The head of the Jinjang Utara longhouses was arrested outside Parliament after a scuffle broke out between a group of city residents and police officers on Thursday morning.
The incident occurred after the residents’ press conference to highlight their living conditions in longhouses was cut short.
Mikhael Iskhandaar, accompanied by Batu MP Tian Chua, had gathered along with some 20 residents of the Jinjang Utara longhouses to demand for housing units that were promised to them as compensation for their relocation last year.
Mikhael was ordered by the police three times to move away from the Parliament gate to avoid obstructing traffic.
He, however, allegedly refused to leave until given an opportunity to address the media.
He was detained after a brief shouting match with a police officer.
Several other residents tried to free him from the policemen, who had pinned him to the ground.
“We want to have better houses, we can’t be living in wooden houses for 25 years. Our wooden homes often catch fire and we live in bad condition,” he had told reporters earlier.
The residents were moved to Jinjang Utara by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in 1992 as part of the government’s squatter eradication policy.
The longhouse was supposed to provide temporary accommodation for three to five years. However, residents only started shifting to low-cost flats in 2011.
“A hundred and forty-five families received unit numbers but have yet to receive keys, while 201 families still do not know their fate,” Mikhael said before his arrest.
However, he said, machinery to carry out demolition works were already placed near their homes.
During the press conference, Tian Chua urged Putrajaya to move the residents out as soon as possible, saying their present living conditions were “deplorable”.