May 13, 2008 By CHRISTINA KOH
WITH Pakatan Rakyat now governing Perak, squatters in Lengkok Sungai Pari in Buntong, Ipoh, are hoping for an end to their land woes.
The residents’ land action committee chairman S. Thivanathan said the 36 families there had been applying for their land titles since 1986, but to no avail.
Earlier this month, they received a shock when a ‘middleman’ began calling several residents to inform them that they had to make way for a development project.
Thivanathan subsequently lodged a report at the Kampung Baru police station on behalf of the residents on Friday.
“This person, who didn’t identify himself, offered RM3,000 to each family to move out. He called me three or four times to arrange for a meeting with the developer but I refused.
Housing dilemma: Sivasubramaniam (left) speaking to the squatters.
“We want to see our assemblyman over this matter,” he told reporters in Buntong on Sunday.
Thivanathan related that many of them had been living on the 1.6ha plot of land for over 40 years. Half of the land apparently belongs to the police and the other half to the Perak State Development Cor-poration.
At one point, the squatters were among 692 people in Buntong area offered houses by the previous Barisan Nasional Government in Pusing, about 20km from Ipoh.
However, Thivanathan and the other residents did not take up the offer as it was too far.
“We were born and bred in Buntong. We’re not going anywhere else,” he said.
The residents are hoping they can be relocated to a nearby place as their area was affected by flash floods up to three times a month.
Resident S. Lomba, 58, remembered a terrifying flood 20 years ago where the water rose up to her neck.
“We are also frightened for our children because of the many snakes here,” she added.
Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam said he planned to meet Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin over the matter in two weeks’ time.
“I have even identified a16ha plot of land belonging to the state government near the Kampung Baru police station,” he added.
Sivasubramaniam said that the authorities should give permanent land titles to all “landless and homeless Malaysians”.