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Dismayed residents watch as work to clear area for PR1MA homes begins

GEORGE TOWN: The demolition of government quarters in Kampung Kastam, Bukit Gelugor, has gone ahead to make way for 1Malaysia People’s Housing (PR1MA) homes despite protests by occupants in 35 of the 114 units.

The residents expressed dismay during the demolition of the vacant units by the Department of Director-General of Lands and Mines at about 9.30am yesterday.

There was an angry exchange of words between them and more than 50 officials from the department.

Resident Md Munawir Md Noor, 41, said he and his neighbours had hoped the government would grant each household a PR1MA unit on the land instead of moving them to another location.

Residents and authorities dispersed after police stepped in to defuse the situation.

At 2pm, the demolition of the units on the 7.2ha site began.

Department principal assistant director Mohd Rashidi Ruslan said eviction notices dated Aug 17 were given to the residents.

PR1MA land and survey vice-president Abu Bakar Ismail said the occupants were approached two years ago to negotiate compensation but they refused the offer of free low-cost housing in Teluk Kumbar.

Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia president Datuk Seri R.S. Thanenthiran, who was at the site, said the residents strongly opposed the demolition.

“You will give these people emotional stress. I will stand and stop you if you do,” he said.

Thanenthiran said the residents wanted better compensation and they claimed to have lived there for almost 70 years.

Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer said in a press conference that the state was not aware that some of the houses were still occupied.

He said there were three people staying there who were still working with the Royal Malaysian Customs while 31 had retired but still dwelled there.

He said he had lodged a police report urging the police to care for the safety of the residents.

In January, state Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo announced that Penang had received its first two PR1MA project applications involving 2,600 units.

The applications were for 1,520 units in Batu Ferringhi and 1,124 Kampung Kastam.

Northern Region , northern region