KONGRES PKR ...LIVE !!! -----> cakkk kat sebelah
Hari terakhir perbahasan Kongres LIVE .... !!!!
Jadual 3 hari KONGRES - DISINI

HOME [no2umno]

Dec 21, 2007

Khir Toyo: I cry for the squatters too ?

Malaysiakini - Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said he had done his best in the handling of a series of emotionally-charged demolitions of squatter houses and temples in the state. “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,” he told Malaysiakini when asked on the controversies in a 90-minute interview at his office in Shah Alam last week.

The menteri besar, who took office in 2000, added that the state government has provided alternatives to the squatters including better housing scheme and financial assistance before asking them to relocate.

“We take action because we need to develop (the area) and fulfill our promise to the 80 percent (who agreed to move),” he said.

He described the 20 percent who refused to budge as a “minority group influenced by opposition parties”.

Open clashes

A visibly upset Mohd Khir also lamented that the minority group should have given in to the rest and not to “refuse everything” that was offered.

He revealed that even one of his relatives was not spared from eviction.

“In Kampung Rimba Jaya, one of them is my uncle’s son who lived there. He came and see me (to ask for help) but I said ‘no’. The land doesn’t belong to the state, (and) if I don’t settle the issue today, it will come up in future,” the 42-year-politician asserted.

Scenes of brutal confrontation emerged during the two most recent demolitions of squatters in Kampung Berembang near Ampang and Kampung Rimba Jaya in Shah Alam.

In both occasions, local authority enforcement officers openly clashed with residents when they forced their way in to the squatter area to demolish the houses - with the aid of tear gas and water cannons - when the residents refused to budge. Dozens of arrests were also made.

Since the demolitions, some of the defiant squatters, including women and children, are living in makeshift tents near their demolished homes.

The spate of squatters demolition done under the name of development is in line with the ‘zero squatter’ policy set by the Selangor state government, which it had targeted to achieve two years ago.

Social activists have criticised the high-handed actions in the demolition of squatter areas. Often the enforcement officers moved in even before the disposal of court cases where the residents had challenged the eviction order.

However, residents in Kampung Berembang - some of whom have lived there since the 1960s - won a minor court victory last week when a high court denied the developer possession of the land and set aside its injunction to prohibit evicted squatters from returning to the area.

Kept changing ‘golf pose’

On the demolition of temples in Selangor which has upset the Indian community, Mohd Khir said the state government had to face the intractable issue of temples being built on private or reserved land.

“If it is private land, we always put a condition that the landowner must provide (another piece of) land to relocate the temple. In fact, we force them to give some compensation to the local temple.

“When we discussed (with the local residents), there is often no problem. However, when outsiders come into picture, there is problem - they make the matter worse,” the menteri besar claimed.

Mohd Khir appeared to brush aside the criticism of MIC president and Works Minister S Samy Vellu who was irked by the demolition of a 100-year-old temple in Kampung Rimba Jaya in late October.

“They created the story of 100-, 200-year-old temple, (which is) not true. We know the oldest temple in the state... I don’t know what happened to him (on why Samy Vellu had reacted the way he did) - we demolished the temple only after Deepavali,” he said.

While the local authorities were stopped from demolishing the temple a few days before Deepavali, they however returned to complete the job soon after the Hindus’ most important festival.

Mohd Khir stressed that the state government’s move to demolish the temple was not made abruptly and they had started discussions and negotiations with the local residents for years.

“They kept on changing their ‘golf pose’ - we followed, but still we can’t do much,” he lamented.

‘No big impact’ on BN chances

Nevertheless, Mohd Khir remained optimistic and was of the view that such controversies would not jeopardise the ruling Barisan Nasional’s chances in Selangor in the next general elections due next year.

“After we give clear explanation, the people will become more reasonable and accept it. The issue turns into a big issue often due to no clear explanation... We are very caring actually,” he emphasised.

But he hoped voters do not cast their votes emotionally in the polls.

“Sometimes we have to make unpopular decision, but that is the reality that we have to face. We don’t want to be a party that promise yang bukan-bukan (something not workable) but can’t fulfill them after the election.

“The opposition knows they can never be the government so they promised macam-macam (all sort of things). They don’t really have commitment,” he argued.

Highlights of the interview

On Kg Berembang and Kg Rimba Jaya

Those in Rimba Jaya and Berembang are a minority group which is not happy. They are less than 20 percent (of the total residents). We have discussed with them at the initial stage until we reached a decision that the majority are satisfied with, only then we act. These squatters are to be moved to a better place and housing rental is being paid by the developer, state government or local authority until their houses are completed.

But there is a small group not happy because they applied for the land to be given to them or they argued the land was developed by them. We have explained that the land is privately-owned, not government-owned. We have many discussions with everybody. Take Rimba Jaya - we started talking about the issue five years back. Berembang was four years back.

On the temple demolition in Shah Alam

They created the story of 100-, 200-year-old temple, (which is) not true. We know the oldest temple in the state. There are about 810 big temples in Selangor and thousand of small temples. I don’t know what happened to him (MIC president S Samy Vellu who was upset over the demolition). We demolished the temple after Deepavali.

Impact on BN’s chances in general elections

Rakyat has to see the performance of the BN government. We are not simply doing something, we are doing it for our future. Sometimes we have to make unpopular decision, but that is the reality we have to face. We don’t want to be a party that promise yang bukan-bukan but can’t fulfill them after the election. The opposition knows they can never be the government, they promised macam-macam. They don’t really have commitment.

Like (PAS-led) Kelantan. Last time, they said they want to push for hudud law, what happen to that now? We don’t want to be a government that cheat the people. We want to be a government with integrity.

On the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)

Hindraf is not something new, it has been moving in Selangor for three, four years. They have the agenda to turn the Malays into their enemy. We see it, it has been there for a long time. They questioned why Islam is higher than other religions when we know Islam is the official religion and it was agreed to during the Independence. They also questioned the bumiputeras’ rights.

Criticisms against his leadership

I already have done my best. If people want to criticise, I can’t say anything. So far, Selangor is doing quite well. We have clear direction. We know what to do for the next five years.


Posting terkini

Blog Archive