(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAP condemns the arrest today of Parti Rakyat President Dr. Syed Husin Ali, his wife, Sabariah Abdullah and seven others following protests over the demolition of squatter areas and demand their immediate and unconditional release.
The arrests took place after Syed
Husin Ali visited the squatter area in Kampung Seri Murni, Ampang
Campuran where 28 out of 56 houses were demolished by the developer on
30th December, 1998 although only 19
were served with notice on 15 December.
The squatters alleged that the demolition work was carried out by non-uniformed personnel, a number of whom were recognised as being associated with gangsters and also the police.
Seven family heads in the squatter settlement had lodged police reports at the Ampang Police Station regarding the manner in which the demolition was carried out and destruction of property and personal belongings inside houses belonging to some of the squatters. Reports have also been made regarding the estimated value of losses suffered by the squatters.
The arrests today at the squatter area must particularly be condemned as it was only yesterday that the Sultan of Selangor had advised the Selangor State Government to stop enforcement operations against the squatters until after Hari Raya and the rainy season.
The Sultan said this to the Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Abu Hassan Omar after presenting letters of appointment to 21 people appointed to the Selangor Royal Council at Istana Kayangan yesterday.
The Sultan said it would be inhumane if the authorities turned the squatters out without a roof over their heads now.
The Sultan said: "I realise that it is wrong for them to squat on government or private land. However, I am sure there are better ways of handling the issue.
"I want the authorities to be more humane when evicting the squatters.
At least provide them with temporary shelter until they find alternative
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Abu Hassan Omar should immediately comply with the advice of the Sulan of Selangor to stop all demolition operations of squatters until after Hari Raya and the rainy season as well as ensure that alternative housing is provided for the squatters concerned.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Ting Chew Peh should also come forward to assist the affected squatters as they have expressed willingness to leave if they are given an alternative place to stay temporarily and then be given an opportunity to buy low cost houses.