Residents want illegal workers quarters relocated

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 18 Oct 2020

Deplorable conditions: The ‘kongsi’ houses where the workers live in Taman Bakti, Kuala Langat, are in less than conducive surroundings. — Bernama

KUALA LANGAT: The presence of a “kongsi haram” (illegal migrant quarters) which houses nearly 200 foreign workers of a paper processing factory in Taman Bakti here has upset residents who have called for the squatters to be relocated.

Most of the workers comprising Indonesians and Bangladeshis live in “kongsi” houses erected on the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) reserve land in very uncomfortable and crowded conditions without basic facilities and a proper sewage system.

All the waste and rubbish is channelled into nearby drains.

A resident, Mohd Ali Hasan @ Ibrahim, 42, claimed that the situation had caused pollution at a nearby water reservoir, which was also used as a dumping ground for industrial waste from the factory before entering Sungai Langat.

“When the factory started operating more than a year ago, more than 1,000 workers were living in the area but the number has decreased after we reported the matter to the authorities, ” he said.

Although the number had reduced to only around 200 workers, residents still hoped the authorities would evict all of them immediately because all sewage waste was drained into nearby ditches and was the cause of pollution in Sungai Langat, he added.

Mohd Ali, together with Kuala Langat Environmental Action Organisation chairman Tan Ching Heng, also took a journalist and photographer to inspect the situation in the foreigners’ settlement to get a true picture of what was happening.

To get to the settlement, the group had to walk for more than five minutes through a trail lined with bushes as the main route to the houses was blocked by an iron bar, which is believed to have been set up by the factory operator.

The group also spotted a temporary market site and over 300 containers and “kongsi” houses packed into the area.

The settlement was also surrounded by muddy areas filled with dark brown water, which is believed to be the cause of a strong odour in the area.

The workers are believed to use two large water tanks for bathing.

A warning notice issued to the factory by the Kuala Langat Land and District Office was found at one of the “kongsi” houses, for constructing immigrant quarters on TNB reserve land next to the Sungai Manggis industrial area.

The company was ordered to vacate and demolish the structure within 90 days from the date the notice was issued on Sept 3.

Failure to do so can result in the relevant party being charged under Section 425 of the National Land Code, which provides for a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or five years’ jail or both.

Tan said although the authorities had raided the area at the end of August, evictions could only be done within three months after the notice was issued.

It is understood that the used paper processing plant, which is built on a 46ha area, is owned by investors from China and began operations late last year.

The Selangor Department of Environment admitted receiving complaints about the sewage issues.

Its director Nor Aziah Jaafar said the issue was in the hands of the Kuala Langat Municipal Council and they had been given a period of three months to relocate the workers’ houses from the TNB reserve land into the factory area.

She said her department would conduct an immediate investigation into the factory’s industrial waste disposal into Sungai Langat. — Bernama

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