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End Of 14-Year Wait To Get Houses

17/01/2006 Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 (Bernama) -- A 14-year wait for 310 families of squatters in Matang Pagar, Sungai Buluh, Selangor, to have their own houses finally ended Tuesday.

All of them were given the opportunity to draw lots for two-storey low-cost houses that cost RM28,000 per unit in Taman Matang Jaya, Sungai Buluh, today and tomorrow. The draw took place at the Gombak District Office Complex here.

Gombak District Officer Tarmedi Omar said 360 offer letters were issued but only 310 took up the offer.

"If they fail to take up the offer within one month from Jan 19, the Gombak Land Office will assume that they have rejected the offer," he said.

He said the land office was in discussion with 72 other families which had applied for lots.

"The government has asked them to make their choice -- either to take the house or get the land without any basic amenities and with big rocks around. The decision is in their hands," he added.

The plight of the Matang Pagar squatters started in 1986 when they were relocated to a temporary settlement in Sungai Buluh. The site where their homes stood was acquired for a road project.

In 1992, they were supposed to have had their own houses but the project had to be deferred after 72 families objected to the project as they wanted to have plots of land instead.

The matter was brought to court but the writ was eventually annulled in 2001 after a negotiation with the Selangor government.

The housing project was later resumed by the Selangor State Development Corporation.

Tarmedi said the three-room terrace houses would be the last to be built for squatters in Selangor. From now on, squatters ordered to evict would be offered low-cost flats.

"In the Gombak District, we have two municipalities. In the Ampang Jaya Municipality, 90 per cent of the squatters have been relocated while in the Selayang Municipality, nearly 60 per cent have been moved," he said.

Gombak is targeted to attain zero-squatter status by June this year.



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