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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Turn it into a heritage site, settlers tell PM


The plight of 31 families from Kg Railway in Sentul has now been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
KUALA LUMPUR: The plight of 31 families from Kg Railway in Sentul has now been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
On Sept 25, the settlers sent a memorandum to the prime minister requesting that their settlement be gazetted as an Indian heritage site.
The Kg Railway settlers are the fourth generation of Malayan Railway workers who had been residing in Jalan 12, Sentul Pasar, since 1886.
“Kg Railway settlement is the last remaining Indian settlement in Kuala Lumpur and we want the government to recognise the housing area as an Indian heritage site,” said action committee leader Jaison Alex.
He added that the settlers highlighted several issues in their six-page memorandum to Najib.
Among the demands was to gazette the land into individual names, declare the settlement as an Indian heritage settlement, stop all development projects within one kilometre from the settlement.
If the government did not gazette the area, Alex said the alternative would be to build three-room and two-bathroom terrace houses costing about RM200,000 each for the settlers in the area.
“We hope the prime minister will heed our requests,” he added.
It was reported that YTL Corporation Bhd bought the land in 2002 from Malayan Railways Bhd and served an eviction notice on the settlers.
When the settlers refused to vacate their homes, YTL Corporation filed a case in court and the verdict was due on Oct 4.
“We are no squatters or trespassers. Our ancestors cultivated the land into a housing area,” said Alex.
He added that according to the Land Act, the settlers had the right to hold the land title if they had been residing in the area for more than 60 years.
“In our case, we have been here for more than 120 years, and so the government must declare it as an Indian heritage settlement,” he added.
He called on the government to extend the same concern it showed for Malay heritage areas, Chinese new villages and Orang Asli settlements for Indian settlers as well.
“Are Indians third class people in Malaysia?” he asked.
Alex also said that the action committee would come out with a blueprint on how to convert the land into a heritage site.
“By turning the settlement into an Indian heritage site, the government can generate more income from tourism since Indians have a 2,000 year old history in Malaysia,” he added.

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