by : M.Kulasegaran
Last evening I had made a lightning visit to Tenang. The Election Commission (EC) has set Jan 30 as polling day for the Tenang state seat, if there is a contest, while nomination is on Oct Jan 22.
Accompanying me were YB P.Guna (Senawang-Negeri Sembilan) and M/s Kamachee (Wanita Chief of Pahang).
We arrived at Tenang at about 3pm and I met up with Senator Ramariskrishnan, Chandra Segaran the elected Chairperson of Kg.Veeran land action committee and many locals.
One of the most pressing and urgent matters at hand was the issue of eviction of settlers of Kg. Veeran.
Kg. Veeran has about 22 houses which are built on railway land. Including dependents, the total number living in this colony is about 100 people. The people residing at Kg.Veeran are almost all from the lover income group and all are Indians.
During the last few General Elections, the residents were promised that they would be relocated with alternative land and compensation would be provided.
To date this promise by the BN remains empty talk only. After the 2008 elections, the residents were shown a piece of land sort of on a valley and told that titles would be issued for them.
But to date nothing has come of it. We were given to understand that MIC top brass visited the area last week. The residents brought up the issue of imminent eviction from the said Kg. Veran as the land is required for double track railway service.
Again the residents were promised that alternative land would be given. We had a 3 hours dialogue session with the locals on the eviction issue. I told the locals that a similar issue of KTM squatter occupation happened at Kuala Sepatang, Taiping and it was resolved.
Over 300 squatters had resided at the said land for over 2 generations. But with the Perak and Federal Government putting their foot down, the KTM Berhad and the Railway Asset Management Corporation resolved the issue by allocating all the squatters with land. It was all achieved during the occurrence of the Bukit Gantang by election.
If a settlement could be reached in Kuala Sepatang, I see no reason why a similar settlement can’t be reached for the Kg.Veeran folks.
We intend to make this squatter issue a central issue in the by election. At the end of the dialogue session with Kg.Veran Land Action Committee, Sdr Chandra Sekaran, M/s Letchumy and Sdr. Vengithan were elected unanimously to coordinate with the authorities to bring about a settlement.
With political will, the squatters issue could be settled with a stroke of a pen.
Let’s see whether BN will show the political will and resolve the people’s plight or it continues to play with hollow promises.