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Demonstrations work!
Water restored

7.9.2000, Kuala Lumpur

For 17 days, the plantation community at Ladang Braemar (13th. Mile, Jalan Cheras) did not have water.

The water supply was disrupted when Water Department (JBA) took away the water meter after the developer, a member of the Golden Hope Group failed to settle the water bill.

The former workers then took several action and among them was writing letters to the company asking water to be restored, lodged police report and even send a legal letter asking the company to restore water.

Nothing worked.

Today, the plantation community held a noisy demonstration at the Golden Hope Head Office at Bangunan PNB (Permodalan Nasional Berhad) at Jalan Tun Razak. The demo was just 15 minutes on, when the company officials rushed to the organisers and said, " We will settle the money today, please leave our compound".

The former workers were annoyed and told them back that they have been waiting 17 days without water and tolerated all the company's nonsense but when they demonstrate for just 17 minutes, the company just can not tolerate.

Since June 1993, the former worker are faced with forced eviction when the land where they have been staying for three generations, were sold by the estate to one of its subsidiary companies for a luxury project known as Saujana Impian.

Since then, the landowners have tried numerous ways to evict the people. Among the common ways, have been to disrupt water and electricity supply, encroach the land, use of gangsters and other illegal means.

The fourteen workers did not vacate their estate quarters because in 1984, the company promised that if they continue working, they will be provided with housing when the estate goes for development.

The estate went for development in 1993; the promised houses did not come but only notices asking them to vacate the land.

Since then, the 14 former workers have erected signboards 100 metres from their housing and have not allowed the developers to trespass or do work in these areas.

The workers too have lodged more than 150 police reports against the developers and held several demonstrations previously.

After failing all illegal ways to evict them, the company finally filed a legal suit in 1996 at the Kajang Magistrate Court to evict them. The matter is still being heard at the courts.

The police have also informed the project manager that until the case is over, there should be no changes to the status quo and water must be provided.

Today the families of the former workers staged a noisy demonstration at the Bangunan PNB. They shouted among other things, "Golden Hope Penipu" and "Kita Mahu Air".

The officers at Golden Hope tried in vain to ask the demonstraters to disperse, as water will be reconnected. The people said until they get news that water has actually being supplied, only then will they go back.

At around 12.15pm., a 5-person delegation led by Chairperson of Ladang Braemar Action Committee D. Ganesan met the Deputy Director of Golden Hope Properties, Encik Mohd. Fauzi.

At the brief meeting, the committee warned Golden Hope to stop this nonsense and to play the game fairly. "If they want to negotiate, the people are prepared but don't disrupt our water and hope we leave the estate".

The Golden Hope official said that water bill has been paid and water will be reconnected by 2pm.

The workers amounting close to a hundred people including children then waited for news about the water. They also had their lunch at the entrance of Golden Hope.

At around 1pm., they got news that the water meter has been restored. They then left after accomplishing their task successfully.

The lesson for today is, demonstration do work. Several days of letter writing and police reports, nothing happened. In just 15 minutes after starting the demonstration, the problem has been solved.

It seems developers and capitalist only react when their image is at stake. Today, they taught the families from Ladang Bramear, demonstrating does actually solve their problem.

Following is the letter sent to Golden Hope (In Malay language):

    JAWATANKUASA BERTINDAK PENDUDUK LADANG BRAEMAR
    Ladang Braemar,
    Batu 13, Jalan Cheras,
    43000 Kajang,
    Selangor.

    7 September, 2000

    Kepada,
    Pengerusi Eksekutif,
    Syarikat Golden Hope,

    Bagi Pihak Sungai Kantan Developers,
    20th Floor,Menara PNB,
    201-A Jalan Tun Razak,
    50400 Kuala Lumpur.

    Tuan,

    ISU PEMOTONGAN BEKALAN AIR KE LADANG BRAEMAR

    Kami, merujuk perkara di atas dan surat kami sebelum ini bertarikh 25hb Ogos 2000. Kami bekas pekerja Ladang Braemar amat kecewa dan marah atas tindakan Syarikat Tuan memotong bekalan air ke ladang kami sejak 23hb Ogos 2000 lagi.

    Kini sudah 16 hari tetapi air masih tidak disambung balik. Tindakan Tuan memotong bekalan air adalah satu tindakan menghina proses mahkamah kerana kes masih berjalan di mahkamah dan pihak Tuan memang sedar memotong air bukan cara untuk mengusir penduduk secara halal.

    Air merupakan satu keperluan asas manusia dan memutuskan bekalan air merupakan satu tindakan yang mencabul hak asasi manusia. Ia juga merupakan satu kelakuan yang tidak berperikemanusiaan yang sengaja dilakukan untuk mewujudkan satu keadaan yang cemas dan tenat dikalangan penduduk Ladang Braemer.

    Buat pengetahuan tuan, kami sudah pun memaklumkan perkara ini melalui surat yang bertarikh 25hb Ogos 2000. Selain itu, peguam kami juga telah menghantar surat kepada pihak tuan yang bertarikh 30hb Ogos 2000.

    Akan tetapi pihak tuan masih tidak mengambil sebarang tindakan. Oleh itu kami ingin menjelaskan beberapa perkara di sini iaitu:-

    1. Pihak tuan sengaja tidak mengambil perhatian kepada masalah ini walaupun isu memutuskan bekalan air merupakan satu kejadian yang serius lagi kritikal yang terpaksa diharungi oleh semua penduduk Ladang Braemer. Ini merupakan satu sikap yang amat tidak profesional.

    2. Pihak tuan cuba mengusir penduduk Ladang Braemar secara paksa. Ia merupakan satu tindakan yang menyalahi undang-undang kerana kes diantara penduduk Ladang Braemer dengan Sungai Kantan Developers masih berada di Mahkamah dan tindakan ini merupakan melanggar "status quo" atau menggangu keadaan asal.

    3. Akibat daripada tindakan-tindakan tuan sedemikian, kami tidak mempunyai pilihan lain kecuali hadir beramai-ramai ke tempat Syarikat tuan untuk mendesak pencabulan ini dihentikan serta-merta.

    4. Kami ingin memberitahu pihak tuan supaya segera menyelesaikan masalah ini. Pihak tuan mesti menyambungkan semula bekalan air ke Ladang Braemar supaya penduduk tidak lagi sengsara. Pihak tuan juga mesti menghentikan segara sebarang tindakan yang cuba mengusir penduduk Ladang Braemar secara haram dan jangan langgar "status quo" kerana kes masih berada di mahkamah.

    Kami sekali lagi menyeru pihak Syarikat tuan untuk menyambungkan air dengan serta-merta dan tidak lagi menggangu dan mengancam ketenteraman penduduk ladang Braemar selagi kes belum selesai.

    Segala kerjasama pihak tuan didahului dengan terima kasih.

    Sekian.

    Yang benar,

    ----------------------
    (Ganesan a/l Danapal)
    B/p JAWATANKUASA BERTINDAK PENDUDUK LADANG BRAEMAR

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