SEMENYIH: After a long and tiring battle of nearly 18 years, the workers of Bangi Estate are breathing easy as they will be able to move into their new apartment units next month.
The 24 families received the keys to their units on the first and second floors of the eight-floor Pangsapuri Putra in Taman Impian Putra here in January from the developer. The two-bedroom units come free to the three generations of estate workers who lived in Bangi Estate.
Their new homes are about 5km from the estate quarters that they used to occupy before the developer evicted them.
Krishnan Chendermaie, 54, one of those who will be moving into the new apartment next month said the families were told to vacate the estate quarters in 2000 but they refused. The developer subsequently took them to court.
The families sought the assistance of PSM which helped them fight the case. In 2015, the court ruled in their favour and the developer agreed to build houses free of charge for them.
As part of the agreement between them and the developer, the former estate workers moved out of their quarters to stay in rented houses at the end of last year. The developer gave RM625 monthly per family to defray rental costs from January last year to this January.
Krishnan said: “When I was asked to leave my job and the quarters, it came as a shock. I had an aged mother, a wife and three children.”
After losing his estate job, he managed to get a job as a security guard but could not afford to buy a house.
“We have been going back and forth to the court to fight this case. We were even harassed by gangsters. We won the case with the help of our lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan.
“Now, finally, we will be moving into our homes after going through so much pain and anguish.” According to him, the house will come equipped with furniture.
Enact law to protect estate workers
Meanwhile, PSM committee member S Arulchelvan, who was also there today, urged the government to enact a law to make developers build alternative houses for workers before evicting them.
“There is a policy, introduced by former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1973, known as the workers housing ownership scheme. But since it is not a law, about 95% of estate owners don’t follow it.”
He said there were many cases where families were left stranded after being asked to leave their quarters.
He said it was time the policy was made law to protect estate and other workers being evicted due to development.
He added, however, that the Selangor government was talking to developers to take care of the welfare of workers displaced from estates.