Media Statement by M. Kula Segaran MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 19thDecember 2012
Signature Campaign to oppose the development of Indian Heritage land
Yesterday evening, the Committee entrusted by the local community to spear head the signature campaign got down to carry out its work at Pundut Estate, Sitiawan.
The Indian Heritage land was bought with donations from Indian laborers who had raised their monies from what they had earned as rubber tappers in the 1930's. At that time there were over 37 rubber plantations in the Sitiawan area.
The heritage land measuring over 2 hectors was bought for a school to be built and only for the purposes of the rubber tappers” children to learn English as their children were all attending Tamil schools in the morning.
The land was kept in the name of the Dindings Indian Association (DIA). The DIA trustees were at all times the CUSTODIANS of this land.
The said land is strategically located in Sitiawan and is worth over 20 million ringgit now.
It is now public knowledge that this priceless land will be developed into a commercial area. Even a joint venture agreement has been entered with a company known as Kong Ong Development Sdn Bhd.
The local people are not happy that this Indian heritage land which is worth over more than RM 20 million will end up in the hands of non Indians.
On 15 th November2012, local NGOs, local civil society leaders and political parties from both divide agreed to launch a signature campaign to demand the local authority, State Government and the Federal Government to halt any commercial development of this Indian Heritage land.
I, as a local born boy, decided to assist and thus together with the local community made a house to house walk to get signatures from the locals.
We are happy that every individual or family we met fully supports the signature campaign. Many are upset the DIA trustees are acting for their own benefit and this must be stopped. We even heard some saying to us that the land was bought by the Indian labourers who did not give the power to DIA develop this heritage land.
We are very happy with the support and we will go out to reach the 10,000 signature mark soon. We request locals to take upon themselves to come and sign their signatures. Those keen to help out in the signature campaign can contact Mr. Jega 0165429454
As mentioned earlier , we wanted DIA President N.Krishna and his committee to come to Gandhi Hall, on 25thNovember2012 at 3.30pm and explain to all why this joint venture is necessary and in particular to satisfy all on the following main issues of public importance:
1) Produce the Joint Venture agreement (J/V) and explain and justify the terms;
2) How will the J/V promote the economic well being of local Indians?
3) How many other developers were considered before entering into this J/V.? Why choose King Ong Development Sdn Bhd?
4) How will the Gandhi Hall be preserved as this is a heritage building with Gandhi’s ashes buried there?
5) The property is worth over Rm20 million now. How will the J/V see the community deriving at least RM20million with this J/V?
6) Why has DIA failed to have discussion with the local Indian Community before the J/V was entered?
Krishna and his committee had chicken out and failed to attend the above public meeting. Has he something to hide?
Krishna and his committee must explain why they failed to attend the public meeting.
The signature campaign will go full swing and we hope all in the Sitiawan area will come and support.
We will not stop until and unless the Joint Venture Agreement is called off.
Whatever is done on the land, it must at all times be exclusively for the benefits of the Indians only as this is Indian Heritage Land.