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13 families accept offer of new homes
July 9, 2011 | News Straits Times | By K. Harinderan |
KUALA LUMPUR: The issue surrounding the relocation of 14 poor families living at a block of rundown flats at Jalan Barat, off Jalan Imbi, has finally been laid to rest, thanks to the efforts of the MCA Federal Territory 1Malaysia Task Force Team and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Thirteen families, who had been tenants of the flats for more than 15 years, were offered homes in the Raya Permai and Kg Muhibbah public housing projects in Sg Besi and Puchong following four rounds of discussions with -- and appeals to -- City Hall. One family left after they received their compensation. The remaining families were given till Aug 15 to vacate the site.
The families have been asked to move to make way for the development of the 30ha Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) in Jalan Imbi.
After presenting the 13 offer letters to the residents at the MCA Federal Territory branch office in Taman Maluri, Cheras, MCA Federal Territory 1Malaysia Task Force Team head Banie Chin said: "This was a long-standing problem which has been successfully resolved and it took a lot of effort to give these families what they wanted."
He said in the mid-1990s, the government had paid the families compensation to move out of the flats to make way for a proposed development. The development did not materialise and the families continued living in the flats.
After a census conducted by City Hall, the families were offered units at the Kg Muhibbah public housing project in Puchong which was rejected as the units were deemed to be too far for the residents. The matter was brought to the table once again by 1MDB, as the master developers of KLIFD, to address the needs of the residents.
This resulted in all of them being offered units at the Sri Selangor public housing project at Jalan San Peng but this too was rejected on grounds that the singe-bedroom units were insufficient to house the respective families.
The 13 families were then offered a three-bedroom unit each at the Raya Permai public housing project in Sg Besi, which was accepted by most of them.
Two families reverted to the earlier offer and accepted the units at the Kg Muhibbah public housing project.
Chin said the task force and 1MDB had to sit down down with officers from City Hall and the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry several times to safeguard the rights of the residents.
This led to the increase in compensation paid to the residents, from the initial amount of RM1,000 to RM6,000, based on the residents' appeals.
Resident Sarju Supar, 65, said: "The offer came in time for me to celebrate Hari Raya.
"The offer lapses in July 14, by which time we have to pay RM464 as deposits for rental, water and documentation fees."
The caretaker of a surau in Jalan Rawa said he was relieved that the problem was settled and he looked forward to collecting his keys soon.
He hoped 1MDB could advance part of the compensation to pay for the deposits.
Lok Kwei Lan, 65, and her family accepted the unit at the Kg Muhibbah public housing project.
Lok, who accepted the offer letter on behalf of her husband, Yu Ah Fook, 74, said they wanted to live closer to their daughter who was also offered a unit there.
A 1MDB spokesperson said that besides paying the families RM6,000, they would assist the residents by helping them to pay the RM464, which will be deducted from their compensation, and the balance of the compensation would be paid once they moved out.
1MDB will assist City Hall to refurbish the units before the occupants move in.
They will help to install security grilles, floor tiles and make arrangements for the residents to move into their new homes.
The relocation of the families was the final round of resident settlement from the site. It began in March, when a large group of Myanmar refugees were relocated to various parts of the city.
1MDB worked with the cooperation of Chin Refugee Committee and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to relocate the refugees.