By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Thirty-four families who were forcibly evicted from their flats in Kampung Kerinchi here bade their final farewell today to the rundown premises that had been their home for generations.
For the residents, their time living within the building’s weathered halls and walkways ended bitterly when they received a notice from the Federal Territory Land and Mines Office ordering their evacuation on March 26.
According to the notice, the low-cost Kampung Kerinchi flats had been earmarked for redevelopment under the urban renewal scheme and its residents had to be relocated.
But despite being offered new, alternative homes and compensation, the families are finding it hard to accept their new lives elsewhere.
Hayati Haron, 53, said that she had lived here for 50 years with her husband and son, and the flats held all her memories.
“I got married here, my son got married here...what is the RM 7,300 compensation compared such memories?” she said.
“The new flats we’ve been moved to are nice, but they don’t make up for this bitter experience.”
Shop owner Nor Azlan Haron (picture) , 44, had suspended his business for over a week because the new flats in Muhibbah PPR do not have sufficient shop lots to accommodate him.
Another resident who only wanted to be known as “Pak Anjang” said that although the flats were small, he was happy with his old home because it was located close to public facilities.
“I can take the LRT from here, the bus, there’s a hospital nearby...this place is fit for millionaires!” said Pak Anjang.
“When I first moved in here, it was so long ago that I didn’t have this,” the 70-year-old joked, indicating his flowing grey beard.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also there, insisted that the residents were not being unreasonable for originally refusing to vacate their homes.
“They are the rightful owners of the flats. They are not squatters — their rights should be respected. Don’t treat them like they’re idiots,” she said.
Mohd Idrus Tukiran of the Kampung Kerinchi Flat Action Committee said that they planned to lodge a report to the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) for the physical and emotional pressures the residents had experienced.
The majority of the flat owners who had agreed to move have been relocated to PPR Kerinchi, and their rent for the next three years will be paid for by the developer to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
The Sun reportd that they had signed an agreement with Suez Domain, and will be offered 860 sq ft medium-cost apartment units worth between RM300,000 to RM400,000 at the same site once construction is completed.
The developer offered to buy back the apartment units at RM125, 000 each if the flat owners do not want to move in.
The Kampung Kerinchi low-cost flats were built by PKNS in the 1970s.
Most of the flat owners are senior citizens.