Monday, June 23, 2008

Zero squatters policy?

Most of you are already aware of the pressing issues at the Angsana flats in USJ 1. My team came up with a program to educate the poor children by giving them communication lessons in English free of charge. We want to empower these children to be confident and to master another language. They speak mainly BM or their mother tongue Tamil or some other dialects.

We have identified 50 poor children and the program has been planned to kick start in June. When my volunteer rang up the person-in-charge who holds the keys to the public hall (dewan orang ramai), she was questioned as to why we wanted to carry out such a program. We were only requesting for an empty slot of one hour a week. We were told that we would not be able to use the hall.

Some residents of the flats informed me that the hall has now turned into a 'Dewan UMNO'. I went there to verify and it's true. You can view the photos here. They immediately locked up the compound, put up UMNO flags and our Minister for Rural and Regional Development Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has since been there to give out gifts to some residents. This news was highlighted in the press.

My investigation with the Penghulu at the Land Office confirms that the funds for the construction of the hall came from the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development at that time. According to the faxed document from the Land Office, the name of the project is one "Membina Dewan MASYARAKAT Angsana USJ 1 Subang Jaya" at the price of RM195,000. Masyarakat means community. How did it become an UMNO hall?

Photo of the hall taken in April 2008

What we have here now is UMNO all of a sudden illegally taking up occupancy in a community hall, the one and only community hall for close to 8,000 flat dwellers in Angsana. The previous BN government pursued a zero squatters policy ruthlessly. But what has happened here? The UMNO branch in Angsana has turned into a squatter. When you occupy a land that doesn't belong to you, a squatter you have become.

Photo of the hall taken in June 2008

This is a classic example of taxpayers' funds being used to feed UMNO. Just because one is in the government, it does not mean that one can do without proper procedures and law. No one is above the law. How can we allow community assets to be used to enlarge or enrich a political party?

I am not digging the past. I am now restricted to move forward to assist the poor. In doing so, I will have to make right what is wrong. Before I build, I must ensure the foundations are strong. The residents of Angsana are angry because they are not able to have community projects in the hall. The Joint Management Body has to meet in coffeeshops because they do not have a proper meeting place.

This is the reason why I'm elected the ADUN. To be the voice for the oppressed, those robbed of their privileges as rakyat. My team and I will continue to pursue this to redeem back what rightfully belongs to the people.