PSM: Why charge hillslope residents? -

First Published: 4:07pm, Dec 20, 2012
Last Updated: 4:07pm, Dec 20, 2012
by Stephanie Sta Maria Sta Maria
PSM S. Arutchelvan (R) is baffled why the AG interferes in a private case against land development.
KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and residents of the Green Cow area in Cameron Highlands are baffled over the contradictory stands taken by the authorities on land development works on the hillslope.
PSM Cameron Highlands branch secretary B Suresh Kumar said that although the residents had obtained a court injunction to stop the developer from carrying out soil movement works in the area, the attorney-general (AG) remains intent on pursuing criminal charges against three of them.
"The Kuantan High Court has delivered us justice," he told a press conference at the PSM headquarters today. "But the AG, district land office and police have continued to stand against us."
The Green Cow residents lodged a police report against LTT Development in September 2011 over fears that their homes and lives were in danger following bulldozing works by the developer to carry out a commercial shop lot project.
In May this year, the residents set up camp in the developer's area, prompting the developer to obtain an ex parte injunction to stop them from trespassing.
Three months ago, two Green Cow residents were charged by the authorities at the Cameron Highlands Magistrate's Court for obstructing the developer's lorries. Their case will be heard on Jan 29 next year.
On Dec 11, the Kuantan High Court set aside LTT Development's ex parte and inter parte injunctions to stop the residents from trespassing on the land.
The court also awarded an injunction to Green Cow residents to stop LTT Development from carrying out soil movement works near their homes.
This is the second court victory for the residents with the first being on July 30, when the Cameron Highlands Magistrate's Court cleared Suresh and two other residents from charges of wrongful restraint.
The AG however appealed the case in the Termerloh High Court in August. The appeal will be heard on Feb 22 next year.
PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, who was also present at today's press conference, questioned why the AG is interfering in a case that could easily be pursued by a private company.
"These people are fighting to save their lives and their homes," he said. "This isn't a blind fight for the environment but started when a rock fall occurred in the area."
According to Arutchelvan, even the district land office is uncooperative in its insistence that all documents related to the development are confidential.
"The developers have even sent gangsters who pointed guns at the resident but the police will only conduct investigations if we have the make and model of the guns," he said.
PSM and the Green Cow residents are also wondering if MIC President Datuk G Palanivel has any intention of honouring his promise to provide them alternate land for relocation.
"Palanivel visited the area in July and promised to give the Green Cow residents another piece of land," Suresh claimed.
"His aide even took some of the residents to the allocated land which is a forest area. That was the last we heard from him."
Suresh said that they have sent two letters to Palanivel but received no response.
Arutchelvan meanwhile claimed that Palanivel had made that promise because he knew that the land area was unsafe.
When asked if Cameron Highlands MP Datuk K Devamany was playing a role in the issue, Arutchelvan replied that Devamany had written a letter to Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaacob, seeking a resolution but there had been no feedback.
In July, Palanivel issued a statement saying that the woes of the Green Cow residents had been resolved as Adnan had agreed to allocate a piece of land for each of the affected families to rebuild their homes.

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