GEORGE TOWN: The three-day reprieve granted to the evicted residents at the Taman Manggis People’s Housing Project (PPR) may have ended but there seems to be no end in sight to the issue as they continued to camp outside Komtar to protest against the eviction.
While there were fewer children than before, the number of adults remained the same, adamant to continue with their sit-in protest until the state government gives them a new place to stay.
Most of the women were spotted sitting in a circle as they chatted with each other, while others were occupied with their smartphones.
The occupants of 22 government flats, whose household income had exceeded the maximum, were evicted following a six-day reprieve to vacate their homes.
About 50 people from eight PPR units in Jalan Zainal Abidin have been staging the sit-in protest since last week on Wednesday (when their six-day reprieve ended).
The families got into a standoff with an enforcement team after their homes were sealed.
They then marched a few kilometres to Komtar to stage a peaceful protest.
On Friday, they were granted a further three-day reprieve, so that they can retrieve their belongings.
State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the total amount of overdue payment for the 22 units was RM9,672.
He added that there were only two units with occupants’ salaries above RM1,500.
“There are four units where the locals are married to foreigners, with two married to Indonesians, one married to a Sri Lankan, and another married to a Thai national.
“Of the 22 families, 15 already have a house or used to own a house,” he said in a WhatsApp message yesterday. Jagdeep added that there were 494 other applicants for the Taman Manggis PPR, who had been on the waiting list for 11 years.
Penang MIC chairman Datuk M. Nyanasegaran handed a memorandum to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow yesterday and urged him to look into the welfare of the evicted families.
“We hope that the state government will solve this problem as fast as possible so that the residents can get a place to stay,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, in a separate matter, the 62-year-old owner of the last remaining house on the Abdul Cauder endowment land in Jalan Mengkuang on the mainland has been issued a notice to vacate by March 25.
Out of 46 tenants on the land, 45 had agreed to vacate after authorities issued numerous notices and launched several operations to demolish the homes since 2010.
The last operation on March 7 saw seven houses being demolished.
In the incident, a policeman suffered a fractured leg while four Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) officers were injured after being attacked by villagers who tried to stop the houses on the endowment land from being demolished.
A total of 11 people, including seven women, aged between 19 and 51, were arrested for trying to obstruct the demolition work.
MAINPP intends to develop the land by building a 22-storey low- medium-cost apartment with 470 units. Each of the 46 evicted households will receive a 1,000sq ft unit in the apartment.
In the meantime, they will receive RM500 compensation for monthly rental to live elsewhere temporarily, and will be given a one-off RM4,000 moving-out allowance and a RM3,500 moving-in allowance once the apartment is completed.
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