High drama as Kg Buah Pala is torn down

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009

Kampung Buah Pala comes down

GEORGE TOWN: A resident doused herself with kerosene and threatened to set herself on fire as her village of Kampung Buah Pala was reduced to history.

Fifteen of the remaining 19 houses were partly demolished yesterday while the other four were spared, as their owners informed the developer that they would tear down the buildings themselves.

But when the bulldozer tore down the hoardings at the home of R. Inderani, 60, at about 11.50am, she drenched herself with kerosene and attempted to light a match to torch herself while screaming at the demolition workers and police.

Only timely intervention from family members spared her life. Her son C. Thanaseelan, 35, grabbed the box of matches from her.

Said the teary-eyed housewife afterwards: “I have lived here all my life and I am not afraid of death.”

Of the 15 houses partly demolished yesterday, 12 belonged to 10 temporary occupation licence (TOL) holders while the other three were unnumbered units. Four other houses had been demolished or partly demolished on Sept 3.

Of the 33 TOL holders in the village, 22 had accepted developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd’s offer of a double-storey link house each.

Over the last two weeks, more than half of the villagers had left their homes. Many have sold their zinc roofs and wooden planks to scrap yard dealers.

Most of the remaining houses had hardly any furniture when demolition began at about 11am yesterday, with police light strike force personnel on standby to maintain order.

A court bailiff was present to issue notices to the residents informing them of a court order to evict them.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad workers were also present to cut power supply.

Unlike three previous attempts when demolition workers and police had difficulties moving in, the villagers and their supporters were vastly outnumbered this time as only about 30 of them were present.

They did not put up any resistance.

But several furious residents hurled abuses at pressmen when the demolition took place, telling them to go away and not to take pictures.

Earlier, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Azam Abd Hamid said Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad had offered the residents temporary housing for them to move out, which they rejected.

“As such, they have no excuses not to move out,” he said, adding that the developer and court bailiff remained firm in their stand to carry out the demolition. Azam was speaking to reporters after a meeting between the developer, the bailiff and Kampung Buah Pala Residents’ Association chairman M. Sugumaran.

Nusmetro’s executive director Gary Ho said the company had given enough extension of “so many weeks” to the residents who “no longer have our trust.”

He also said the company was now offering the remaining residents a one-off offer of RM125,000 cash.

Related Stories: Developer rejects Kg Buah Pala residents’ request ‘Govt consistent when dealing with lawbreakers’ 13 in Kg Buah Pala want money instead of house

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