PSM cries foul over charges to be filed against activists

PSM activist Karthiges Rajamanickam led a protest at the lobby of Komtar in June where some 30 people camped with their pillows and comforters after they were forced to leave their homes.

GEORGE TOWN: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) today condemned police action to charge two of its activists who defended a family from being evicted from a Penang public housing flat last month.

PSM central committee member Choo Chon Kai said its activists Karthiges Rajamanickam and Nathan Munusamy were expected to be charged tomorrow for obstructing a public officer from discharging his duties under the Penal Code.

Choo said it was because of the efforts of the two activists that the affected families were finally offered alternative housing in mainland Batu Kawan.

He questioned why police were pursuing the case as the matter had been resolved.

“PSM categorically condemns the charges which would be brought against our two activists for defending the poor folk from a low-cost flat from being evicted.

“Such action against them is a waste of time as the authorities do not have a strong case.

“We urge the charges against Karthiges and Nathan to be dropped immediately,” Choo said in a statement today.

Since December last year, PSM has been helping affected families at the government-owned low-cost flats at Rifle Range, Air Itam, to continue staying there although they were issued notices for not meeting the minimum requirements.

The seven families were evicted from the flats for various reasons, including having rental arrears of up to RM20,000; having a monthly income exceeding RM750; registered tenants who had died; and having spouses who are foreigners.

Many of the tenants are either the parents or siblings of those originally allowed to rent the low-cost flats.

On June 6, Karthiges led a protest at the lobby of Komtar, where some 30 people camped with their pillows and comforters after they were forced to leave their homes.

The Penang government said the affected families had been given a lot of time to look for an alternative home, but failed to do so. An official said they had evicted them to make way for more deserving families.

Following a meeting with the activists, the state government agreed to provide temporary housing in Batu Kawan, with rent of RM170 a month, to four families.

4 families evicted from Rifle Range to get houses

Evicted residents camp out at Komtar with pillows