For almost three decades, R. Mariadass has waited for title to a land that he has been occupying for ever since he can remember. Many times, the 94-year-old father of six had resigned himself to the bitter fact that he would never see the land title before he closes his eyes.
Many of his peers in Buntong, Ipoh had passed away since the previous state government promised to find them a replacement land, after Mariadass and over 100 squatter families agreed to vacate the land in 1996.
“At times, I had almost given up hope for this day to come. Thirty years is a very long wait and many of my elderly neighbours had passed away,” he said.
“I am very grateful to Pakatan Harapan state government for doing justice to us by approving the land title.
“This is a blessing for my family and all the families in Buntong,” he said with a broad smile after receiving a 5A Notice for a piece of housing land plot in RPT Bemban Rakyat from Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu in Batu Gajah recently.
Mariasdass’ land was just one of many titles approved under the PH government’s commitment to deliver social justice to the people especially those in the B40 groups.
S. Jeya rekindled how the difficult times her family had endured living in the squatter village in the early 1980s.
“We were depending on a nearby river for water to drink, cook and washing. I remember how scared we were because there were snakes and lizards in the area.
“The village was also a flood prone area, so we had sleepless nights whenever it rains,” she said.
Jeya said the villagers believed that they would have a better life after the previous state government offered to relocate them to Bemban in 1996 to make way for development project in Buntong.
“It is a sheer relief that justice is finally being served, thank you to Menteri Besar and Pakatan Harapan state government for this gift,” she said.
Another recipient DJ Thevasigamoney said the land title meant the life to the villagers.
“We agreed to move out from Buntong in 1996 but we were left in sheer frustration when the promise was not fulfilled over the past three decades. I am very happy that the Pakatan Harapan state government had fulfilled our dream in getting the land,” said the retired civil servant.
Their joy was shared by the Buntong community leader, PS Chandrasegaran who was one of the recipients of the 5A Notice which acts as a temporary land title pending the completion of a 99-yer land title leasehold process.
Amidst some regrets that his late father was not there to celebrate the sweet victory of their three decades of struggle to obtain the land title, Chandrasegaran said he was thankful it ended in a happy note.
“The previous state government had made promises after promises for the past 30 years. I can’t recall exactly how many interview sessions we had attended back then, but nothing ever materialised.
“When the Pakatan Harapan state government was formed, we believe that there could some hope to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“As such we decided to give it another try, and we are very grateful that the new Menteri Besar had been very supportive to our plight
“Thank you, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal, for walking the talk in fulfilling the promise to the Indian families in Buntong,” he said.
For RPT Bemban Rakyat, Perak state government has approved 10.714 hectare of land in Mukim Sungai Terap, Kinta District as a relocation site under the Rancangan Perkampungan Tersusun (RPT) while another 55.368 hectare of land has been approved to Perak Housing and Property Board to develop Affordable Housing Scheme.
A total of 142 residents have been accepted for the programme and 124 of them have received their 5A Notice on January 20, 2020. The remaining participants will be issued the 5A Notice after submitting complete documents to the state government.
Ahmad Faizal told the families that the 5A Notices issued to them proved Pakatan Harapan state government commitment in fulfilling promises to resolve the issue which had been dragged for 30 years.
“This is part of the state government promise to ensure leasehold titles to the people especially those in the B40 groups,” he said.
Since coming into power, the Pakatan Harapan state government under the leadership of the Menteri Besar had been focusing on efforts to resolve tens of thousands of backlogged land title applications, with cold files traced back to decades ago, like those involving villagers in RPT Bemban Rakyat.
Last year, the state government had approved 9,000 land titles for FELDA settlers, over 55,000 RPT (Rancangan Perkampungan Tersusun) applications and 13,000 applications by Kampung Baru residents. The state government aims to approve another 16,000 applications for this year, to ensure an equitable solution for both Perakians and the state when it comes to land matters.
Besides land titles, the state government had also embarked an effort to build 50,000 unit of Rumah Perakku affordable homes for the B40 and M40 groups.
As of last year, nearly 7,000 units of Rumah Perakku had been built while over 11,000 units are under construction. The state government had also identified the sites for another 20,000 units to be developed soon.
Check out a video on the story of RPT Bemban Rakyat villagers on Perak Menteri Besar official social media accounts, Faizal Azumu.