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Kampung Sri Makmur demolition job: Tip of the iceberg

We need a solid plan for socioeconomic development, similar to what other progressive nations have.

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The recent demolition exercise carried out at Kampung Sri Makmur in Gombak on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur was heartbreaking. 

Demolishing the homes of over 200 residents (or “squatters”, as the authorities would brand them) and leaving them homeless was heartless.

But the authorities will attest that over 200 families living there are not legitimate residents. Only about two dozen of the families are long-time ‘resident squatters’ while the rest are mostly undocumented, including foreigners. 

The trend of acquiring and rezoning land for profit and development will grow more intense in the coming years. 

So too the occupation of land by homeless vulnerable groups, including undocumented migrants.

The number of low-income people who are financially squeezed is expanding. As their ranks swell, the poor will, out of sheer desperation, look for plots of land to erect their sheds. To compound matters, the country still relies heavily on foreign workers.

This has caused a strong demand for cheap housing because many of these workers are not paid the minimum wage, let alone a living wage.

So the cheaper solution for these workers is to rent premises at around RM1,000 per month and share them with their fellow workers to keep costs down. Or employers may cram their workers into accommodation meant for fewer people to keep their overheads low.

The other alternative for these workers is to put up in the urban pioneer communities that dot the country. 

Some enterprising individuals might even exploit the poor by building crude houses and sheds to rent out to migrant communities.

Why do the authorities allow conditions at these housing areas to deteriorate?

Are the officers in the municipalities and the land offices unaware of when these settlements expand? It takes months for people to clear the land, to construct the homes and to get tenants to move into them. 

Why do the authorities allow abandoned plots of land to be cleared, built upon and occupied for years before moving in to demolish homes? This is most inhuman. 

Why don’t they supervise and regulate the building of homes more effectively?

The country seems to have enough drive and personnel to police religion, but where is the efficiency in enforcing town planning and housing policies?

Why don’t the authorities identify parcels of land along the fringes of towns and have them developed as low-cost homes? These homes could be rented out to those who need them at a minimum rent of about RM200 per month. 

There appears to be a great disconnect in socioeconomic planning. 

The politicians claim they are committed to providing proper housing to the growing numbers of low-income people.

Yet, these same politicians have been unable to tackle the housing needs of the urban poor and vulnerable communities. These include migrant workers, unskilled or odd-job workers who may have migrated from rural settings to find work in cities, and those struck by sudden misfortunes.

The anti-corruption commission should explore whether corruption has played a role in this problem.  

We need a solid plan for socioeconomic development, similar to what other progressive nations have. This plan should prioritise the government’s responsibility to provide every family with a decent roof over their heads.

Malaysia has been independent for over six decades. Demolishing the homes of vulnerable communities and leaving people homeless is most cruel. It is a telling sign of the failure of the relevant authorities to govern and manage their duties efficiently. 

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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19 Jun 2024 1.40pm

next will be Kg Sg Baru, a malay kampung (legally owned) not squatters, acquired by force of law ((akta pengambilan tanah 1960) soon to be demolished similar to what happened to the palestinians in GAZA..VIVA MADANI😁

19 Jun 2024 7.54am

The fate of fakir and miskin Malaysian seem to be last in line for concern. Apart from the low cost flat and lower cost apartment built by Kerajaan Tempatan dan Perumahan. Many of these type of housing was built during the time of DSNR..but seem to standstill at this moment. Housing and having one is the precusor for sustainable real point for a well developed nation.While the government is dealing with big capitalist housing developers, which only care for maximum profit, the government must not overlook the other need of rakyat..Policy of housing for the rakyat must be equitable of real needs. While the housing developer are given at will to build all type of dwellings with exhobitant price tag..so..where are the house for the less afford

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