Saturday, August 17, 2013

When will Perak squatter issue ever be solved?

Media Statement by M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on Saturday, 17th August 2013

When will Perak squatter issue ever be solved? 

Last night, the DAP Ipoh Barat members and I met with the residents of Kg. Tai Lee to discuss and find a solution to the plight that they have been facing.

There is a pending court case to evict them in the High Court. The case has been heard for 3 days and is now fixed for final hearing in September.

The residents had built their houses with assurances by the initial land owner that they could stay there as long as they wished.

The village, which is located on a private land within the Ipoh City area, is now comprised of 50 houses and 75 families, who are the third generation Kg Tai Lee residents.

All the residents are from the lower income group. They are all worried that they will be evicted and become homeless.

Just before the 2008 general elections, the residents were informed by Ipoh Land office that they would be relocated in Pusing, but this has remained an empty election promise till today.

There were also repeated assurances that the residents would be given state housing lots but all these too have never materialized.

Sometime on 3rd January 2010, there was a gotong royong event organized by the state government with the Kg. Tai Lee residents. At the gotong royong, the Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zamry ordered the local council of Ipoh (MBI) to find a solution to settle the issue faced by the residents.

However, nothing has happened so far.

We have written to both the Mayor and the Mentri Besar of Perak to find a permanent solution to the plight of the residents and let’s see if the BN government can live up to their “ Janji di Tepati” slogan .

In fact, sometime in 2000, the former Mentri Besar of Perak Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli had assured all that Perak would be squatter free by year 2005. But 2005 has passed by and there are thousands still in squatter settlements in Perak.

Recently, Datuk Zamry has apparently promised 2015 as the new date for Perak to be declared squatter free. The “goal post” keeps on changing all the time!

Presently there are over 14, 000 squatters in Perak, according to the Perak Economic Planning Unit. When will the issue of squatters be ever resolved?

Obviously, the state government lacks political will power to attend to the homeless.

It’s no use declaring a date which the state government cannot fulfill. What is needed is real commitment to a “blueprint” policy decision on this matter.

We suggest the State Government to set up a high level committee to formulate a new policy and ways to settle squatter issues in Perak.

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