The two longhouse residents who had their homes demolished vow to stay near the rubble until developer delivers on pledge
V Mahalingam, a 56-year-old disabled man and A Pushparani are living in a makeshift tent where their homes once stood pledged to stay put until Peter Brickworks provides them the low cost flat it promised eight years ago.
“I want my flat. If not I will stay here until I die,” said Mahalingam, a 56-year old disabled. “Life as a disabled is hard enough and Peter Brickworks has made it worse for me. They must answer for the misery I’m going through.”
After nearly a week-long tussle with the residents, Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) and the state government, Peter Brickworks ignored numerous pleas and demolished their homes on June 3.
Mahalingam and Pushparani received eviction orders from the developer on May 23 and given a seven-day deadline to make way for a condominium project.
The eviction was postponed after MBPJ issued a stop-work order against Peter Brickworks in an attempt to compel the developer to find an amicable solution with the residents.
Mahalingam said today that the MBPJ had offered him a low cost flat at Lembah Subang on June 1 but he rejected the offer because it was a temporary solution to his predicament.
“Lembah Subang is too far away. I receive medications from a nearby medical facility. How am I to travel all the way from there to PJS 1 if I take up the unit there?”asked Mahalingam.
As both he and his wife S Tamilchelvi were not working, Mahalingam said he relied a lot on assistance from friends and well-wishers who live near PJS 1. Tamilchelvi, 53, is partially blind.
“I also receive monthly provisions from a nearby spiritual organisation. Who will help me in Lembah Subang?” asked Mahalingam, who gets a monthly RM110 from the Welfare Department.
Mahalingam said he had no other place to go. “We have a son but we lost contact after he got married four years ago,” said Mahalingam who was reluctant to delve into the matter.
Pushparani, 44, lamented that the developer went ahead with the demolition despite promising not to at a meeting with Selangor state exco Iskandar Abdul Samad on June 2.
“We can only hope that the state government will help us now,” said a teary Pushparani.
‘We fear for our safety’
Pushparani, who ekes out living ferrying children to school by a mini van to make ends meet said she had to send her six children to stay with friends.
“My husband V Balakrishnan and I now camp out in the makeshift tent or in our van,” said Pushparani.
She added that she also feared for her safety as several unidentified men were lurking around the area where their homes once stood.
“I hold Peter Brickworks responsible should anything untoward happen to us,” said Pushparani.
Residents action committee chairman, M Sugumaran, said he received a text message from Iskandar this morning saying the state government would seize the land from Peter Brickworks.
During a walkabout this morning, FMT team saw two individuals taking pictures of the makeshift tent of the two families and the FMT journalists.
Sugumaran said that one of them was the general manager of Peter Brickworks while the other was the project manager of the condominium project.
Sugumaran urged the state government to speedily provide alternative housing for the residents, especially for Mahalingam.
“I also hope the state assemblyman (Haniza Talha) and the MP for Petaling Jaya Selatan Hee Loy Sean will continue with their effort to assist the residents,” said Sugumaran.
In a latest development, Sugumaran said several men started baricading the area with wire fencing around the demolished area at about 2pm.
Meanwhile, Iskandar, who is in charge of the state housing portfolio, said that the state would acquire the three plots of land at the site because of Peter Brickworks’ defiance.
“The mentri besar (Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) had instructed state secretary Khusrin Munawi to acquire the plots under state laws on Friday,” said Iskandar.
However, Iskandar could not confirm whether the notice has been issued to the developer.