The Indian Heritage land in Sitiawan has been in the news ever since the Federal Government‘s proposal to acquire it. The acquisition Hearing is scheduled to be held at Sri Manjung land office tomorrow.
There have been fierce objections to the acquisition as the land has historical and sentimental value to the local Indian community. This 2.2 hectare land was purchased in the 1930’s with donation collected from Indian rubber tappers in and around Sitiawan.
All and sundry feel the intended acquisition is unnecessary, insensitive, unfair, unacceptable and unjustifiable.
A number of meetings involving NGOs and local community have been held to discuss the proposed acquisition. The Committee Against the Acquisition of the Dindings Indian Heritage Land (CAADAHL) was subsequently formed to spearhead, coordinate and organize activities to protect the land.
A memorandum to protest the intended acquisition was handed to the land administer of Sri Manjung on 20thAugust2010. Those who were present to hand over the memorandum included the Dindings Indian Association President Shanmugam, NGO's, civil society, concerned citizens and me. The cavetors of the land, Gurusamy and Muniandy were present too.
Although it has been widely reported in the press that both the Federal and Perak governments have decided to withdraw the decision to acquire the land, no formal notice has been given to the above persons.
We have taken the stand that unless officially notified we will proceed to attend the acquisition inquiry come what may.
Nevertheless, late yesterday the cavettos have been officially notified that the acquisition has been cancelled.
In view of the above development and after due consideration, we have decided to call off the protest scheduled to be held tomorrow at the Sri Manjung land office.
CAADIHL is aware that that hundreds of police personnel will be deployed to be placed around the land office.
We are also aware that water cannons, tear gas and other preventative police gears are all being readied for tomorrow’s event.
I want to ask whether all this process is necessary when the demonstration panned is simply a peaceful gathering of citizens to make clear their objections to the proposed acquisition.
If only the government has been considerate and not try to acquire the Heritage land which has historical and sentimental value to the local Indian community, such waste of police time could have been avoided.
The proposed acquisition shows that despite having suffered its unprecedented electoral debacle in the last general election, the BN government has yet to learn its lessons. It is still the same arrogant and insensitive BN.
Many who support our stand that there must be no acquisition of the Heritage land are ready to come to Sri Manjung to show their support. Some people from as far as Johor Bahru and Kuantan have expressed their interest to attend the demonstration.
However, in view of the fact that there has been official revocation of the acquisition, the Committee has decided to cancel the planned protect scheduled tomorrow.