We have a situation in Rifle Range… two arrested, families evicted

74
1044

Midnight update: Karthi and Nathan were released after 9pm soon after MP Wong Hon Wai turned up at the Patani Road Police Station and spoke to police. Meanwhile, a Muslim group is helping the evicted families. So all is well for now. The state government should now come up with sound, more inclusive policies to protect the housing needs of the lower-income group, including foreigners.

7pm update: Karthi and Nathan are still being held at the Timur Laut Police Station. Activists have been trying to contact the police to seek their release. Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim says he will contact the local MP Wong Hon Wai to assist in securing their release.

All this drama is totally unnecessary and is just a reflection of the low-income housing situation here.

Noon update: A Parti Sosialis Malaysia activist, Karthiges Rajamanickam, and a friend of the residents, Nathan Munusamy, have been arrested for allegedly “menghalang penjawat awam menjalani tugas”. They are now at the Air Itam Police Station. A string of families have been evicted from their homes and their premises locked.

It is so disappointing to see this sort of thing happening in the new Malaysia – especially in, of all places, Penang, which has been under Pakatan rule for a decade now. I know new Attorney General Tommy Thomas has not yet started work but I hope he can come up with proposals to reform our laws to protect the interests of the bottom 40% of the population especially in cases like this.

READ MORE:  Penang Turf Club property development project REJECTED - but ...

The original post:

While we celebrate the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new attorney general, a situation is brewing in Rifle Range in Penang.

From what I hear, 15 low-income households, many of them low-income young workers, could be evicted from their low-cost flats in Blocks D, E and J. Half a dozen Light Strike personnel and half a dozen uniformed police personnel have been deployed.

The state claims that the households have violated some ‘syarat’ (including marrying a foreigner – seriously?), which could be outdated given the present socio-economic context.

But the fact remains these are low-income households with probably nowhere else to go. From what I hear, those with arrears have been repaying them. Invariably, if experience is any guide, some hacks will try and demonise the victims ie those who have lost their homes. But let’s look at the real issue.

Apparently, the income threshold to qualify for these flats is below RM750. But the poverty line index is now RM950 and the minimum wage is RM1,000. Pakatan has pledged to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500. But in the meantime, where are those who are earning RM750-RM2,000 to find housing, especially if they have families to feed? There are so many in this position due to, for instance, low education levels and a lack of jobs that pay a living wage.

This is happening at a time when Penang has seen the property overhang double in one year – most of these are condominiums priced at over RM500,000. See the mismatch we have allowed to develop? Isn’t the real problem a serious lack of low-income housing (while we are pandering to high-end property development) and the past let-down in our education system?

READ MORE:  From 87 units per acre density to 128 units per acre!

An activist helping these households says some of the affected households have been trying to fix an appointment with the Penang state government since the end of last year – to no avail. Last Friday, some of them turned up at Komtar to see if they could talk to someone responsible but they were still unable to meet anyone. They were told they would be given an appointment… and then this happens.

This is not the way to usher in a new Malaysia. So halt the evictions and sit at the table and discuss. Find a solution to resolve the problem. Evictions are not the answer. They are a blot on our collective social conscience.

Finally some thoughts from Dr Syed Husin Ali:

I hope the government will be pro-people in its economic and social policies, especially the disadvantaged and those who are at the lower rung of societies, of all ethnic groups.

There is also always the danger that you might slide back to old ways. There are people who have baggage in the present government but they have shown transformation.

There is a danger that as they gain power, then power corrupts. We don’t want a return to corruption and oppression and a government that just panders to big business.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.

74
Join the conversation

avatar
2000
22 Comment threads
52 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
HarishBB residentBrianStanlyglissantia Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Donald Francis
Guest
Donald Francis

Urban poor must upgrade skills for better paying jobs and practise family planning so that fewer children can lessen financial burden else vicious cycle will continue in next generation.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Whilst I agree in principle, however who is going to pay for them to upgrade their skills and moreover, experience from other countries, including Australia shows that not everyone is capable of upgrading their skills and proverbially “move up the value chain” to “better paying jobs”, if they exist up that “value chain” that is. 600,000 clerical and administrative workers in India who extensively use computers and information technology tools to perform their work, face being made redundant between 2017 and 2020, simply because their jobs are being replaced by automation (such as by AI systems which can scan an… Read more »

Salma
Guest
Salma

Then the lower income group must live within their means. Education is important for their children to improve their living in later years.

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

How about renting a room if one cannot afford a house? Start small.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Agreed! Especially with the inflation rate, RM3,000 or RM4,000 per month is hard for an individual to survive on especially in urban areas. My first job as a process engineer at NS Electronics (National Semiconductor) in Senawang back in 1980 paid RM1,000 per month, which was enough for the rent, the running expenses of a car, food, some social life and a few personal luxuries but today I’d be a pauper on that pay. Najib announced Economic Transformation Programme on 25 October 2010 (Gregorian, not Julian calendar) and in his slide presentation I downloaded from the website of the now… Read more »

Norman
Guest
Norman

Better to stay in rural small town where the cost of living is lower. There should be jobs in agricultural sector. Many migrant workers who started as farmers are now towkays. Another option is for one of the family member to work in Singapore, very common nowadays even for Kedah folks. All you need is a will, not excuse.

Norman
Guest
Norman
Stanly
Guest
Stanly

Kula realised now more banglas than Indians in Bolehland.

Stanly
Guest
Stanly

No money can be KarangGuni collect tin cans and cardboards for sale and recycling. Too lazy to work expect easy handouts. No shame? No sympathy from me if you are healthy with hands and legs but refuse to work hard.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Agreed in principle but the issue at stake here is not about people living beyond their means but about low income earners who are finding it difficult to keep up with payment of rent for their low cost flat and about the arrest of activists who stood up in support against their eviction. We all know about rising living costs in the past few year, so it is not surprising that some are unable to adequately cope. This is one of the factors which contributed to BN being voted out. How were these people living beyond their means – buy… Read more »

Norman
Guest
Norman

“These evictions are a bad beginning for our new Pakatan government” or is PSM trying to regain new credibility after losing badly in GE14? A stunt for Buah Pala 2.0?

BB resident
Guest
BB resident

This is how Singapore is encouraging its citizens to upgrade skills via SkillsFuture scheme:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkIBjH8z3GU

Harish
Guest
Harish

Must teach people how to fish and not just provide free fish. Learn from Singapore!

shriek
Guest
shriek

Of course the blame is on former umno gomen. They take care of uni students. They can attend other computer courses foc and at the same time import millions of blanga and indo to be working in hospitality areas.
What is mentioned is half the story from one side.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Agreed that low income and lack of job opportunities amongst Malaysians is due to legacies of the previous Barisan government, which has allowed an influx of even lower educated foreign workers with lower work standards and yes, this has to be rectified by the new Pakatan and they are beginning to do so by tightening up on the employment of foreign workers, especially illegals, but evicting these low income flat dwellers is not where to start and is wrong. Instead, the new Pakatan government must let these flat dwellers continue to live in the flats and find ways to help… Read more »

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Just to share this ‘wai lao’ employment + reward paradox:
my friend’s father employed a ‘wai lao’ as an electrician supervisor overseeing a few ‘wai lao’ electricians. This ‘wai lao’ electrician supervisor got Rm10k as bonus this CNY. Much, much better that most of us B40 who wish such a windfall by local bosses.
Q: Why local bosses still want to employ ‘wai lao’ & can still give handsome ‘windfall’ bonuses to them?
I understand that some locals won’t stay at the jobs longer than ‘wai lao’ which makes bosses rather prefer to employ ‘wai lao’.

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

Wai Lao come here to earn a living.
Ma Lao shuttle daily to SinLand to make money.

No paradox, only parallel. B40 may consider venture outside comfort zone to make money. Already many Malaysians for survival ‘jump plane’ to make money in Japan, UK and Australia.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

You watch tooo much yankee movies. Even singland moves up the chain values, everyday thousands of malaysian astronuat workers shuttle between singland and jb. Those from kelantan and east malaysians orso join the space shuttle. If no jobs, why. Dummos have to import 1.5 million blangas here? Dummos failed. In the past, we have reknown rubber research institute and medical institute specialised in tropical disease. The serdang agriculture college was orso well known. Where are they now?

Heng GS
Guest
Heng GS

Time to rename Rifle Range. Rifle is not a peaceful name, no wonder so much unrest over the years.
Suggest to rename it Peace Range, what say you?

Heng GS
Guest
Heng GS

Compassionate Range?

Peter Boyle
Guest
Peter Boyle

A challenge for new govt in Malaysia and its new AG, Tommy Thomas: Stop evicting the poor! Free Karthi and Nathan!

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Yes! Free Karthi & Nathan and stop such evictions! However, bear in mind that most Pakatan politicians and Pakatoons (Pakatan supporters) are inclined towards neo-liberalism, so whilst they may be more liberal on social and cultural issues, including on freedom of speech, freedom of press, meritocracy, competency, accountability, transparency and other high falutin issues of primary concern to the urban, petty bourgeoisie, however they are less concerned for the welfare and rights of the proletariat, the lower income petty bourgeosie and the marginalised. Whilst I welcome the new Pakatan government as a lesser evil than BN, however I do not… Read more »

shriek
Guest
shriek

The poor has rights nof to pay rent? How much income tax do you pay? Those welfare societies have to pay 30. to 50 % of their income as tax to help the poor in the society. Tell us if you are willing and good ib petition to the gomen to increase personal income tax. Where the millions in cash in pavilion comes from?

shriek
Guest
shriek

In umno gomen why social welfare dept under central gomen are not giving money? Why the labour dept orso run by central gomen cant find them a job? You mean gaji buta?

Michael Maguire
Guest
Michael Maguire

Absolutely essential that the new Penang Government practises compassion. The Penang Government needs to be open to these people and their representatives to resolve this impasse. This may require the state government to let go of their tightly held purse strings.

shriek
Guest
shriek

You meant, they need not to pay rent? Then hundreds of families living in rifle range can also follow the same. No need to pay rent to the gomen. We should have charitable organisations to help out. But remember, dummos accuse those organisations of polyesting others and the religious leaders of sliver state are claiming many are changing their belief

Norman
Guest
Norman

No different from those who refuse to pay traffic summons, or PTPTN loan, hoping for some discounts down the road? Becoming a norm in Malaysian society.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Traffic Jam in Green Lane for almost an hour this morning! What is this? 2 accidents along that stretch! Where are the polis personnel to guide & ease traffic flow? My daughter on her way to USM to take an exam was stranded for more than an hour since 7.30am. Weeping & stressed. To all those involved in an accident, pls have consideration to remove your vehicles to the side to allow others to pass thro’. You have handphones to take evidence pictures of the accident, not to leave the vehicles (kia su?) & create unnecessary traffic jams inconveniencing others.… Read more »

Stanly
Guest
Stanly

Too many cars on the road.

Mie
Guest
Mie

Its really strange to have over 10years of DAP rule and yet this issue still persist. What Lim Guan Eng has done earlier? How come no new flats for those below 2k family income? How come after hundreds of acres of land reclamation projects on Penang island a shortage of public flats? Why KL can have thousands of flats built next to new condominium? Yet Penang failed to build similar schemes? (Are there) low cost flats built for rent … in reclaimed lands in Jelutong and Tanjong Tokong? If developers were to build a block with 200 units of 3rooms… Read more »

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

I have noticed that too after 10 years of Pakatan rule in Penang.

No point talking about competency, accountability and transparency when do not cater to the interests of the low income group.

shriek
Guest
shriek

The poor are made poorer by GST. You should tell the previous gomen that they should not collct GST on stuff the poor buys. Even some the medicine and medical the previous make it more expensive by imposing tax. Now you can go and shout to some PH ministeries to exempt certain taxes for the poor.

shriek
Guest
shriek

Kl is very small place. Ah loy built his fortune on tin mines. But where are the mining ponds? Why hyprocites no complains where mining ponds are reclaimed? No mord fishes for inland kl people as the sea is far away. See those resettled to temporary long houses in jinjing live there almost a generation about 25 years. Penang very big island. Can you tell which are the places vacant?
Relocate Airport to kedah or perak and built houses there? Even pg forum remains silent.

Amy gan
Guest
Amy gan

Whilst the poor must be helped, but for how long? Do the govt keep feeding them and they in turn do nothing and depend on handouts and assistance? In this case, from what i read, those evicted are those that are not qualified . They have to made way for those others who are more deserving.

Ah Hua
Guest
Ah Hua

Sad to read the news of sufferings of poor people even so, when discovering the contrasting news in The Malay Mail….https://www.malaymail.com/s/1638868/kadir-jasin-rm257m-spent-on-agong-in-16-months

Brian
Guest
Brian

Ai yoh, this already got Kadir Jasin into trouble, but now 10% donation is coming by.

quan
Guest
quan

Where is their Adun there ?? Sickening !!

BB resident
Guest
BB resident

Rifle Range is 50 years old this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i_n_HM9qfM

Will the government organize any celebration for the residents?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Andrew Ng can make a mini movie for this incident.

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

Penang is pushing the federal government for an amendment to the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 that will make it illegal to rent low- and low-medium cost homes to foreign workers.

State local government, housing, and town and country planning exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said there was nothing in the law to stop cheap housing meant for Malaysians being rented out to foreigners.

This made it difficult to evict foreign workers from such homes, he said.

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

Situation became Opportunity.

Got Terrace House in Batu Kawan.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/06/09/4-families-evicted-from-rifle-range-to-get-houses/

Another precedence set. Get rewarded for not paying rent.

glissantia
Guest
glissantia

Minister Zuraidah said many low-cost flats had gone to BN-linked people who were not eligible. A few years ago, some city council staff in PJ, Selangor were found owning such flats but the matter was hushed up. Now, one city council says it has not received instructions to evict (i.e. it is defying the Minister) though it did evictions last year.

Those who got the flats fraudulently or rented them out should definitely be evicted. Those who stubbornly refuse to pay rent or are a major nuisance to the immediate community should be warned and then evicted.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

The opportunity social-caring costs of building more unaffordable (untenable) housing is a growing social divide among the have-nots & haves. Knowing the urgency of affordable & low cost housing in Penang, why is the present state gomen arrogantly pushing (after 10 yrs of facing such problems) for the developers’ fantasies at a social cost? If working by population ratio of B40, M40 & the 1% Richie, state gomen should be aiming for more than 90% housing for B40 & M40. Instead we have more than 70% (if I am correct) housing deemed as unaffordable but breeding ghosts & pontianaks! To… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

Time to seek Singapore help for that HDB strategy.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Pakatan’s policies and most Pakatoons are neo-liberal and whilst they are salivating at the likelihood that Najib, Rosmah, Jho Low and others will be dragged before the courts, tried, found guilty of wrongdoing and jailed, matters related to genuine social justice and the plight of the poor mean little or nothing to them. To such yuppie-tariat, “competency, accountability & transparency” mean everything to them but the poor – “Oh! that’s so “passe”, “so 1950s, 1960s and 1970s”, and “so uncool in the Internet Age” as they sip their pricey lattes with faces buried in their pricey smartphones, far removed from… Read more »

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

To such yuppie-tariat, “competency, accountability & transparency” mean everything to them but the poor – “Oh! that’s so “passe”, “so 1950s, 1960s and 1970s”, and “so uncool in the Internet Age” as they sip their pricey lattes with faces buried in their pricey smartphones, far removed from the “hoi polloi”.

HOW TRUE.
My Observation: To some extent, these yuppies are not in the realities of slum living, neither experience the have-nots’ day-to-day struggles & empathise with the challenges of living in urban cities trying to fit in.

Ma jiji
Guest
Ma jiji

“There is a danger that as they gain power, then power corrupts. We don’t want a return to corruption and oppression…..”

I have the same doubt about the Penang govt. now !

shriek
Guest
shriek

Then wait 5 years and vote back umno or gilakan

caravanserai
Guest
caravanserai

The poor shouldn’t stay down They have to learn and plan Education holds the key At least it will help in life Do not offer poor an excuse The poor have to wake up and learn There is no charity if the poor doesn’t realize it The wealth is for those who dare to make a cut Start small with affordability It will help to stop the worrying No doubt no houseowners will rent a room For a family with kids in tow The poor living in the city They have to join forces to rent a house Share the… Read more »

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Yes, the government should spend more money to build affordable homes for the poor. However you mostly sound like those multi-level marketing dealers or higher ups who or those motivational speakers who tell the poor that they were born rich and being poor is only a state of mind. Sure, some poor may successfully make it to rise above their circumstances but they are few and far between, whilst most remain trapped by their circumstances and true socal justice warriors should fight for policies, programmes and facilities to help the poor. We have a new government now, and the legacies… Read more »

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

About 100. Ringgit rent, abd then no need to pay for repairs, maintenance, corridor lighting and repainting every 5 to 10 years. Publuc housing can spihon off the coffer for other services such as building and maintaing bus shelters and community libraries equipped with computers. No point if libraries does not have workable computers and daily local and overseas newspapers

glissantia
Guest
glissantia

If you are poor (say in the bottom 10%), getting ahead is tough due to apartheid, violence (trauma, need to be tough), damage (physical, physiological, neurological, genetic) due to poisons and malnutrition, etc. One study suggests that you have a 5% chance of getting to the top.

28% of children 12-23 months old in Putrajaya were stunted [research by Health ministry & Unicef in 2016]. 21% of children under 5 were stunted [govt. report to UN SDG 2017]. 25% of Malaysians sometimes starve [Art Harun quoting a survey 2017]. Food supplements in primary schools were poor [MP Nurul Izzah, 2018].

M Pillay
Guest
M Pillay

Ong Eu Soon (Ah Soon) is seeking support through his “reform” petition in the web, appear to go against PH. Anil can interview him to let readers know his true motives.

James k
Guest
James k

On the other hand, there may those earning below RM750 that are waiting for an affordable place to stay.
Would be good to know both sides of the story 1st, i.e., what is the reason for officers evicting them.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest

Whilst I welcome the new Pakatan federal government and the actions they are taking at macro level to address macro issues affecting Malaysia, however based upon the track record of the Pakatan state government of Penang with regards affordable housing and environmental protection over the past 10 years, such actions are par for the course as far as they are concerned at local level. At the end of the day, the Pakatan government still is a capitalist government, except that they represent a different section of Malaysia’s capitalist class and whatever reforms they are undertaking make it more favourable for… Read more »

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

What do one expect? For 50 years how much money has been address to only one group as they are protected? Where are the money for other groups? How many years umno has been a socialist gomen and states has to beg money from central? In fact, many state and former british territories powers like sarawak and sabah has been grabbed by umno. Another good example is local gomen. No local election.

Tan
Guest
Tan

Come on CKY. You can do better than this s***

shriek
Guest
shriek

Come on. If one family stays free, all low cost housing dwellers orso want to stay free. Otherwise it is not fair to others. If you want to help, there should be charitable organisations and ngos to help them to apply for social welfare ie from former dummo central gomen. The money should direct to the treasury of the state gomen. There should be a system but here opportunists from political parties try to politise it. In wsstern societies and in hong kong, they there are social workers to help them. RAkyat paid tax and salaries go to these workers.… Read more »