The Penang High Chapparal, otherwise known as Kampung Buah Pala, the last Indian cultural village in the island of Penang, is set to be demolished. The power to rescue this village from demilition rests with one man. The Chief Minister of Penang. Sadly, it appears he has forsaken the Indians who voted for him almost en bloc.
It must be noted, that while the option to save this village may be at the behest of the Pakatan Government, the problem was created by the former BN government led by Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon. Let's call a spade a spade. It was the BN government that sold the land at half the price, adding insult to injury, to an UMNO backed consortium. Yes, I dare say they had complete disregard for the Indians living there. But, they have paid for it. They have lost the elections.
What about YB Lim Guan Eng? Didn't you, and your entire Pakatan government, rise to power promising the Indians the sky? Now the Indians don't mean anything to you? It was arrogance that shook the pillars of BN last March, and it is this arrogance that will shake the Indian support for you too, sir.
Deputy Chief Minister II Ramasamy seems completely powerless to solve the matter. So much so, the residents are more interested in asking the newly appointed DCM I to help them. But both DCMs seem to have little say in the DAP dominated State Exco.
How is it that the CM who famously declared that 'his doors are always open' is too busy to even meet the residents?
I'm sure LGE will be more than eager to point out that it was BN's doing to begin with. I accept that. It was. But instead of correcting that mistake, in the interest of the people, the state government ha the cheek to try and make more money out of the Indian resident's misery by simply asking for more money from the developer!
Why the complete silence from Hindraf et al? Did you not rally hard, asking for the Indians to vote Lim Guan Eng and Anwar and DAP and PKR and PAS? Isn't your silence now a betrayal to the Indians in Penang?
Attached below is an article from Malaysiakini, regarding the above.
|Villagers pin last hopes on state gov't|
|Athi Veeranggan | Jun 27, 09 12:17pm|
|The Penang government seems unwilling to end the predicament of the 'Tamil High Chaparral' Kampung Buah Pala residents in Bukit Gelugor.|
If proceedings in yesterday's executive council meeting were anything to go by, the state government is not keen to deliberate on the pressing issue, let alone safeguard and preserve the urban village as an Indian living cultural heritage.
The state executive councillors, except for the two deputy chief ministers, are said to be happy to leave the fate of the villagers in the hands of the demolition team to be hired by the developer.
Only DCM 1 Mansor Othman and DCM 2 Dr P Ramasamy seem interested to help the villagers and save the village from the imminent rampaging demolition team.
Other state executive councillors are learnt to have hardly talked about it.
Indeed, one executive councillor has even chided the villagers as “big heads” for not agreeing to receive a handsome compensation in the first place and vacate their village for good.
On Thursday, the villagers lost their appeal to the Federal Court to overturn last month’s Court of Appeal decision favouring the developer and its cooperative landowner, Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang.
Round-the-clock high alert
Some 300 Indian Malaysians living in the urban village have pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to save their village from being bulldozed and flattened by the developer – Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.
The villagers are already on a round-the-clock high alert to stop any demolition work and forced eviction.
During the exco meeting, it is learnt that the state government was keen to act on the technical advice from its legal adviser about its constraints, rather than exercising its executive powers to end the impasse.
The villagers are urging Lim to use his executive powers. Legally, the villagers position now is at its best doomed.
The villagers consisting of some 65 families living in 24 houses will have to evacuate the village that they and their ancestors have resided for nearly 200 years.
Kampung Buah Pala is known among locals as 'Tamil High Chaparral' because of its population of cowherds, cattles, goats and Tamil traditional cultural features.
It is the last remaining Indian traditional urban village in the state.
The villagers wanted Lim to exercise his chief ministerial power under Section 76 of the National Land Code to save their village from the developers.
They have also wanted Lim to caveat the land pending a state investigation, headed by Mansor, on the land deals carried out by the previous Barisan Nasional state government.
Villagers asked to explore other means
The villagers, their legal team and civil societies have all along argued that the land alienation and subsequent sales to the cooperative by the previous state administration were botched deals tainted by fraud.
Yesterday evening the area’s elected representative, R Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer, has indicated to the villagers that the state government may have “washed its hands” over the issue.
Rayer’s phone conversations with village residents’ association chairperson M Sugumaran and secretary J Steven were heard by some 20 residents through the mobile loudspeaker.
Steven claimed that according to Rayer, the state government may not want to preserve the village as a heritage.
He said Rayer also wanted the villagers to explore other means, notably a reasonable compensation, to resolve the controversy amicably.
Steven said Rayer had turned down his suggestion to arrange a meeting with Lim.
The Seri Delima assemblyperson has apparently told him that the chief minister may not have the time to meet the villagers.
However, if the villagers were to succeed to arrange an appointment to meet Lim, Rayer informed Steven that he would be willing to attend the meeting.
Acquire land for us, say villagers
Sugumaran said the villagers wanted the state government to use Section 116 of the National Land Code to stop the developer from entering the village to demolish their homes.
The section states that the developer needed a permit from the state authorities to demolish the village.
Secondly, he said the villagers wanted the state government to acquire the land for them.
The land was sold by the BN government to the cooperative for a mere RM3.21 million, a 50 percent discount from its original price of RM6.42 million.
According to Sugumaran, the discounted sale price - estimated at RM11.33 per sq ft - was far below market value.
Umno-linked developer Nusmetro Venture is set to develop the area dubbed the Oasis, consisting four blocks of medium and medium low-cost apartments.
It is learnt that the current state government planned to nullify the price cut and reclaim the discounted sum from the developer.
The villagers argue that if the state government can nullify the cut-rate deal and ask for a refund, why can’t Lim’s administration annul the whole land deal?
“If there is a political will, there is an administrative way to cancel it,” said Sugumaran.