206 former estate workers receive first part of compensation

From theSun Daily, Sunday, June 10, 2018.

KULIM: The 23-year wait by 206 former workers of Padang Meiha Estate finally ended when they received the first part of three compensations promised by the estate's former management.

A lawyer of Tetuan Hakeem Arabi and Associates who represented the workers, S. Dhanaraj said the compensation claims by the former workers who were terminated after the estate changed ownership was approved by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on April 10.

"Two of the three claims by the former workers were worker termination and relocation compensations which have been approved by the court while the compensation to build houses were still under legal proceedings involving several parties.

"For today, we are only giving the worker termination compensation by handing over cheques to 53 former workers who have completed all the necessary documents while the rest will be processed by our lawyers soon," he said when met by reporters after a cheque presentation ceremony to former Meiha Estate workers here today.

The compensation received ranged between RM1,500 to RM30,000 was based on the length of service before they were terminated.

The relocation compensation will be paid within two years to give time for former workers who are still living in the estate to move elsewhere.

The chronology of compensation claim case began in 1994 when the original owner of Padang Meiha Estate, Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad (EAC) sold the 5,557-acre estate valued at RM115,878,492 to MBF Holdings Berhad and in 1995 a settlement pact between EAC and MBF agreed that RM7,055,838 paid by EAC to MBF was to settle compensations for estate workers.

However, the problem arose when the subsidiary appointed by MBF, Alamanda Development Sdn Bhd was declared bankrupt and in 2011, 187 former workers filed a case with the Alor Star Court because Alamanda Development which agreed to build houses and pay compensation did not fulfil their promises.

The complication of the case caused it to protract until Hakem Arabi and Associates took over the case in 2016 and succeeded in filing the case with the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

On the overall, the compensation payment for worker termination amounted to RM1.34 million and RM638,000 was for relocation while RM4.6 million was for the construction of houses by MBF. — Bernama