sjkt bukit jalil students to learn amidst the dead

November 23rd, 2007 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Learning amidst the dead
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Nov 23, 07 12:38pm

Children who will be attending a Tamil primary school in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, in the near future may mistake their alma mater for a horror movie set.

This is because the school is slated to be constructed in the midst of not one, but numerous cemeteries several times its size.

Shuddering at the thought, Bukit Jalil estate resident V Loudesmary said she does not understand how the authorities can imagine children going to school under such circumstances.

Loudesmary, who attended the estate’s present SRJK Ladang Bukit Jalil more than 30 years ago, said the land allotted for the new school was inadequate for children.

This is in addition to the overwhelming presence of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian cemetaries contained in the proposed development plan for Bukit Jalil estate, she added.

“The land planned for the school is too small and it is surrounded by cemeteries. Where are the children supposed to play?” she asked when contacted yesterday.

“Do they expect them to just come to school, stay in their classrooms, and go straight home after that?”

Development plan

According to Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) development plan for Bukit Jalil estate, the new SRJK Ladang Bukit Jalil will share grounds – measuring a total of 0.404 hectares – with a Hindu temple.

On one side of the temple/school is a Hindu cemetary that is slightly bigger at 0.43 ha, while the other side will be occupied by Christian cemetary measuring 0.49 ha.

To the east and south, there will be Buddhist cemetery measuring 3.28 ha and a Muslim cemetery measuring 5.69.

This is in addition to another Muslim cemetary measuring 3.9 ha adjacent to the Buddhist cemetary.

The smaller Muslim cemetary is believed to be part of the temporary detention centre planned for Bukit Jalil which will replace the overcrowded Kuala Lumpur Remand Centre formerly known as Pudu Jail.

Loudesmary’s concerns are the latest among the residents who have been in distress since the government’s acquisition of the estate land in July 1980 for the purposes of development.

While the rubber trees have made way for the ultra-modern Bukit Jalil Sports Complex and the equally impressive Bukit Jalil Golf Club, the estate residents face eviction and the demolition of their houses by DBKL.

Better treatment

Their refusal to move out – some of them have lived in the estate for up to 60 years in houses given to them by the British during colonial times – has led to their being labelled squatters by DBKL.

Although DBKL has offered to relocate them to a nearby low-cost public housing project (PPR), the residents argue that their decades of service tapping rubber – including, at one point, for DBKL itself – qualifies them to better treatment and compensation.

Having ultimately agreed to move to the PPR flats last August, bureaucratic complications have led to a further delay to their relocation. The residents who have not already moved are still waiting to receive DBKL’s letters of offering to occupy the flats.

While that has yet to be resolved, the residents were visited by DBKL officers on Tuesday and reminded that their houses would be demolished as stipulated in notices issued on July 14 and 16 this year.

The residents’ spokesperson S Thiakarajan said the reprieve granted to them by DBKL had expired. The officers made their rounds on Tuesday to tell residents the demolition exercise would occur Nov 22.

However, DBKL seems to have put off the demolition after DBKL was informed that an appeal had been lodged with the office of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“We don’t know how long we can continue holding them off. We hope to receive a reply from Abdullah’s office soon,” said Thiakarajan when contacted.


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