Eviction for 40 Smallholders in Kuala Langat
|What is affected||
|Type of violation||
|Date||22 March 2009|
|Region||A [ Asia ]|
Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)
Article found at: The Star Online (Malaysia) http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/3/21/central/3525033&sec=central|
Sunday, March 22, 2008
EVICTION INSTEAD OF COMPENSATION
By Lim Chia Ying
After waiting 28 years for a promised compensation for their land acquired by the state, 40 smallholders in Kuala Langat have been ordered to evict from the place that their families have owned, lived and toiled for some 100 years.
TWENTY-EIGHT years ago, the then Selangor state government promised about 40 smallholders of Sungai Kelambu Brooklyn in Kuala Langat that they would be compensated with an acre of land for every acre acquired by the state.
And, after the long, long wait, the smallholders are still waiting for the promise, documented in black and white in a letter dated April 1982, to be fulfilled.
The unkindest cut is that, instead of being given their due compensation, the smallholders have received lawyer letters in December last year ordering them to evict the land which generations of their family members owned, lived and toiled for some 100 years.
The smallholders are crying foul that the land of their forefathers, gazetted for state use in 1981, has been alienated to a private company Goodcrest Development Sdn Bhd since April 5, 2000.
“We were in the dark for more than eight years that our land has been alienated to a private company,” landowner Ang Unn Tong said.
“We have our land grants, not temporary occupational licences (TOLs), to show we are the rightful owners, but when the state government wanted to acquire our land back in 1981 for mining purposes, we had no choice but to relent,” the 54-year-old Ang said.
“We received a letter from the then mentri besar, the late Datuk Hormat Rafei, in 1982 that the 278 acres of land used for mining in Sungai Kelambu Brooklyn will be replaced with land to be acquired from the same area,” he said.
“We were also offered a partial cash compensation during time of acquisition of between RM8,000 and RM10,000 which we accepted under protest,” Ang said.
“However, we cannot accept that our land which is supposed to be acquired by the state for mining purposes has now been sold to a private company to build houses,” he said.
Apparently, before the transfer of ownership to Goodcrest, the land had also changed hands a few times.
According to another landowner Yap Lai Keng, many of the smallholders depend on the land to feed their families as they had grown oil palm and vegetables over the years.
“We even have a letter issued by the Land Office allowing us to tend the land until such time that the state wants to use it for mining purposes,” Yap said.
“However, we got a shock when we were told to vacate the land, on the grounds that we are squatting on someone else’s land. Obviously, we feel cheated,” he said.
The smallholders said they had sent a letter to the mentri besar’s office on Feb 18 and also to the Kuala Langat District Office on March 6.
“When Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim visited Banting on March 17, we told him our predicament,” Yap said.
Another smallholder Ang Chee Ais claimed they were prevented from entering their land as guards and Rela officers had been placed to guard the area, and signboards had also been put up indicating the land’s new owner.
The smallholders have formed a committee to handle the issue, with social activist Tan Bon You as their adviser.
“The smallholders want their land back or be compensated with similar parcels of land. They are willing to return the monies paid to them as initial compensation at that time,” Tan said.
“We hope that the current state government can help resolve this matter, failing which the farmers are considering seeking an audience with the Sultan if all else fails,” he said.
A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia revealed that Goodcrest was registered in 1995 and the undersigned in the transfer deed at that time were directors Tan Ch