Siva, Xavier accused of betraying the poor

Former Bukit Raja estate workers tell Pakatan to sideline them.

B Nantha Kumar, FMT

Former employees of Bukit Raja Estate today accused Subang MP R Sivarasa and Seri Andalas Assemblyman Xavier Jayakumar of betraying them and demanded that they resign their offices.

Their spokesman P Mathialakan said the two had made false statements to the media about the allocation of land on which Sime Darby, their former employer, would build houses for them.

The long simmering issue made the news again yesterday when the Star quoted a Sime Darby Property (SDP) official as saying that his company had identified an 15-acre plot for houses costing RM77,000 each for 75 families.

Mathialakan recalled that both Sivarasa and Xavier had stated that Sime Darby did not allocate 15 acres, but a much smaller plot for the houses.

Sivarasa, who has been representing the former workers as their lawyer in the tussle with Sime Darby, was reported to have said that there was never any promise of a 15-acre plot.

Xavier, who heads the Selangor executive committee responsible for the welfare of plantation workers, has made a similar statement.

“After SDP’s statement, we now know who is trying to cheat the poor of their land,” Mathialakan told FMT.

The former workers have faced a long and bitter struggle to get their houses. In 2007, the Barisan Nasional government in Selangor allocated 15 acres for the houses.

However, according to the former workers, after Pakatan Rakyat took over Selangor, it diverted eight of the 15 acres for a project to build luxury homes.

“We have a letter from Sivarasa himself that Sime Darby had given 15 acres for low cost houses, Mathialakan said. “But now to the media he says we were not given 15 acres.”

Claiming that he was not against Pakatan Rakyat, he called on the opposition front’s leadership to sideline leaders who were not truthful to the poor.

“They have not only betrayed us, but the entire Indian community, which supported Pakatan in 2008,” he said.

Both Sivarasa and Xavier are PKR members.