GEORGE TOWN: Faced with imminent eviction, residents and business operators of the Siamese village in Pulau Tikus are making a last-ditch plea to the developer - to allow them to continue staying on the land steeped in Siamese history and culture.
The 19 families and 10 business operators said they did not mind sharing the compound with the proposed development of a five-storey budget hotel at the site.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey said they hoped the developer, Five Star Heritage Sdn Bhd, would allocate residential units for them.
“Likewise, the business owners are also appealing to the developer to assist with funding and part-fund an alternative business premises for them.
“We are not against development but these people are the living heritage of this place. Leaving after getting monetary compensation will not solve the problem,” she told a press conference at the scene yesterday.
Yap added that some of them have been here for generations.
“Moving them will wipe out the Siamese community here and the history will be gone.
“We have e-mailed the developer, conveying the wishes of the residents and business operators here,” she said.
It was reported that the land was bequeathed to the Burmese and Siamese communities in 1845 by the East India Company on behalf of England’s Queen Victoria.
The residents, mostly Siamese descendants, and business operators first received the eviction notice in August 2014. The outcome of the Session’s Court hearing was in favour of the developer.
Eight appellants filed an appeal but the High Court upheld the decision on Feb 24 this year.
Since then, several residents and business operators had received letters from the developer, urging them to respond to the compensation offer ranging between RM30,000 and RM70,000.
Yap said the developer was firm in building a budget hotel comprising 97 rooms and three shop office units on the 2,681sq m land.
She said a planning permission was submitted but the Penang Island City Council had yet to approve the application, adding that under the state government’s policy, approval would only be given if the residents were properly compensated.
“We hope an amicable solution can be reached on this matter.”
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