Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Batu Estate residents call off hunger strike

Photo taken from

Source: (By PRIYA MENON, 2/3/2011)
A PLANNED hunger strike by the residents of Batu Estate yesterday was called off after Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) agreed not to use the Essential (Clearance of Squatters) Regulation 1969 under the Emergency Ordinance to evict the residents. Some 35 people turned up at the DBKL headquarters yesterday with banners accusing DBKL of siding with the developer.

Together with them were PKR vice-president N. Surendran, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Batu MP Tian Chua and Port Dickson assemblyman M. Ravi.

The residents said they would resort to a hunger strike if mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail or Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin did not give them a positive response on the issue. “We came here last week with a memorandum and the mayor said he would contact Surendran at 4pm with a decision but he failed to do so. “We did not know what else to do so we decided we would go on a hunger strike,” said resident R. Vijayaveeran.

After several minutes, DBKL enforcement officers came down to meet the residents but were sent upstairs again with a request from the residents for a meeting. Finally Director-General Datuk Salleh Yusup agreed to a discussion without members of the press.

“He (Salleh) met with all the residents who attended the protests today and agreed to their requests. “They will allow the residents to discuss the matter with the developer without interference from DBKL,” Surendran informed the press. He said it was unfortunate the residents had to overcome so many obstacles before their grievances were heard.

Tian Chua said this was a partial victory for the residents and the developer needed to come up with an amicable settlement.

Lim highlighted that Salleh declined to provide minutes of the meeting or a written agreement on the issue. “He said that he could only do this much at his level and if orders came from ‘above’ he would have to change it,” added Lim.

Later, during a press conference with members of the media, Salleh confirmed DBKL’s decision to cancel the demolition orders that were to take place tomorrow. He said the local authority would wait for a court order once both parties had settled their differences. “I feel that their requests are valid; they have requested that we allow them to continue discussions with the developer and we have agreed,” he said. When asked about the use of the Emergency Ordinance, Salleh said it was stated in the ordinance that developers could request the local council’s assistance for a fee.

Related news: DBKL grants Batu Estate residents reprieve

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