Kg Chekkadi, Buntong:
On 17 August 2000, 148 people of Kg Chekkadi had plenty of reason to be
happy. They were the first batch of peneroka from the kampung to receive
grants for housing lots in the planned village of Buntong Lima (Rancangan
Perkampungan Tersusun Buntong Lima).
From Eviction Notice To Grants
For Housing Lots
Just five years ago, they faced the threat of eviction from the land they
had pioneered up to 60 years back.
Before the advent of these urban pioneers, Kg Chekkadi was an abandoned
mining area and a nightsoil dumping spot. The people built their homes, dug
drains, dumped soil and planted trees and shrubs, thus rehabilitating
economically unviable mining land.
It became immensely appealing to developers and the government in the 80’s
and that was when the government offered to resettle the Chekkadi pioneers
in a nearby unused area, Buntong Lima.
But with the construction of the Ipoh-Lumut highway and rapid development in
Buntong,the government reneged on its promise to the people to resettle them
in Buntong Lima.
The former Chief Minister Ramli Ngah Talib, drew up an agreement dividing up
the land among Dato Arshad, a former speaker of the Perak State Assembly,
Razali, a former deputy Director of Lands and Mines and Ho Cheong Seng,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat.
The land office sent out eviction notices to the people in 1994, despite two
previous written offers of lots.
But the Chekkadi residents, who were not to be easily evicted, grouped
together and wrested back what was rightfully theirs. Not without a struggle
though. The highlight of their struggle was an orderly march of about 200
people to the Buntong police station to report the attempted demolition of
some houses in Kg Chekkadi.
In a shocking turn of events, 166 people were arrested along with Dr. Jeyakumar
Devaraj, K. Kunasekaran and Mohana Rani Rasiah of the PSM. Several hundred
others who had gathered outside the police station were baton-charged by the
That was in March 1996. The unlawful arrest of and police brutality towards the
villagers who were trying to lodge a report received wide coverage in the press.
It embarrassed and damaged the image of the state government so badly that in
the very next state assembly sitting in April 1996, the Chief Minister
announced the implementation of the earlier plan to resettle the Kg Chekkadi
peneroka bandar in a planned village in Buntong Lima.
”If not for people’s power, we would have been driven out of this place 6
years ago. But the struggle is not over until everyone here has received a
lot, “ says D. Selvaraj, assistant secretary of the people’s land committee
and himself a recipient of a lot in Buntong Lima.