Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Adieu, Kampung Rimba Jaya!

Prelude: Sometime back when I visited AL of Harakah at his house in Ampang, we got into a conversation about land-grabbing in Selangor by a certain elected official in a high position. This officer, one we shall call Toyol for his dastardly treacherous acts, is a sleek politician with greed knowing no bounds. In short, this is how he would do it:

Being a high official, Toyol would identify the lands which he could swing his way. Once identified, he would instruct a Company Secretary-friend to provide him an off-the-shelf-company for Toyol to award the land to. Now, like most off-the-shelf companies, if not all, the directors named there are only temporary and usually those working for the Company Secretary. These honest and loyal workers know their names are being used to set up the company, but they know nothing else after that. In fact, their bosses would make sure these 'directors' sign an undated resignation latter. This is an act to facilitate the transfer of company's ownership. Nothing sinister there.

But what these people do, or rather, did not know, is that Toyol awarded several pieces of prime land to companies such as these! After a 'cooling-off' period of about 2 years, Toyol would then instruct the Company Secretary-friend to effect the transfer of company ownership to a new set of names provided. The former 'directors' were kept in the blind, until AL did some investigation. But by then, nothing could be done. And Malaysia being what it is, no matter how many police or ACA reports one makes, nothing came out of them.

Some of the lands grabbed, include the settlements marked as 'tanah teroka' or 'pioneered land'. What this was supposed to mean, is that the pioneers of such land would be given titles to the land they occupy. But if you noticed, I used the word 'supposed'. For in truth, these people had their land grabbed by Toyol.

This, is part of the story for Kampung Rimba Jaya, Kampung Berembang, and several more 'squatter' colonies in Selangor.



When I read the news about Kampung Rimba Jaya on the eve of 27 October, the first thing that came to my mind were the scene of Kampung Berembang when it was demolished earlier this year. Then, pictures of the residents - including women and children - vehement stand against the local authorities flooded my mind like nightmarish scenes of native American's stand against Custer's charge at Little Bighorn, and the slaughter of Palestinian in many refugee camps, mainly Shabra and Shatilla; have we come to that?

Though I was not present at Kampung Berembang, I literally cried reading about their plight. And when I read about Kampung Rimba Jaya, I vowed to stand by them.

The morning of October 27, I drove straight towards Padang Jawa, Shah Alam, and straight into a small lane hemmed in between 2 blocks of wooden shop houses. As I drove in deeper, the lane became narrower allowing the passage of a single car only. This, I asked myself, is the promised development in Klang Valley that has been extolled world over?

For a village that is about to face the wrecking-balls of the local authority, I was amazed at the calmness in which the villagers moved about. There were no frantic scenes I had imagined the night before, though many villagers were seen packing their belongings into their transportations. I noticed too, several people were on or about several houses. They, I was informed later, were contract workers engaged by the villagers to dismantle their house, plank by plank, and zinc by zinc. Rather than watch their property heartlessly demolished, the villagers were trying to salvage what little they could.

I parked the car on a cement flooring of what perhaps could have been the floor of a house or shed, with some of its wooden walls still standing, then walked towards a group of men who were busy dismantling a house. Though I was wearing my webtv8 vest, I introduced myself as from Lajnah Kebajikan Pusat, the parent organisation for Kelab Kami Perihatin. Alhamdulillah, the introduction put them at ease and I was soon informed of the situation, which I relayed back to Dr L.

The villagers had decided to abandon all hopes for Kampung Rimba Jaya. Though they once won a court decision, it had since been overturned by higher courts and the villagers have no other recourse to turn to. As such, most of the villagers have decided to move out, leaving several families who were still adamant about their rights having lived there for close to 40 years! But their brave stand was to no avail as the local authorities - to me - are akin to the brutalities against the Palestinians (click here for full story).

As the roads to Kampung Rimba Jaya was cordoned off, sympathisers had to park their car a distance away and walk in. I am ashamed to admit that I was not able to. Nursing a bad ankle and a text message from Raja Petra Kamaruddin had me going down to KL. At noon, the message read, the controversial Director of Commercial Crime, a Dato' Ramli, will be giving an explosive press conference. But Wak and I were late and missed the scoop. The PC however, we were told by other journalists, was not what they had expected.

Back to Kampung Rimba Jaya, Alhamdulillah, with the grace of Allah s.w.t., the local representatives of Lajnah Kebajikan were able to find some accommodation for several families, and a small warehouse for the villagers to store their belongings. But this is only a temporary measure as Lajnah Kebajikan - both pusat and local - are hard strapped for cash.

To anyone reading this and my prior entry, I had promised to write about the conversations I had with several of the villagers. InsyAllah, I will fulfill this promise so that you, as a reader, may know the truth about the plight of Kampung Rimba Jaya residents, and not judge them based on the lopsided reporting of mainstream media in Malaysia.

12 comments:

Kata Tak Nak said...

I am sad and frustrated but I am not surprised. Had they been humane, I would be surprised.

Baraka said...

Salaam & thanks for your insights. I look forward to learning more.

Warmly,
Baraka
www.rickshawdiaries.wordpress.com

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

shah,

selangor a developed state my ass!

sure you can say that if you happen to drive along the federal highway thats made up of shah alam, subang jaya, PJ, and KL along the stretch. but how about those from other parts of selangor apart from the BIG towns mentioned? sepang for example. its like oil-on-water's surface thing. sure the state-of-the-art airport is world class but drive into its trunk roads and reality will sink in.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

Ironic, isn't it? But that's the government in Malaysia...and the people who elected them - apart from the phantom voters, that is.

cakapaje said...

Salam Baraka,

Thank you reading it. However, please don't take my word alone, there are sites which you can find even more disturbing news. I am but, a small voice and an untrained reporter.

Try: http://rockybru.blogspot.com/, http://blackinkorea.blogspot.com/,
http://englishsection.com/,
http://jelas.info/, http://www.tianchua.net/en/,
http://www.malaysia-today.net/index.shtml

and quite many more, and another host of others who write in Malay.

cakapaje said...

Salam kerp bro,

You said it my man! In fact, even within KL itself, there are still parts which leaves one wondering.

Btw, regarding my comment about those golf clubs and balls, gua pun cakapaje :)

tokasid said...

Salam Shah:

He was a different person 20 years ago. Or maybe the person I knew back then didn't show his true color.
Then, he was a poor student trying to achieve his dream of becoming a dentist.To have a better life than his parents'.

Suddenly, they bestowed him the power that he never dreamed of. He came the supremo, numero uno of the state.He became the Don. The God Father. And with the power he had, he forgot the ppl who were like him 20 years ago. Ppl who struggle for a decent living. Yes, power does change ppl. He willingly became the victim of power.

Rimba Jaya will not be the last. And Selangor will not be the only state to chase ppl out of their houses and demolishing it as a topping on the cake.
We'll have to see what will happen in IDR,ECER and the Northern Corridor.
Like I mentioned in Che'gu: we are facing an uphill task. But Lawan tetap lawan. Bongkar tetap bongkar.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

shah,

dont worry brader. since i myself am not capable of walking the talk, aku pon cakapaje...hehe..

cakapaje said...

Salam Doc,

My apologies, I didn't know you are, or were, on a personal basis with him.

Yes, power corrupts. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely!

And yes, we are facing a steep task. InsyAllah, we will not back down but continue.

cakapaje said...

Kerp bro,

Cakapaje tu dah jadi trademark tau! Hahaha! :)

tokasid said...

Shah:

Not to worry, me and that guy was close bcoz of Rugby. me and few guys roped him in for our hostel rugby team.
He was a junior, well actually he was the same batch as Mrs Tokasid.

You see, I have a very unproper habit.When some one whom I used to know well on a personal basis becomes a politician(MP or ADUN), I tend to back off and stop contacting them. I will only respond if they contact me first. However if things starts to become heaty btwn us( well what do you expect for someone who doesn't agree with UMNO/BN stars corresponding via e-mail or sms with an MP or ADUN from UMNO?), I'll just back away from them. By doing that, I still keep my memories I had with them and we don't become 'enemy' on a personal basis.

This mafiasso in Selangor,when he first became the taiko, I did send him a personal message through another close friend. I told the taiko,: You are handed with a huge amanah by ALLAh and the rakyat. If you can carry out your amanah well without victimising the poor or commoners and without involving in corrupt practices, you will be safe in this world and the akhirat.Do not forget the poor.

This friend later told me,the taiko just listened and and didn't say a word.

Friends or no friends...we should fight injustice and victimisation and corruption.

Struggle we must. Fight we must.
Takbir!

cakapaje said...

Doc,

Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!