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Last hope for century old bungalow

The century year old bungalow.

The century year old bungalow.

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

RAWANG – July 13, 2017: Maljindar Singh Sidhu Brar went through a 10-year long legal battle to save his family’s century old bungalow from demolition.

In the end he lost in court and the Sino-Malay-Palladian bungalow at No 4, Jalan Kuala Garing, here was ordered to be demolished on September 20.

Maljindar, however, is not giving up his fight.

In what was described as his last resort, Maljindar is asking the Selangor government to intervene and approve his eighth land alienation application. 

Maljindar told The Mole that only the state government can prevent cement manufacturing companies, Associated Pan Malaysia Cement Sdn. Bhd. (APMC), and La Farge Cement Sdn. Bhd., from demolishing his family’s bungalow.

“Our family has tried to alienate the land where our home is located. My grandmother did it back in 1967 and 1984.

“But it was only after our seventh application in 2001 that the land office told us the land is part of a mining lease lot rented to the companies in 1983,” said Maljindar.

Despite this, Maljindar and his family were never disturbed by the two companies — until 2005.

The companies issued them two eviction notices, in October 2005 and April 2007, ordering them to vacate the bungalow. It is to be demolished because the companies were tasked by the Selangor government to carry out a flood mitigation project in the area, which includes the diversion of a river behind the building.

“The town of Rawang has never had a massive floor for years. The last major flood was in 2001. I think they are using the project as a pretext to widen their existing quarry behind my home,” argued Maljindar.

Maljindar managed to get an injunction in November 2007 after he discovered that the second eviction notice was issued after the two companies’ lease had expired.

According to La Farge’s letter to the Selangor Land and Mines Office and Department of Drainage and Irrigation, dated Feb 4, 2008, the lease had expired on December 31, 2003.

In the letter, La Farge described Maljindar and his family as squatters that had been hindering the companies’ flood mitigation project awarded by the Selangor government.

“Because the lease (mining lease) has yet to be registered under our name, we have been advised by our lawyers that we do not have the legal rights to evict Mr Maljindar from the land,” admitted La Farge in the letter.

The companies then left the eviction of Maljindar and his family to be managed by the state government.

However, a High Court ruled in 2015 that the eviction order was lawful. The case then went to the Court of Appeal which upheld the ruling.

“I am hoping to get some good news from the state government before September 20 because that is the demolition date,” said Maljindar.

He claimed that Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had responded to his plea in April.

“He (Azmin) had written to me that this matter is currently being investigated. The only one that can stop this is the state government because they are the landlord of this property, not La Farge.

“In fact, my family and I are willing to pay the backdated land premium all the way since 1959 if the state government  alienate this land for us,” he added.

An aerial view of Maljindar’s bungalow and La Farge’s quarry.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

Despite becoming The MOLE's journalist in 2014, he still has a hard time traversing the city. If he is not lost, this northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make some sense out of the Malaysian political sphere.