SHAH ALAM, Nov 16 - The sheer scale of mismanagement in the failed Bukit Botak squatter development project in Selayang is amazing.
Some 2,300 families have been waiting 23 years while the plans of four successive Barisan Nasional mentri besars cost the state and the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) well over RM100 million to develop the public housing project for the squatters.
They are still waiting.
Datuk Ahmad Razali - UMNO MB that first started the Project
And documents, declassified by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim today, further revealed that PKNS stood to lose a further RM136 million if the project had not been stopped.
The project in Selayang, initiated during the administration of Datuk Ahmad Razali Mohd Ali in 1986, was intended to provide homes for the squatters living in Bukit Botak in 81.34 hectares (201 acres) of land.
2nd UMNO MB - Continued with the Project
Under the administration of Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, Shah Alam Properties (SAP) were appointed as the development project manager and RM17 million was allocated, for development costs, including the provision of water, electricity and street lights for the project.
However, due to technical problems, the project was abandoned in 1992.
3rd UMNO MB that Continued the Failure
Subsequently, under Datuk Dr Abu Hassan Omar, the project was revived and Delpuri Sdn Bhd was chosen by the state government to complete the project.
However, documents disclosed by the state today indicates Delpuri, appointed in Nov 1996, was established just two months before and there were directors who had no experience in housing development while one was a former Hulu Selangor District officer.
The squatters were required to pay for the cost of the houses and infrastructure to Delpuri, while the premium of the land was to be paid to the state government.
Delpuri was to provide either temporary homes or pay the squatters, who had to leave the area, RM300 a month until the project was completed.
The state government approved the transfer of a further 32.99 acres of land for Delpuri to build the temporary homes and apartment for the squatters.
As a sign of the commitment, the squatters were required to pay Delpuri a commitment fee of RM1,000 and 1,371 individuals were given titles between 2003 and 2005.
However, this project also stalled, after some initially development, and serious problems have been detected with Delpuri’s management.
Among them, the company had failed to hand over to the Gombak Land Office land premium amounting to RM597,193.50, collected from 200 squatters.
They had also failed to build the temporary homes and were inconsistent in distributing the RM300 subsidy.
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In 2005, Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo instructed PKNS to complete the project, while Delpuri’s contract was terminated with no action taken again the company despite the losses to the squatters and the state government.
Instead, Delpuri Corporation was one of three contractors appointed by PKNS to carry out the work and was given the lion’s shared of the contract.
Despite the risk, PKNS was given no choice but to take over the project and had to spend RM48 million – for the contracts, professional fees, subsidies and other payments – and a further RM136 million if the project was not stopped.
Meanwhile, the state estimates that land in Bukit Botak is today worth almost RM40 million while the former squatters have collectively paid RM7.8 million to Delpuri but have yet to receive their homes.
While attempting to help the former squatters, the current state government has also discovered that land was given to individuals who were not entitled to it in the first place.
This includes individuals who were still minors, including one who was only eight years old in 1985.
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Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim today said a task force led by executive councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad has been set up to investigate the wrongdoing and fraud involved in the allocations of land to former squatters and will ensure only those who are entitled actually get the land.
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The task force also includes Gombak Land Office, legal advisors and representatives of the former squatters.