GEORGE TOWN: The state government is not only insincere but deliberately troubling the Penang Chinese Clan Council on handing over the heritage house 50, Love Lane, said Gerakan deputy secretary-general Dr Thor Teong Gee.
He highlighted a paragraph from an official letter from the Northeast Land and District Office to the clan council which said the state authorities have agreed that the application by the clan council to transfer the property to it can be approved at a nominal sum of RM1 provided that it could supply evidence that it is the beneficial owner.
Thor said based on the letter, it was clear that the state government was deliberately troubling the clan council which was unable to supply the evidence.
“The Penang government has power to make the decision and why does it need to prolong the handing over?
“The board of trustee members assigned to oversee the property belonging to the Eng Siew Kee Kongsi, have passed away, so how can the clan council prove that it is the beneficial owner of the property now? This seems to be an impossible task,” he said.
He said the clan council was planning to convert the property into a museum displaying the contributions of the forefathers.
Gerakan state legal bureau chief Datuk Baljit Singh said a High Court decision in 1909 saw the appointment of a five-member board of trustees to oversee the property and all the board members have died.
“Since then, the British, Japan, Parti Perikatan and Gerakan had governed the state but no one confiscated the property.
“In 2008, DAP took over and the property was forfeited by the state government,” he pointed out.
The property is historically connected to the Ghee Hin secret society, the largest grouping of Chinese immigrants in the 1800s who played a major role in building Penang’s economy.
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