KLANG: 34 residents who have lived in Kampung Padang Jawa, Klang, since the 1970s may have their houses demolished by today (Oct 3) and are asking the landowner to "be fair" and stick to the existing tenancy agreement rather than forcing them to sign a new one.
The residents for Lot 1416 and Lot 626 there were due to sign and submit their new tenancy agreements by noon today (Oct 3) to the landowner Ehsan Bina Sdn Bhd.
But they refused to sign it because most of the terms differ from their prior agreement.
"We have already discussed with all parties on Sept 24 regarding a win-win tenancy agreement. But the agreement we received only yesterday (Oct 2) was different.
"If we sign it, we will lose out," said the Concerned Residents Committee for Lot 1416 and Lot 626 chairman Azman Mohd Taib.
He added that residents were now all stuck because they do not know what else they can do to save their homes, which they have been staying in since the 1970s.
According to Azman, the whole village has 170 houses. Of that number, 136 residents have another tenancy agreement with the landowner which only starts in January next year.
"The remaining 34 of us actually appealed in court previously as we wanted our rights heard.
"We believe this is the reason why we are feeling the brunt of it from the developer," he said.
He also hoped that the state government will step in to help them instead of giving them the option of either signing the agreement or buying an affordable home.
"The problem is we cannot afford a home as most of us cannot even get a loan and we cannot sign this agreement because we will be trapped.
"Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail is well aware of this and was even in the meeting with us when we discussed the terms of the tenancy agreement.
"But now, even after we told her the agreement was unfair, she still called and pressured us to sign," he said.
Residents have also brought this matter up to both the previous and current Mentri Besar, Selangor Housing and Urban Living committee chairman Haniza Talha and also Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad. But they said it was all to no avail.
This new tenancy agreement will allow residents to continue living there until Dec 31 this year.
But according to the residents lawyer Mehnagha Luckhmana, there are a few terms in the new agreement which differ from the old one.
One of them states that if residents do not pay RM400 within the first week of every month (starting from October), the landowner has the right to demolish their houses at any given time, without prior notice.
This right to demolish was part of an older court order, and Mehnagha is questioning how it can be included into the new tenancy agreements.
"Normally, if a tenant does not pay their rent, the landowner would have to go to court first to compel the tenant to pay, and after that seek an eviction or demolition order," she said, stressing that a court order should not be in a tenancy agreement.
Apart from that, the residents were also referred to as "illegal residents", although a prior court ruling ruled that the residents were not illegal and they have a right to live there.
"These residents actually have signed tenancy agreements from 1970, so how is it possible that they are illegal as most of them have lived here all their lives," she said at a press conference.
The new tenancy agreement also refers to the two signing parties using the court terms "plaintiff" and "defendant", rather than as landowner and tenant.
Mehnagha said that she sent amendments to the tenancy agreement last night (Oct 2) and only received a reply at 1pm today, saying that no changes will be accepted and to take it or leave it.
Also at the press conference was Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary general A. Sivarajan who urged the state government step in and help the residents.
He further urged the landowner to stick to their gentlemen's agreement during their previous meeting and amend the tenancy agreement (to a fairer one) that the residents can sign immediately.
Rodziah who acted as mediator for the entire issue since 2016 has been accused of favouring the developer.
She denied this accusation and said she and Khalid tried to assist the parties to resolve the issue.
She urged the residents to consider the offer by the landowner and the developer.
“If they cannot come to an agreement, we will have to leave it to the court to decide,” added Rodziah.
Rodziah said 170 families took up the developer’s offer earlier.
She and the Selangor state government have also assisted the families, including the 34 residents, to obtain Rumah Selangorku houses.
A total of 146 people applied for it, 45 were placed on the waiting list, while another 16 were given homes.
“Six people did not apply, 38 did not have completed forms, three rejected the offer and 38 people were ineligible,” she said.
Residents asked to submit tenancy agreement