‘Letter proves PKR duo cheated us’
Contrary to PKR leaders R Sivarasa and Xavier Jayakumar’s claim, the letter shows that Sime Darby awarded 15 acres of land to the ex-Bukit Raja estate workers.
KLANG: An ex-plantation worker has taken two PKR leaders to task for allegedly “cheating” former Bukit Raja estate workers of the land allocated to them.
P Mathialakan, 55, claimed that Subang MP R Sivarasa and Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar were responsible for the land fiasco.
Contrary to the two politicians’ claim, a document provided to FMT showed that plantation giant Sime Darby had agreed to provide 15 acres to build houses for the ex-plantation workers.
The letter, dated June 12, 2008, from law firm Daim & Gamany headed by Sivarasa to Shearn Delamore & Co urged the latter’s client (Sime Darby) to reconsider the initial RM80,000 price tag for the houses which was considered too expensive as well as to look into redesigning the houses so that the properties could be sold for a lower price.
It is learnt that Sivarasa acted on behalf of the ex-plantation workers while Jayakumar handled the matter for the state after Pakatan Rakyat took over Selangor in 2008.
On May 15, FMT quoted Mathialakan as claiming that the state government had allegedly diverted eight of the 15 acres for a luxury housing project.
He added that in 2007, the Barisan Nasional-led Selangor government allocated 15 acres of land to build houses for the former Bukit Raja estate workers.
Later, Jayakumar disputed the land size that was awarded to the ex-estate workers despite PKR Kapar MP S Manikavasagam admitting that Sime Darby allocated 15 acres.
Jayakumar, who is also the Seri Andalas assemblyman, clarified that the 78 former estate workers wanted landed property and the court ruled in their favour.
Sivarasa had also echoed Jayakumar’s statement and had promised FMT to clarify the issue but nothing had come forth so far.
Speaking to FMT, Mathialakan said the latest letter was “solid evidence” that Sime Darby allocated 15 acres.
“We are not interested in any ‘political game’. Please give us back the 15 acres,” he added.
Mathiakalan also revealed that Jayakumar previously met the former plantation workers to express his idea to build a student hostel in the land.
“He told us that the state government is planning to build a student hostel in the eight acres to benefit the Tamil school pupils. The hostel was supposed to be named after him.
“However, we rejected the idea. There are thousands of empty land in Selangor which are suitable to build hostels. Why are they eyeing our land?” he asked.
Mathialakan also criticised Sivarasa for lashing out and threatening the former estate workers.
“We met him last Thursday to discuss about the land. However, he got angry when we kept asking him about the eight acres.
“At one point, he lost his temper and punched the table and scolded us. He told us to get out from his office,” he added.
He also claimed that Sivarasa had threatened them saying if they did not accept the current offer then they would not get the terrace houses.
Currently, the former plantation workers were offered a single unit terrace house for each family with three rooms and two bathrooms at a price of RM78,000.
Bukit Raja estate was one of the pioneer rubber plantations in the country, founded about 200 years ago. In 1988, Sime Darby closed the estate to pave the way for commercial development.
Commenting on the matter, Sivarasa said the real issue was not about whether there was a 15 acre land allocated by Sime Darby.
“The issue is how did the ex-estate workers’ families get the offer to buy single storey terrace houses which they accepted.
“After fighting a long legal battle to stop being evicted by the estate from the mid 1990′s, we succeeded in bringing Sime Darby to the negotiating table after the change of government in 2008.
“The workers’ demand from the beginning was single storey houses. They had been offered five- storey walk up flats in the 90′s which they had rejected,” he told FMT.
Sivarasa said the offer made by Sime Darby and which was accepted in March 2009 by all the families was to buy 20′ x 70′ single storey terrace houses at the price of RM70,000 which then had a market value of about RM150,000 and today easily over RM200,000.
Sime Darby, he added, used part of the 15 acre land to build these houses and sell them to the workers.
“The issue of the 15 acre land does not arise and in fact never did. If the workers are insisting on getting the 15 acre land then, then they would not have signed the letter of acceptance for these houses.
“It is now being raised by a small group of workers for reasons best known to themselves. In my view, the workers had got a good deal – paying RM70,000 for single storey terrace houses now worth three times as much.
“They knew clearly in 2009 what they were being offered. The letters of offer were given in written Tamil to them. They accepted them,” he added.
Sivarasa also dismissed the allegation that he had threatened them.
“I only met three persons on Thursday who I believe are in a small complaining minority. They have already signed the acceptance letters and entered into sale and purchase agreeements for the houses. No one can take that away from them.
“They could only cancel the S&Ps on their own initiative. All I did say to them that was an option to those who were not happy now after having signed three years ago,” he said.
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