Residents accuse Penang govt of breaking its promise

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 07 Jun 2009

GEORGE TOWN: With time running out against an eviction order, residents of Kampung Buah Pala, better known as Penang’s High Chapparal, have now turned their anger toward the state Pakatan Rakyat government.

At a press conference at the village in Gelugor yesterday, the residents accused the state administration of breaking its promise.

“Before the March 8 elections last year, PKR and DAP members came here to campaign.

“(PKR leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim himself promised that if Pakatan came into power, our village would be saved,” said Kampung Buah Pala resident A. Draviam, 84.

A large group of residents attended the press conference to oppose a notice instructing them to vacate the 23 houses in the village by June 11.

On May 11, the Court of Appeal had ruled in favour of a cooperative and the developer of an apartment project seeking vacant possession of the 2.6ha land occupied by the cattle farmers at Lorong Buah Pala.

Kampung Buah Pala Association chairman M. Sugumaran said the residents had filed for a stay of execution and an appeal to the Federal Court last week.

“We expect to get a hearing date for the stay on Monday or Tuesday,” Sugumaran, 54, said.

The latest development follows a long standing dispute over the land between Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd and the village residents who claim that Indian immigrants working in estates under the British colonial rule established the village over 100 years ago.

The villagers also claim there was foul play in the transfer of the land from the state to the co-operative in late March 2008.

Batu Uban assemblyman S. Raveentharan, along with members of non-governmental organisations Suaram, Jerit and the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT), were also at the press conference.

“This is one of the oldest traditional Indian villages in Penang’s urban area.

“There are hardly any traditional settlements left in the state and we appeal to the state government to re-zone this area as an official Hindu cultural village,” said PHT manager Mag­dalene Ng.

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