The home of a Sikh family faces the prospect of being torn down after their appeal to stay its demolition was dismissed by the High Court in Shah Alam on Nov 15. The Sidhu family has been staying in the 97-year-old bungalow in Rawang since 1960.
Maljindar Singh Sidhu Brar, speaking on behalf of the family, said that their home could be destroyed at any time now that the Shah Alam High Court had dismissed the owner’s appeal to stay the demolition of the house, reports The Star.
All the family members appeared in court on Wednesday, only to find that their hopes had been dashed.
Maljindar was qouted as saying: “Our home can be demolished, and we’re having sleepless nights. We live now in fear. Next week, we will appeal to the Court of Appeals in Putrajaya and would like Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to help us.”
Maljindar added that the family’s appeal at the Shah Alam High Court was for a stay on the execution of the order, and not on the proceedings itself.
“If the court would not let us stay, it is fine. But, at least, the bungalow should be preserved and given to the National Heritage Department (JWN) as it has historical value,” he said.
The Sidhu family, which owns the house, says their home was one of the first buildings in the country to have electricity. It was built by a British mining company in the 1920s. Rawang was the first town to have electricity.
The architectural heritage and landscape committee of the National Heritage Department has not make a decision on whether the bungalow is heritage building after it visited the site on Sept 6.
It has been reported that the bungalow, formerly a mining company’s office, was one of the first residential homes to receive electricity in Malaysia and the family had lived there since 1960.
The Sino-Malay-Palladin building and several other houses were originally built in 1920 by Berjuntai Tin Dredging Bhd, which was given the mining lease for the area.
In 1959, the company sold the property to Pologa Nathan, an employee, who subsequently sold it to Maljindar’s great-grandmother Gurtha Kaur.
According to Maljindar, the family first applied to alienate the land with the Kuala Kubu Baru Land Office in 1967 but did not receive any reply. In 1989, through a deed of assignment, Gurtha transferred her interests in the property to Maljindar’s father, the late Mahindar Singh.
However, by then the mining lease for the land had already been granted to Associated Pan Malaysia Cement Sdn Bhd (APMC) and Lafarge Malayan Cement Bhd.
In 2007, Mahindar and 14 others filed a suit against APMC and Lafarge after they were asked to vacate the premises.
Last year, the Shah Alam High Court held that the family was only a licensee when they settled on the land, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal.
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Sikh family battles to save century old bungalow in Rawang (Asia Samachar, 13 July 2017)