Minister: Builder duty-bound to construct homes for the poor in Sentul
30/12/2009 The Star By BAVANI M
THE Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry has asked the
developer, YTL Land & Development Berhad, to honour their promise to build
low- and medium- cost homes for the poor in Sentul.
Its deputy minister, Datuk M. Saravanan, said when the negotiations was
done years ago between Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd and Keretapi Tanah Melayu
Berhad (KTMB) for the development of Kampung Railway, Sentul Raya had
committed to build the low-cost houses for the residents.
“This agreement was done during the then Deputy National Unity and Social
Development Minister Datuk Alex Lee’s time. We have a written confirmation
on this (agreement),’’ Saravanan said.
“When YTL took over Sentul Raya, they confirmed that it would be their top
priority to build these homes. Now they are refusing to honour their
agreement,’’ he said.
Saravanan said he was disappointed with the developer’s reasoning that
they were not responsible because the agreement was made with another
company (Sentul Raya) and that YTL only took over in 1997.
“When you take over assets, you also take over the liabilities. As a
developer you also have a corporate social responsibility to the community
and not just be profit-driven,’’ Saravanan said.
Some 50 people, comprising Batu MIC division members and squatters from
Kampung Railway in Sentul, staged a protest at the YTL building in Jalan
Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday over claims that low- and
medium-cost flats were not being built as promised.
The group demanded for the promise based on an agreement in 1994 be
They held placards and marched for a short stretch along the street before
crowding in front of the YTL building entrance waiting to hand over the
memorandum to a management representative.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall Advisory Board member C. Ramanathan said DBKL had
even issued a letter confirming the 1994 agreement and re-affirming the
proposal to build the low-cost units.
“The letter basically says that they (DBKL) are still waiting for the
developer to put in the development proposal,’’ Ramanathan said.
Ramanathan, who holds the housing and squatter relocation portfolio in the
DBKL board, said the area was now developed with many high-end apartments.
“What about the poor people who have been living here since the beginning.
What about their plight?’’ he asked.
Kampung Railway resident S. Siva said he was appalled by the manner how
the residents were being side-lined by the developer.
“We are not squatters. We have been paying quit rent since the 1940s up
until 1991. Till today we are paying the assessment fees and bills like
Indah Water,’’ he said.
The residents are being asked to relocate to Puchong — which will cripple
them financially since most of them are very poor.
According to the 1994 agreement, Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd (under YTL) was to
build 3,000 low- and medium-cost flats and two multi-purpose halls and a
But so far, nothing has materialised.