SOME 15 residents from the Pandan Jaya/Kampung Pandan squatter village have been on hunger strike since April 11 to draw attention to their homeless plight
Their homes were destroyed by fire on March 1.
Two of the houses that were partially burnt were rebuilt, only to be demolished by the Hulu Langat Land and District Office later.
Manimalai Sathiselam, 52, whose brother was killed in the fire, said they started the hunger strike as they were being given the runaround by the authorities.
“We have been living under a canopy for the past 40 days in anticipation of rebuilding our houses.
“The land office demolished the partially built houses on March 30, ” she added.
Residents said attempts to get answers from the authorities to address their situation had been futile.
The squatter colony is located on the Kuala Lumpur–Selangor border and was under the jurisdiction of both Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).
According to residents, the settlement has existed for 50 years on the land with 161 houses.
Some of the houses are located on utility reserve land while others are on government land under the jurisdiction of the Hulu Langat Land Office.
The residents said evacuation notices were issued to 12 houses by the land office and they had to leave within 60 days.
“Several families were given the option to move to a public housing project in Subang Jaya, but that is too far as most of us go to work around this area.
“My family and I have been living in a nearby community hall, ” 58-year-old Puspalatha Arumugam said.
The residents said they would continue with the hunger strike until they were allowed to rebuild or given public housing nearby.
Long-time resident Nagarajah Perumal, 50, said the area had previously been a vegetable farm before houses were built there.
“Our parents worked in the farms and in the surrounding areas and now, it will be four generations living here, ” said Nagarajah.
Malaysian Indian Action Force president Dayalan Sreebalan said the non-governmental organisation would try to stop the evacuation notice and seek a resolution for the families living in the tent.
In 2019, there were four occasions when fires razed the settlement, destroying a total of 45 houses.
MPAJ councillor Thanabal Krishnan said he would help to bring the issue up with Selangor infrastructure and public amenities committee chairman Izham Hashim, who is also Pandan Indah assemblyman, to find a solution for the residents.
An MPAJ spokesperson said there was no provision to provide alternative houses to the squatters.
“There are also no families living in any of the council halls.
“MPAJ has no jurisdiction over the rebuilding of the squatter houses and will leave it to the land office to take action.”