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Who’s demolishing squatter houses?

“… [I]f tractors from the Land and Mines Department demolish houses, such as was the case in Kampung Buah Pala in Penang, then it will not help the people.

“Such action is an example of unfulfilled promises by PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and thus, we must remind ourselves to prevent such an incident.”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, when launching a relocation project for Malay Malaysian villages in Johor. He said development projects should not burden the people, especially those that result in squatter relocation. He added that ordering squatters to relocate, even when their homes had not been completed, should be avoided as it would burden the people. (Source: Najib: Avoid projects that burden the people, The Star, 23 May 2010)

“They cannot remain as squatters. If we delay their relocation, many problems will arise. It is better for them to heed the government’s advice and move out.”

Former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo, announcing in 2005 that the Selangor government would begin demolishing all squatter houses in the state. He said he aimed to achieve the target of zero squatters by the end of the year, and that the state had already given ample notice to squatters to move out. (Source: Selangor to demolish all squatter houses starting July, BNET quoting Bernama, 16 Feb 2005)

“They came and bulldozed my house, I didn’t even have enough time to save any of my valuables.”

Kampung Berembang resident Shariff Shari, whose house was demolished by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council in 2006. Villagers complained that temporary houses were located 27km away instead of 2km as promised. Shariff claimed that the council did not give residents any notice before demolishing their houses.

About 1,000 families in Kampung Berembang had to relocate when the land where their village was situated was slated for a development project by state investment arm Permodalan Nasional Selangor Berhad (PNSB) and PNSB Acmar Sdn Bhd. Selangor was under Barisan Nasional rule then. (Source: Second demolition bid postponed, The Star, 21 Nov 2006)

“We woke up very early this morning to block the roads leading to our houses so that the officers will not be able to get in.”

Kampung Berembang resident Frisya Abu Hassan, on the remaining villagers’ attempts to stop their houses from being demolished after bulldozers had cleared other houses in the village.

Villagers said they had lived on the land since the 1960s with the Selangor government’s consent. (Source: Second demolition bid postponed, The Star, 21 Nov 2006)

“Many of the houses have been vacated and we hope the occupants will not rebuild their houses elsewhere.”

A Selayang Municipal Council official, commenting on the demolition of 50 squatter houses at Kampung Sungai Tua Tambahan near Batu Caves in 2002. Hundreds of officers from the council, the Immigration Department, and the police were reportedly involved. Many of the villagers were reportedly those with permanent residence status. (Source: Another 50 squatter houses demolished, The Malay Mail, 26 Feb 2002)

“I saw the pictures [of the demolitions], I feel very sad. I am in a difficult position — to choose between one family and 10 families. Of course, as a leader, I’ve to choose 10.

“If I adopt the minority view, I am not being fair to everybody. I also cried [for them], but I need to choose.”

“We take action because we need to develop [the area] and fulfill our promise to the 80% [who agreed to move].”

Khir Toyo, commenting on the demolition of squatter houses and temples in Selangor. He said the 20% of squatters who refused to move were a minority group influenced by opposition parties. (Source: Khir Toyo: I cry for the squatters too, Malaysiakini, 20 Dec 2007)

“You can’t allow people to become squatters in a state. There’s the balance that we have to abide by.

“We want to accommodate the wishes of the squatters as much as we have to take into account the costs [ incurred by] the developer.”

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, commenting on the squatter situation in Selangor when he took office as the new menteri besar after the March 2008 general election. (Source: MB: ‘Zero squatters’ policy to continue, Malaysiakini, 26 Mar 2008) favicon

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