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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kg Railway 'Deepavali' on despite YTL injunction


Kampung Railway residents have refused to budge on what may be their last Deepavali celebrations together, even as property developer YTL Corporation has obtained a court injunction against the gathering today.

Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd (SRSB), a YTL developer for the Sentul area in Kuala Lumpur, managed to maintain ownership of the land according to a court order last year, which ordered some 140 families squatting in the area to evict. 

tian chua at kampung railway residents protestSome residents however argued that their ancestors were railway workers there and their families have lived in the area for over 100 years until the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) land was privatised to YTL Corporation in 1993.

Despite the injunction, the organisers however say they want the residents to enjoy a Deepavali cum Batu constituency open house. 

Batu MP Tian Chua (aboveleft) confirmed to Malaysiakini that he was attending the event and other PKR leaders may also follow suit.

"We are not trying to stop the festivities of any community," said Mohd Said Bani, a spokesperson for SRSB. 

azlan"If they want to have an occasion on a private land ... the law, common courtesy or manners says that they should ask permission but they didn't."

Mohd Said confirmed that SRSB obtained a court order yesterday instructing the removal of tents and canopies put up a few days ago for the celebration. 

He said the tents were also obstructing the work flow of SRSB'scement batching plant.

He added that SRSB has tried to be diplomatic and have in fact sat down and negotiated with many residents for an out-of-court settlement to compensate affected residents for the eviction, but many have refused to budge.
Fight to stay goes on
PKR vice president Tian Chua has been fighting for the residents and have stepped up protests since September.

"It is private land but since many have not come to an agreement to move, we are hoping that YTL can consider letting the residents have a simple Deepavali celebration," Vinesh Nair, PKR Batu communications manager said, "We will even clean up the place afterwards."

kampung railway residents protestHe said they expect 1,000-1,500 people to turn up even though the event was held nearly a month late, as Deepavali was officially celebrated nationwide on November 2.

He added that they were not picking a fight with the developer and hoped that the police would sympathise and hold off intervening in the celebration despite SRSB's court order.

When asked if SRSB wanted the police to stop the event, Mohd Said said they procured the court order after perceiving that it was more than a celebration.

"You should go there and look at the banners and posters that they have put up...it is not about a Deepavali celebration, it is protesting against our plant, and for the squatters," he said. 

"They are intimidating people ... they could have asked permission but didn't."

Vinesh however said that the organising committee for the event had also sent an invitation to YTL to attend the function.

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