Over two decades ago, the BN Government announced that come 2010 Perak will be squatter free.
This is the official goal post- a fixed date. Then last year this goal post has now been moved to 2012.
Senior state executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman had earlier this year announced that the zero squatter target date would be 2012.
She had also said that the government had finalised and closed the squatters list and that the government was already taking action to settle the squatters’ problems.
But can the BN government fulfill its promise and achieve the target?
Over the last two decades, numerous task forces, involving the local councils, district officers and Government departments were formed by the BN government to resolve the squatter problem.
Why then till today is the squatters’ problem starring at the Government without a final and fair settlement?
The lack of political will has resulted in over 15, 000 squatters still squatting on Government and private land.
The majority of homeless and squatters live in and around the Kinta Valley area.
Almost all the squatters are from the lower income group.
In 1993, 224 squatters were asked to move from Kg. Chekkedi with promises that housing would be given soon.
The "soon" never came about.
But every general elections thereafter in 1995, 1999, 2004, and finally in 2008, these squatters were issued repeated letters assuring them that housing lots would be given.
But all only landed up as empty promises!
The Kg. Tailee third generation squatters have been residing there for over 70 years. Repeated promises of relocation of those residing have failed to materialize till today.
Last evening, YB A.Sivanesan, myself,DAP leaders and local members visited the Gunong Cheroh squatters’ area where over 28 families have received eviction notices.
Almost all of these squatters have been residing there for over 50years and are second generation people.
In 2008, 12 squatters were asked to make way to allow river works to take place. The Pakatan Rakyat government allocated to all of them affordable terrace house.
The 28 squatters were left alone as their land was not needed.
Unfortunately, unknown to many including the squatters, way back in 2006 the BN Government had alienated the land to some housing developers.
Now these developers have filed eviction cases in court.
The BN Government should clarify and explain the following:
1) Why was the developer alienated the land?
2) Why the squatters were not considered for the land to be given to them?
3) Before the land was alienated to the developer, whether did the Land office go down to the ground to ascertain the land was occupied?
4) At what premium was the land alienated and was it done in the best government practice of alienating land?
In all sense of fairness, the BN State Government should call the developers and request the land to be returned back to the Government.
The Government can then alienate this land to the landless squatters
The government can either compensate the developers or alienate a fresh piece land elsewhere to them
This could work out as a win win situation to all
The state Government must come out a blue print on squatters the soonest possible and implement the agreed policies.