PSM wants authorities to investigate Negeri Sembilan govt over Gatco Estate issue


JEMPOL, June 11, 2015:
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate the Negeri Sembilan government over the Gatco Estate issue.

Its secretary- general, S. Arutchelvan, said that Tuesday’s incident, where two settlers were arrested for halting a lorry from venturing into the estate to procure rubber-wood, was the last straw for the settlers in the estate.

This is because the land dispute settlement is still pending in court.
“The settlers have been remanded at the Jempol police station for two days after they had prevented the lorry from taking away their livelihood,” Arutchelvan told The Rakyat Post today.

He explained that the settlers had been planting the rubber trees in the estate for close to forty years with the land rented by the now bankrupt Syarikat Gatco, leading the state government to hold discussions with its legal owner, Tamarai Holdings, to return the 1,206 acres to the settlers.

“However, the Court of Appeal on Feb 25 last year clearly stated that there were irregularities in the process of land acquisition by Tamarai Holdings and the court had requested the case be retried in the High Court,” Arutchelvan said.

He added that with the case set to be heard on Aug 18, following an appeal by the company, the estate currently did not belong to Tamarai Holdings.

“However, the Negeri Sembilan government and its state development corporation (PKNNS) claim that the land is theirs and have constructed signboards without providing notice to the residents,”
This, Arutchelvan said, smelt fishy as a land search on the estate showed that it was still under Tamarai Holdings, with the lawyer of the company claiming that Tuesday’s encroachment was done by the state government.

“How can the land be given by Tamarai Holdings to the state government since the Court of Appeal had questioned the ownership of the land by Tamarai Holdings?”

The motive, Arutchelvan alleged, was clear, that it was to procure profit from the rubber estate.
“We want the state government to stop encroaching into their land, hold a dialogue session and meeting to discuss with the settlers as this is a clear violation of human rights.”

He added that an immediate thorough investigation must be conducted to determine the amount of profit made and who were the profiteers along, with the contractors who were involved.

In the same incident on Tuesday, Arutchelvan alleged that the police and Rela personnel had beaten up an unarmed woman with batons when residents protested the entry of the lorry.

“The Rela personnel were also instructed by the police to remove their name tags from their uniforms and cover their faces while they were given protection,” he said.

PSM also called on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) along with the Public Complaints Bureau to take note of the investigations as well. - The Rakyat Post
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