Another Kampung Buah Pala waiting to explode in the face of the Negeri Sembilan UMNO Government?.


Another Kampung Buah Pala waiting to explode in the face of the Negeri Sembilan UMNO Government?.

MBNSHindraf Chairman P.Waytha Moorthy today blasted the Negeri Sembilan State Government headed by UMNO Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan for colluding with private moneyed interests to cause terror in the hearts of poor Gatco Estate Settlers in Jempol Negeri Sembilan.  He was shocked at the level of collusion between the Chief Minister,the Politicians, the Police, the State Authorities and Big Money interest.

On the 29th of November a bunch of 40 gangsters were brought into the Gatco Estate along with heavy machinery to uproot the rubber trees on the land in dispute, a 4000 acre land disputed between Syarikat Thamarai ( otherwise known as Lotus – Yes, of the Lotus restaurant and Lotus screens fame ) and these poor smallholder settlers. The gangsters’ job was to stop any opposing settlers from coming in the way of the dirty work to be done by the heavy machinery to uproot the rubber trees on the contested Estate land.

GANGSTERS IN GATCOIn the incident one lady settler was injured when she went to stop the machinery. There were serious scuffling between the gangster and the settlers that went on for about two hours. The gangsters were all armed with thick batons and went after screaming women and beat male settlers who put up a fight with them, about 40 in all who had assembled at the scene . They were all plain poor rubber tappers, men and women, young and old, completely unarmed, armed at best with a bitter feeling of gross injustice that was being perpetrated against them. About half of them were beaten by the gangsters with their batons. But they fought back nevertheless.

The scuffles started around 8.30 am and continued till about 10.30 am when the police arrived after several attempts to get them in. Mr John Cantius, called one Police Officer En Yusuf of the IPD Jempol several times,who just the day before had given him his handphone number and had requested Mr John to call him should there be an incident. It takes about a half hour from the IPD to the estate. It is surprising that the police only arrived at 10.30 am. This obviously was a calibrated time, based on an estimate of the time the gangsters felt they needed to finish their jobs of terrorizing the people and letting the machineries do their job, before they would stop on the intervention of the ever neutral Malaysian Police. In addition 6 of the settlers were taken into police custody on the morning of the event at 4.ooam, as if in anticpation of the event later that morning. This lends even more credence to our theory of police complicity in this affair

At the Press Conference today, Waytha Moorthy described this incident as a collusion between the UMNO Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Datuk Zainal Abidin the ADUN for Sg Lui, MIC Exco member Datu VS Mohan and one lower level MIC strongman by the name of  Thirnavukkarasu, the owners of the Lotus group, the Local Police, other state authorities such as PKNNS, District Officers, and officials of the land office and sahmefeully even gangsters whom they are supposed to keep the people safe from.– in short by the entire UMNO based State apparatus against the poor and voiceless smallholder settlers of this estate.
These settlers 400 of them all had purchased the land in the late 1970s in a land resettlement scheme administered by Gatco corporation. The non- bumi settlers each paid RM7,600 to participate in this scheme while Bumiputra settlers paid RM 4,000 each. They each in turn were given ownership of 10 acres of development land at that time. This was restructured and reduced to 8 acres a little later. In 1987, the settlers obtained a High Court declaration, not being satisfied that GATCO was not giving them their land titles, that the settlers were rightful owners to the said land.

In 1998 Gatco went bankrupt as a corporation. Many attempts were made through all the local politicians to safeguard the interests of these poor who held land not transferred to them by GATCO. But the maxim that the poor shall not have a say in these matters held supreme just one more time. In 2004 the land was put up for auction. Here too the settlers did not cave in. They put up the necessary “Earnest Deposit” money of RM 320,000 for the auction. But they were not allowed to participate in the auction by the Auctioneers – Messrs Singam and Yong, located in Ipoh Road KL. The land was then unjustly auctioned to this Lotus Group of companies for RM16 million.

The settlers argument in summary is this:

1) How is it that their land could be sold without their consent especially in the face of a High Court declaration that had declared them the beneficial owners of the land via their declaration of 12-12-1987.

2) How is it that the Auctioneers can prevent them from participating in the auction without any justifications. Are not Auctioneers bound by professional practice rules and by the law of the country.

The entire State apparatus is up against the poor of this country – here is a glaring example. This is the level that this government had descended to  for a few more millions for a few more of them at the expense of devastating 400 poor families who have put in about 40 years of toil and sweat – a story so often encountered with the marginalized poor.

Waytha’s point about the State’s involvement is this. Seeing things going the way they were going, the Chief Minister could easily have invoked provisions in the Land Acquisition Act and bought the land off the Lotus group and returned it to the settlers (the settlers were willing to reimburse the State the amount the State would have had to pay Lotus). Instead the State Government turns up interceding strongly, for the rich and powerful Lotus group of companies and has become a party to all this terror unleashed upon its people. Waytha Moorthy urges the State Government to immediately reverse their decisions and start the process of helping these settlers regain their lands. Failing which he probably will see happen to him what happened in Selangor , Perak and Penang when the ruling party incurs the wrath of its people.

Mr John Cantius declared at the Press conference today that “we have had 6 elections so far where the contesting BN rep would promise us a solution to our land problems each time, but nothing has happened. If nothing is also to happen to finally solve our problems by and before the forthcoming elections we plan to campaign around the state which has over 14% Indian voters and work to throw this UMNO Government out, once and for all - who needs a Government that does not take care of its people.”

 So are we looking at another Kampung Buah Pala?

By Hindraf Reporter

1st Dec 2012


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