A FACEBOOK posting by Sungai Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah criticising the Petaling Jaya authorities over the eviction of a nursery operator has prompted surrounding residents and Bandar Utama assemblyman Jamaliah Jamaluddin to come out in defence of the decision.
Residents in Damansara Utama said they did not have any problem with the nursery in Jalan SS21/42 over the many years when it was managed by the owner M. Muniandy because he kept the area clean and tidy.
The nursery is operating on government reserve land gazetted as open space or green lung.
But after Muniandy passed away, residents said his wife (S. Sandra) stopped taking care of the site.
“Rubbish started piling up and soon she rented out rooms in her house to strangers, which we did not feel comfortable about,” said Damansara Utama Residents and Owners Association chairman Habeeb Rahman at a press conference organised by Jamaliah.
Habeeb said the residents spoke to Sandra on several occasions but nothing improved and they could no longer put up with her attitude.
Sixty residents then came together in 2016 to sign a petition to ask Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to look into the issue.
“The residents tried many ways to resolve the issue themselves and we even visited the nursery to explain the situation to Sandra,” said Jamaliah.
The nursery had been applying for a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) since 1992 but never received approval.
Her last application in 2017 was again rejected by Petaling Land and District Office (PTDP) because it did not receive support from Air Selangor, MBPJ, Public Works Department, and Urban and Rural Planning Department.
In December last year, PTDP issued an eviction notice to Sandra to vacate by March 9.
Jamaliah said the city council decided to give the nursery operator more time to find a new location before demolishing the nursery.
On May 8, PTDP and MBPJ enforcement officers moved in to demolish the structure but gave Sandra an additional two weeks to clear her nursery.
“By demolishing her house and nursery, they made a 62-year-old widow and her son homeless and also destroyed her only source of income.
“Before the redelineation exercise, which took the nursery area out of Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong and my area, Sandra had no problems,” Sivarasa wrote on his Facebook page.
Jamaliah clarified that the neighbourhood had always been under the constituency of Damansara Utama (now Bandar Utama) and was never part of Bukit Lanjan or Subang parliamentary constituency even before the redelineation.
She also noted that Sandra had applied for TOL many times but failed to obtain it as other agencies did not support it.
“We have asked Petaling Land and District Office if there was any vacant land for Sandra to run her nursery but there isn’t any at the moment,” she added.