Some 60 families from fishing villages in Gelang Patah, Johor, who became rich overnight, are now once again poor, and some, worse off than they were before.
The Star, in an exclusive report, reported how these families, among 400 families of 1,500 people became wealthy overnight when their land was acquired to build Malaysia’s most advanced container terminal.
“But families from two fishing villages here have now fallen on hard times in a tale of “rags-to-riches and back-to-rags”.
“Two decades ago, the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) took over the Tanjung Pelepas and Tanjung Adang villages for the development of the terminal, acquiring 1,416.4ha of land, which is about the size of 1,700 football fields.
“Mostly involved in fishing and farming activities, these families were compensated between RM400,000 and RM600,000.
“Many of them splurged on luxury cars while others spent it on their relatives and friends.
“A number of them poured their entire funds into get-rich-quick schemes and scratch-and-win scams.
“But for the past two years, PTP has begun issuing eviction notices to about 60 families, who were among the 400 households who moved to a new residential area called Desa Paya Mengkuang, about 10km from where they previously lived.
“These families had not paid up for the houses, which were sold to them by PTP at cost price,” reported The Star.
Many of these who are on the verge of losing the only shelter they have have now second and third generations staying with them, and have only enough to eat.
They claim they spent is all, not knowing that they had to pay for the houses, a claim others who have done well are saying is not true, as they paid for their houses.
The Johor government is doing all it can to find a way put for them, but if they fail, they will be evicted.
It is a sad tale, brought upon by themselves, and is one that is repetitive in Malaysia when poor people with land suddenly become rich overnight, and drunk with the newfound wealth, they squander it all.
The Felda people at one time used to be like that too, as their land gets acquired by developers.
The car sales agents would be the first one to park themselves and then comes the get-rich-quick schemers who would charm these poor kampung people into thinking they can double or triple their money. Then, there will be the travel agents who give sky-high rocketing holiday packages, maybe an umrah or two thrown with it.
And the money would all be gone.
However, after a few lessons, those in Felda now are a bit more wary when they are offered money.
These fishermen’s families, who have nothing left now, refused financial planning advice and became the worst for it.
One cannot force anyone to get financial planning advice, but developers with a heart could put in a clause that if the poor people are going to get a lot of money in return for their land, they must take financial planning advice before they are given the money.
Just for humanity’s sake, nothing else.
Source : Zakiah Koya@The Heat Malaysia Online