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Five-hour standoff
at Menara Promet

6.9.2000, Kuala Lumpur

If there was an award for the worst protocol in our Malaysian Books of Record, then the company known as Inch Kenneth could win it hands down.

Today, more than sixty former workers and their family members from Kajang estate spent 5 hours trying to hand in a four-page memorandum to the company's representative.

Finally, the workers got fed up and just dumped the memorandum at the receptionist's table and cursed the company for their bad behavior and disgraceful public relations.

The former workers of Kajang estate were promised four acre of land upon the estate ceasing operation and work terminated.

The workers were then offered land as compensation. They were shown the piece of land, a ten- percent down payment was collected from them and they were assured that, once they vacate their estate homes, then they will be given the land.

They waited and waited but the Promised Land never came. It is now twelve long years of waiting. During this time, several former workers have already died and much more are getting old.

Though the workers have put in a caveat on the land in 1996, they recently came to understand that their Promised Land is going to be developed.

This has created anxiety and the former workers have put up signboards on the Promised Land on three occasions, only to find it being brought down after a few days.

Therefore with all these frustration, they wrote several letters to the company seeking an appointment. They appointment never came like the land.

Finally today, the workers gathered at the lobby of Menara Promet at Jalan Sultan Ismail, carrying banners and placards demanding the Promised Land.

There was no reaction from the company, which was on the 22nd Floor. After almost an hour, the workers decided to go up. They then gathered at the company's lobby.

Only then did the company officers started to feel something. They tried desperately to chase the workers away but the workers were more in numbers. The workers were then assured that the CEO of the company would meet them shortly.

Later, they were told that the CEO will not be coming, the company officers also will not entertain their former workers. They told the workers to leave and correspond to the company only through lawyers.

The former workers and their families refused to leave and they all sat down at the lobby and at the entrance of the company. Then the company threatened that they will call the police. The workers were unmoved by this threat.

After a long wait, two police constables arrived. The company officers thought that the policemen will scare the people and will chase them away but the lowly paid policemen immediately aligned with the plight of the poor and even advised the company to entertain their demands.

This was followed with slowly more and more high-ranking policemen coming in. At that point, the people had only two wishes. They wanted the company to send a representative to receive their memorandum or give an official letter so that the former workers will come on in another day.

Both requests were turned down without any reasons.

The police was also very annoyed with the company's attitude and remained neutral and did not attempt to disperse the crowd.

Finally after a long wait, the workers dumped the memorandum and then later went to the Dang Wangi police station to lodge a report against the company.

Today's experience has only thought the people how cruel and inhumane their former employer is. They sacrificed for three generations tapping rubber and palm oil to make their employer rich and today their employers failed to even receive their memorandum.

When they left, they were convinced who their enemy is!

Below is the memorandum in Bahasa Malaysia:

    ISU TANAH PEKERJA LADANG KAJANG: TUNAIKAN JANJI 12 TAHUN YANG LALU

    Kami adalah bekas pekerja Ladang Kajang yang telah dijanjikan tanah 4 ekar sebagai pampasan apabila kami diberhentikan kerja pada tahun 1987 oleh Syarikat Inch Kenneth.

    Keputusan ini dicapai setelah beberapa rundingan diadakan di antara pihak penduduk dan pihak syarikat. Inch Kenneth telah berjanji akan memberikan tanah seluas 4 ekar dengan syarat kami meninggalkan ladang dan membayar 10% daripada jumlah keseluruhan wang untuk tanah.

    Sehubungan itu, kami telah menunaikan janji dengan membuat bayaran sebanyak 10% dan telah meninggalkan ladang tersebut.

    Namun, kini setelah dua belas tahun, kami masih lagi belum menerima tanah yang dijanjikan tersebut. Pada 12/6/1995, kami telah menghantar memorandum kepada pihak tuan mengenai masalah ini. Pihak tuan telah berjanji akan menyelesaikan isu ini dalam masa sebulan akan tetapi lima tahun telah berlalu, tetapi masih tiada penyelesaian untuk masalah ini.

    Kami juga telah beberapa kali menghantar surat peringatan dan cuba menghubungi pihak tuan untuk membincangkan perkara ini tetapi kami tidak menerima sebarang maklum balas dari pihak tuan.

    Kami juga ada mendengar khabar yang pihak syarikat akan menjalankan pembangunan di tanah yang telah dijanjikan kepada kami.

    Untuk makluman tuan, pihak kami telah memasukkan satu kaveat ke atas tanah tersebut dan nampaknya pihak tuan tidak mengendahkan kaveat itu.

    Pihak tuan nampaknya tidak mahu mengambil sebarang tindakan untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini. Pihak syarikat telah mungkir janji yang telah dibuat kepada para pekerja Ladang Kajang 12 tahun yang lalu.

    Kami amat kesal dengan sikap syarikat yang tidak menunaikan janji dan mengabaikan kebajikan bekas pekerjanya.

    Dengan ini kami menuntut:

    1. Tanah 4 ekar yang dijanjikan diberikan kepada kami dengan segera.

    2. Tanah harus diberikan dengan percuma memandangkan kami telah banyak berkorban untuk tanah ini.

    3. Gantirugi yang adil dan saksama.

    Tuntutan kami untuk mendapatkan tanah ini adalah wajar dan munasabah kerana kami telah banyak berjasa kepada Syarikat Inch Kenneth and juga kepada negara.

    Ada di antara kami yang telah bekerja di ladang ini untuk lebih 20 tahun. Jadi, adalah menjadi tanggungjawaab syarikat untuk menjaga kebajikan pekerjanya dan menunaikan janji yang telah dibuat.

    Kami berharap satu keputusan muktamad dapat diambil dan satu noktah harus diberikan untuk masalah yang telah berlanjutan selama 12 tahun ini.

    Berserta dengan surat ini disertakan senarai nama para bekas pekerja Ladang Kajang yang dijanjikan tanah.Segala kerjasama pihak tuan amat dihargai.

    Sekian, terima kasih.

    Jawatankuasa Bertindak Ladang Kajang

    s.k YAB Menteri Besar Selangor
    YB Datuk Sivalingam, Exco Negeri Selangor.

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