More details of the compensation package have emerged, which supersedes my earlier post on the subject.
Here is the summary of the package gleaned from a copy of a letter obtained from one of the villagers. The two-page letter dated 4 August bears the signature of a director of Nusmetro (name not given):
- Two-storey terrace houses to be erected on plots measuring 20 feet by 60 feet each. The built-up area of each will be roughly 1,400 square feet.
- The villagers have to withdraw all legal action.
- The terms will be subject to a relocation agreement to be signed between the developer and the villagers.
- If relevant approvals are not obtained from the authorities, the compensation agreement will be deemed to be cancelled.
- No mention in the letter of any compensation for monthly rentals incurred by the villagers while waiting for the houses to be ready.
- No specs provided for the material to be used in building the houses.
- No info on the completion date of the houses; nor any information on what recourse the villagers will have if the houses do not materialise or are delayed.
- If the villagers fail to leave by noon on Friday, 7 August, Nusmetro states it and the Koperasi have the right to execute their writ of possession.
How the Kg Buah Pala controversy is resolved is going to be crucial: one elected rep in Selangor told me there are a couple of similar cases in that state which could prove to be just as difficult.
The issue is not one of race. The villagers can be of any ethnic group: today it may be Indian Malaysian villagers; tomorrow it could be Malay or Chinese villagers who find themselves in the same predicament.
The issue is how to ensure justice and a fair deal for the low to middle income groups who stand to lose their family homes – through no fault of their own – when corporate predators move in. So please don’t play up the racial angle. The world would be a much kinder and gentler place if we view it through the lens of compassion for our fellow human beings.