SHAH ALAM: The meeting was tense right from the moment 211 residents of Section 23 stepped into the hall in Wisma MBSA.
A handful of them shouted and jeered at state leaders that included Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim; state executive committee member and Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail; Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad; and city mayor Mazalan Md Noor.
Khalid’s appeal for calm were drowned out by the jeers. Every time one of the state leaders tried to talk, he or she was heckled.
At one point, when Khalid Samad was explaining the relocation proposal, a man repeatedly pointed at Khalid and shouted insults.
He suddenly grabbed a chair and looked at the leaders but was held back by two enforcement officers. There were no policemen at the town hall meeting.
Tempers flared again during question time. Many residents rushed to the microphones to vent their frustration at the proposed relocation. Also present were 40 Indian residents supporting the relocation to Section 23.
Malaysia Indian Youth Council Putra secretary-general Gunaretinam Rajan, who claimed to represent the 48 Hindu families in the area, asked why the residents could not live in peace with each other.
Several of the residents were visibly unhappy with his remark and charged at him, but other residents and enforcement officers stopped them.
The Mentri Besar later told the crowd he accepted the dissenting views and announced that the project would be temporarily shelved.
The announcement brought cheers from residents opposed to the relocation plan.
In the end, the residents were cordial to each other as they left the hall.
Neighbours of different races were even seen shaking hands and smiling to each other.