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Kg Medan: The doomed lives of the people of Medan Indah
By Suguna Papachan

12/3/2001 5:48 am Mon

[Ada banyak versi cerita yang keluar mengenai kes Kg Medan ini. Tetapi rencana ini kelihatan boleh dipercayai. Lapan orang telah maut akibat pergaduhan ini. Perhatikan polis begitu lembab menangani masalah pergaduhan yang merbahaya ini tetapi begitu pantas untuk meleraikan perhimpunan aman reformasi. - Editor]

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 01:49:16 +0800

From: Suguna Papachan

To: Syed Husin Ali

Subject: The doomed lives of the people of Medan Indah

The story

On 3 Mar, 2001 (Sat) at Medan Indah (near Kpg Harun, Jln Klang Lama) an Indian family held a funeral and on the next day a Malay family was preparing for a wedding. An Indian drunken man on a motorcycle (a relative of the funeral home who was not from the kpg) knocked into the tent of the wedding house. A group of youths from the wedding house went over to the funeral house and beat up the drunken motorcyclist. A group then from the funeral home retaliated by slashing the father of the bride and few others. The father of the bride, a silat teacher and also a haji was able to muster a party and fight against the other group. There followed some ruckus which apparently was only brought under control a few days later. On 8 Mar (Thurs), a boy playing with a catapult, had hit a car. The car owner went to the boy's house to ask for compensation. The boy's family refused. The car owner called up his gang and confronted the family and there ensued some bloody and bitter battle. What followed was a racial battle between the Indians and Malays which spread to the other nearby kpgs.

Young people in Desa Ria flats were seen with 2 feet parangs, golf sticks and anything they could get their hands on. At about 4pm on 10 Mar (Sat) a bitter battle seemed likely. There were only 2 police cars at the scene (Desa Ria Flats). They gave no warning to the youths neither did they confiscate their weapons. Also a helicopter was seen circling the area. A group of about 20 Indian people were seen gathering on Kpg Muniandy and they were seen facing a group of about 20 Malays on the other side of the road (Kpg Medan). Both groups seem to be carrying a variety of weopons.

The violence

About 35 people were trying to push down the doors of some Indian houses. The families of these houses tied the doors with telephone wires. The police were called in and arrived only an hour later. When the sirens were heard, the people trying to push the doors down, ran off.

People have been slashed with serious cut wounds on the hands, shoulders and on their heads. Since 9 Mar, 2001 eight people have been reported dead, including 3 who died on 10 Mar. Eight were reported to be in Intensive Care Unit. The injured Indians have been taken to University Hospital and Malays to General Hospital. On 10 Mar, its said that about 20 were in Univ Hosp.

In Kpg Ghandi at least a hundred people were involved in a fight. At 3 am on 10 Mar, one Indian and one Malay was said to have died. Innocent people including a 16 year old boy were slashed. Even an Indian was slashed by an Indian.

Police Action

Police were heard saying to the Malays, "Jangan ambil barang tapi kayu boleh" (Don't take knives but wood pieces allowed). The police did not take stern action when they witnessed a group of youths beat up a lorry driver who was a few feet away from them. Witnesses have said that they have noticed the police's passive action and non-professionalism in the situation.

When a man made a police report on his slashing no stern action was taken to reprimand the abusers or investigate the situation. He, bleeding and in pain, had to go to the hospital himself.

It is surprising how slow and inefficient the police is in this situation as compared to the illegal assemblies they so quickly and violently come to control!

Gangsterism and poverty

According to youths in the area interviewed by malaysiakini, violence in the settlement, made up of Indian and Malay squatters, was not due to racial sentiments. 'We have seen many incidents in which people get slashed for no reason. Most of the time, the attackers are either drunk or involved in gangsterism,' said one resident.

This sector of Kuala Lumpur is one of the poorest, being one of the worst drug and crime infested areas. Why has the government not taken steps to make a better place for the community to grow? The workers from these areas provide the city of its security guards, grass cutters, gardeners, contract workers - essential services for a growing a city. But these workers are not provided proper homes, given clean water and other essential services. Why does the city treat them like this? Don't they deserve better? Is it really about racism or is it about poverty?

A politician's assessment

Malaysiakini reported, Taman Medan state assemblywoman Norkhaila Jamaluddin of Umno said that the Malays in the area have 'long been patient although the Indians have attacked us again and again'. 'Every three or four months, we hear of incidents such as these. We (the Malays) have long been patient and many have been terkorban,' said Norkhaila explaining that terkorban meant '1ending up as the victims'.

Using racism is good fodder for the politician but its not going to solve the problems of the young lives who seemed to be doomed if they continue living there. Isn't the politician supposed to give hope to the young people in this country? Are they doing enough?

Suguna Papachan