who no longer work at the estate being chased out.”