After 35 years, 94 Batu Arang families still wait for promised land

Mat Jaiz Yunos points to the land on which the 94 families were supposed to build their village.

KUALA LUMPUR: Ninety-four families in Rawang, who wanted to create a Malay village, were offered land for which they paid RM4,523 each. The land was to have been cleared and land titles given to them so they could build houses.

Thirty-five years later, the land at the proposed kampung at OC8 Batu Arang has not been cleared. And they are still waiting.

The irony is that none of the 94 families, including the 52 who subsequently received land titles from the Gombak district office, is sure of the exact location of their plots or the boundary of the entire site.

Mat Jaiz Yunos, head of the committee seeking a resolution to the problem, told FMT they submitted a request to create a kampung to the district office in 1985.

The proposal was for about 240 housing lots measuring 2,800 sq ft each.

Approval was received in 1989, and the 94 families, all currently still in squatter settlements on state land around Batu Arang, applied for the plots, paying RM4,523 each for land markers, land premiums and permanent land titles.

Fifty-two families, who initially received a temporary occupation licence (TOL) each, received their land titles after paying the premium, while the other 42, who also paid their premium, are still waiting for a response from the district office.

Mat Jaiz said: “Although they’ve given us a plan, this land for us only exists on paper. We don’t know where it actually is, because there are no markers to indicate that the land is ours.

Some of those who paid for the land show documents, including letters, which they had sent to the various authorities.

“Even if we go ahead and start building the kampung ourselves, we don’t know where to start.”

This is because the plan does not show the exact boundary or the adjacent plots.

Mat Jaiz said that over the course of 35 years, the residents had made multiple efforts to contact the authorities and obtain feedback but to no avail.

He claimed they had written to the district office, the Selangor Menteri Besar’s Office and the Selangor Land and Mines Department, but none of them had provided any definite response to the delay.

FMT is awaiting a response from all three government agencies.

Speaking to FMT, Batu Arang resident and the group’s committee member Hamzah Osman said they had also reached out to Selayang MP William Leong at a meet-the-people session.

He said Leong had promised to look into the matter but there had been no follow-up.

Hamzah said their plight was also brought to the attention of Kuang assemblyman Sallehuddin Amiruddin, who advised them to contact the district officer.

Hamzah Osman says he and the others have met several VIPs to seek a resolution to their plight.

Worse, he said, they had to start from scratch every time there was a new Gombak district officer.

He also said they attempted to meet Rawang assemblyman Chua Wei Kiat at his office but were unable to do so.

He said the 52 families who were issued TOLs were required to pay RM52 for the lease every year even though they were unable to occupy the land.

He said more than 20 elderly residents had passed away during the decades-long wait to relocate to the new kampung.

“Our friends have passed away and their children are still waiting for the grants. Everything is paid for but nothing is being done.

“They are collecting our money every year, but haven’t given us an actual answer. We just want to know what is the status of the land,” he said.

Hamzah claimed the committee members had met the Gombak district officer last December where he told them the delay was because there was an overlap as other people had been issued grants for the same land.

The district officer, he said, promised to sort out the matter but they were still waiting.

FMT is trying to confirm this with the district office.

“They’ve told us to be patient, but we’ve been patient for 35 years. We are not going to give up. We must see a resolution of our problem,” Hamzah added, gritting his teeth.