11 held for obstructing squatter demolition

SEREMBAN, Malaysia - Police arrested 11 people, including two women, for obstructing a developer from demolishing squatter homes in what used to be Kg Hakka in Mantin.

The 11, aged between 35 and 65, were taken to the Mantin police station after they refused to obey orders by the police to disperse.

Nilai OCPD Supt Mohd Yusof Awang said they were released after their statements were recorded.

"We had no choice but to arrest them as they refused to allow workers hired by the developer to carry out their work," he said, adding that about 50 people prevented the workers from entering the area.

Supt Mohd Yusof said the 11 turned unruly even after being advised by police not to create problems. He said the situation was brought under control after a meeting between a representative of some of the former residents, the developer and court officials.

It is understood that the developer agreed to defer the demolition work during the meeting.

On Sept 12, police arrested 12 people for trespassing and preventing workers from bringing in machinery to demolish some of the houses in the 12ha village.

Four of those detained were social activists.

The dispute between the former residents and the developer began in 2011 after they were ordered to vacate the area.

It was learnt that about 50 families had accepted the compensation offered by the developer then while the others decided to stay put.

The villagers who decided to stay asked the developer to increase the compensation amount or give them a piece of the land where they could build their own homes.

However, both parties failed to resolve the matter amicably.

The developer had tried to evict the villagers in September last year but timely intervention by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan gave them a reprieve.

The matter was then taken to court, which in August, decided in the developer's favour.