Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kg. Tai Lee residents call on the government to declare their place as national heritage land

Press Statement by M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 12th October 2014
Kg. Tai Lee residents call on the government to declare their place as national heritage land 

Kg.Tai Lee was one of the earliest settlements of the Indian community in Ipoh. It is within the area known as Buntong which has the highest concentration of Indians in Malaysia. 

The poorest of the poor live here. They have no shelter except these wooden houses erected by them.

Today at a meeting with the residents of Kg. Tai Lee, DAP Ipoh Barat team had a detailed discussion with the residents on the ongoing saga of the residents’ plight.

Kg. Tai Lee has been around since it was first alienated on 23rd October 1914. The majority who had settled at this place were labourers and workers who were employed in and around the Ipoh town (now a City).  Although the majority who settled here were Indians, there were a few Chinese and Malays. The Chinese and Malays moved out over the time and the place presently consist of approximately 55 poor Indian families.

For over three decades, the residents of Kg. Tai Lee have been promised relocation by the Perak state government.  A four acre land next to the kampong belonging to the state government has been promised to be developed into low cost flats for these residents. Even the present MB visited this area on Jan 3, 2010, when a gotong-royong event was organized by the state government with the Kg Tai Lee residents.

The Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir had 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.

In around 1997, the land owners of Kg. Tai Lee started sending out notice to quit the land to most of the residents. Thereafter, the land owners filed proceedings against over 53 residents whom the land owners claimed were squatters residing on the land.

After a protracted legal battle, the Court had on 12th December 2013 ordered the land owners to pay Rm10, 000 per resident but the residents have to move out on or before this April 2014.

During the trial, evidence was disclosed that RM964, 388.88 only being Agency Fee was paid to evict the squatters/tenants to Siva Shankar a/l Sindambaram, the attorney appointed by the land owners.

Upon instruction, we had filed appeal to the Court of Appeal for a higher compensation and at the same time asserting that the residents have a right to stay on the land.

As information has been flowing of the uniqueness of the residents place, the possibility of preserving this place as heritage land is being investigated and ventilated on. 

At today’s meeting, the residents decided to call on the relevant Ministry of Culture and Tourism to assist to acquire this land and preserve it as national heritage land.

It is not going to be easy as the federal and state government may disagree with this proposal since a lot of monies would be required to acquire this land and to maintain it. Be that as it may, we will go all out to assist the residents.  if the need be,  we are ready to take this matter to be adjudicated in court

The residents request requires in depth study and  historical records .Thus,  we are going to invite the Heritage Society of Malaysia to assist us.

We will also write to other NGOs and political parties to request them to assist us to procure the status of Heritage for this land.

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