Residents still not compensated 27 years after losing homes to double tracking project

One of the families at their home in Kampung Jaya, Sungai Buloh, which is no longer in existence.

PETALING JAYA: Forty-seven residents and their families who used to live in Kampung Jaya in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, are still hopeful that the state government will make good on its promise to give them each a lot of land for vacating their homes 27 years ago.

Their lawyer Christie Soosay Nathan said he hoped the government would intervene and bring to a close the saga which had “gone on longer than it should have”.

The plight of the families started in 1990, when Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) issued letters to the Kampung Jaya residents telling them to vacate the land.

The village, then home to 72 residents and their families, was sitting on KTM reserve land which was to be developed for a double tracking project.

In November 1991, the Gombak Land Office gave them two weeks to vacate the land and offered them temporary accommodation in a longhouse in Rawang.

Two months later, Christie said each of the 72 residents was offered a lot of land in Rawang with land titles issued if they would vacate Kampung Jaya in seven days.

“The residents accepted this and rushed to vacate Kampung Jaya. Some moved into the longhouse and others rented homes elsewhere.

Christie Soosay Nathan.

“The moving-out process and rental of temporary homes over the years cost the villagers, but they felt it was worth it as they would each get a piece of land measuring 240 square feet.”

Things were looking up for the villagers when, in July 1995, they were informed by the Gombak Land Office that infrastructure works would be carried out on the land in Rawang by a private company.

Two years later, the residents were told that they could instead purchase low-cost homes at RM17,000 each.

Police reports and memorandums to the then-Selangor menteri besar did not change things. The villagers subsequently took the Selangor government, Selangor Land and Mines director and Gombak district land administrator to court.

They demanded compensation from the state for breach of contract.

Lawyer Christie Soosay Nathan (seated, 4th right), at a recent meeting with some of the residents and their representatives.

Twelve residents later entered into separate agreements with the state government, while another 13 could not be reached and ceased to be part of the suit.

Meanwhile, the High Court ruled against the remaining 47 residents, and all attempts to appeal against the decision failed as well.

“Still, the residents did not give up,” Christie said.

“Various meetings were held between the residents’ representatives and the state government including former Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali in 2017.”

The last of these meetings took place in December, with officers from Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS).

“The state has now offered 25 low-cost units of Rumah Selangorku Idaman in Kuang at a price of RM28,000 each.

“While the villagers appreciate the offer, they are still hoping that the state government will honour the promise it made all those years ago to give them the land in Rawang.”