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PRESS STATEMENT

THE DEMOLITION OF SQUATTER HOUSES

ADIL views with regret and dismay the move by the authorities to demolish squatter houses in Kampung Seri Murni, Ampang Campuran on 30 December 1998.

These squatters have been living in that area for about 20 years.  They have no alternative shelter.  The housing developer concerned, Lebby Sdn Bhd, has made no attempt at all to provide these squatters with alternative housing.

ADIL realises of course that from a strictly legal point of view, the squatters have to evacuate from Kampung Seri Murni.  The squatter community had fought against their eviction through the courts and lost.  Subsequently, they informed the housing developer that they were prepared to leave if the developer could provide alternative housing.

On 28 December 1998, a group of the squatters met with Datuk Azmi Khalid, the Deputy Minister of Housing who had reportedly assured them that their houses would not be demolished until they were provided with alternative housing.

Given the plight of the Kampung Seri Murni squatters ADIL appeals to the housing developer to provide alternative housing to them immediately as a matter of urgency.  In the meantime, the developer should ask the enforcement authorities to hold back on the demolition of the squatter houses.

The Ministry of Housing should also step in.  It should join the public in urging the housing developer to show some compassion and humanity.  What is sad is that the demolition is taking place in the midst of Ramadhan and before Hari Raya and Chinese New Year.  As a general principle, no housing developer should be allowed to demolish squatter houses until temporary alternative shelter has been provided.

The existence of squatter communities in the nation's capital and in other parts of the country, and the lack of alternatives for squatters facing eviction highlight yet again the serious housing problem facing the poor.  It is because Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim was deeply conscious of the misery of those who lack adequate shelter that he gave priority to low-cost housing when he was Deputy Prime Minister.  There was no other issue of public concern that he was more committed to than low-cost housing.

ADIL hopes that in the interest of justice and humanity, the government will make the provision of low-cost housing for the poor its number one agenda in 1999.
 
 
 

Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah bt. Dato' Wan Ismail                                                                        5 January 1999
President
Protem Committee Pergerakan Keadilan Sosial (ADIL)