Friday, August 21, 2009

Kg Buah Pala:- Did Guan Eng abandoned them when they refused to take the offer...or when they went to BN? Penang Government must stand with the people

I am concerned about Penang Chief Minister's recently reported statement concerning Kg Buah Pala...

Firstly, he talks about the State "...government’s mediator role between the Kampung Buah Pala residents as well as the landowner and developer is as good as over." Surely, the State Government who is all powerful with regard to Land matters, development permits/licenses should not be playing a mere 'mediator' role, they should be resolving the problem of the people. [An NGO, an individual, some political party, some social movement could be said to be playing 'mediator roles' but certainly not the Penang State government]

Secondly, he says that the matter is over because:- "...Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that as far as the state was concerned, the matter ended when some of the villagers sought help from Barisan Nasional...." The people...especially desperate people would do everything possible - go to whoever for help to resolve the problems they face. The fact is that Pakatan Rakyat is the current government of Penang, and they do have the power, capacity and ability to resolve this problem. They are best placed to resolve the problem - not the BN. [But, the the BN can also do something...i.e. maybe convince the currently registered 'owners' of the land to agree to transfer the home and the lands occupied by the residents of Kg Buah Pala...or maybe, even get the registered 'owners'/developers to make a better proposal for the residents to take..]
The Penang government’s mediator role between the Kampung Buah Pala residents as well as the landowner and developer is as good as over.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that as far as the state was concerned, the matter ended when some of the villagers sought help from Barisan Nasional.

“We (the state) have done our part and as far as we are concerned, the matter is over. Since they have gone to see Barisan Nasional, the matter ends there,” he told reporters at a Ramadan aid presentation to mosques at Politeknik Seberang Prai here yesterday.

On Wednesday, Kampung Buah Pala Residents’ Association committee chairman M. Sugumaran handed over an eight-page memorandum to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the Permatang Pauh Barisan Nasional operations centre.

Sugumaran told Muhyiddin that only Barisan could help resolve their problem, noting that the state government had merely made empty promises to them.

He also said he hoped Muhyiddin would shed some light on the matter since land issues were generally under the federal government’s purview.

Lim said the move to meet Muhyiddin merely validated the state’s concern that the residents could have been used by certain quarters or that they might have a political agenda.

“Why see the people who have actually robbed your land? Up till now, they have not repented or apologised to the villagers for robbing their land,” he said.

Lim said he did not understand why the residents were doing this, noting that he believed that their actions spoke for themselves. He said that while Barisan did not do anything for the residents, the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government helped them obtain an offer of double-storey terrace houses with a 99-year lease title.

“Barisan Nasional wanted to treat them as squatters and wanted to chase them out. And now they are going back to seek assistance from the robbers who robbed their land,” he said.

The residents have until Aug 31 to vacate the over 100-year-old village in Bukit Gelugor before the developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd starts pulling down their houses from Sept 1. - Star, 21/8/2009, Guan Eng: Kampung Buah Pala issue is over

But, then did not Guan Eng and the Penang Government abandon the people of Kg Buah Pala when they refused the registered 'owners'/developer's offer of a double-storey terrace house for each family...

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he would have no further meetings with the residents of Kampung Buah Pala after they rejected an offer of a double-storey terrace house for each family.

He said the demand by residents for compensation of RM3.5 million each instead of the double-storey house negotiated by the states was unacceptable.

“Perhaps the residents should ask around to see if Penangites would support their demand.

“We understand their predicament but there is only so much the government can do to help them,” he said today.

The Kampung Buah Pala issue has dogged Lim’s administration in recent weeks after the issue was turned into a racial dispute with Hindraf leaders accusing the state of helping to destroy what they claim was an Indian heritage area.

The controversy took a farcical turn with Hindraf recently saying it had made an appeal to Unesco to revoke Georgetown’s heritage city status for allowing Kampung Buah Pala – a settlement of cowherds – to be destroyed.

Kampong Buah Pala sits on former plantation land which the former colonial owners had given in trust to its former workers to live on when they left the state.

The British colonial government acted as trustees, but the land was signed away back to the state during independence, and the descendents of the original settlers had been allowed to stay on what had become temporary occupational license (TOL) land.

During the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, the land was sold, and the current owners won a court decision recently to evict the villagers in order to develop high-rise apartments.

Lim said today that he believed the Penang public was angry at the latest development in the controversy since the villagers had rejected the offer from the developer.

“Don’t forget we’re trying to offer you a house.

“Now we even have people from Selangor speaking on behalf of the residents. Maybe they can fight for them and demand for a RM3.5mil house.

“Those outsiders, they have their own houses to go back to. Even some of the residents’ association members have other houses,” he said.

Commenting on the residents’ reasons for not accepting the offer, he explained that they appeared to be unhappy with a clause inserted in the proposed agreement which was meant to protect the rights of the developer.

The clause in question states that the agreement would be null and void if it could not obtain the state government’s approval to build the houses.

“If they want to build and the state government does not allow, they will then be sued by the residents.

“Do you think we will reject or revoke building plans for the 24 houses when we are the ones who found the formula to resolve the issue?” he said. - Malaysian Insider, 8/8/2009, Guan Eng washes his hands off Buah Pala after residents reject homes

If, so this means that around 8/8/2009, the Pakatan Rakyat State government abandoned the people of Kg Buah Pala - and, if so, can we really blame them for turning to the Opposition, i.e. the UMNO-led BN?

Media - they have been known to be biased, and I would doubt the reports and hope that Lim Guan Eng and the Pakatan Rakyat government of Penang clarify their position.

I also hope that Guan Eng and the Pakatan Rakyat government of Penang would do the needful to stop the proposed eviction and demolition of homes scheduled for 1/9/2009.


Unknown said...

What is there for the State Govt. to clarify......if it were the BN they would have ask the Kg. Buah Pala resident to go plant buah pala else where. This people had been under the BN state tell me what the f**k have they done but when it is the Pakatan everyone like u wanna be heroes....let me tell u go suck egg more before you question the Pakatan.

Bentoh said...

Oh wow... did KBP people abandoned the state government when they refuse to take the offer?

The last I check, about 12 of the 24 families accepted the offer. Why you think the government "abandoned" the KBP people when until now the village is still intact, not being torn down by the bulldozer huh?

There is a limit when "standing with people"... a government should never attempt to be a populist... especially when the news portal poll returned a solid 96% site surfer voted for a "yes", when asked if they think the KBP folks should accept the offer.

And WHY the federal government is not "standing with the people"? Why Tan Sri Dr Koh who sold the land title with cheap price did not "stand with the people"?

Unknown said...

1. From the beginning, it was obvious that the village committee blamed the present state government for their predicament. Never once, as far as can remember, they take the blame to the BN government who sold the land to the present owner.

2. In the course of the Permatang Pasir election, we've seen representatives of the village committee suddenly bringing this case to the DPM. They also complained about the ineptness of the PR state government to resolve this issue even though it has been acknowledged by many quarters that the offer of a double story house is one of the best ever offered by a developer to a squatter.

3. I support the stand taken by YAB Lim to wash his hands of these ungrateful residents who have lost all characteristics of right and wrong. Even stray dogs will not bite the hands of those who help them.

Charles Hector said...

Many of us have become fed up with the BN - and we were looking for an alternative, and finally we have the Pakatan Rakyat, who went beyond being just a coalition for elections, to actually win a lot of seats at the Parliamentary level, and also to win sufficient seats to become government of 5 (now 4) States in Peninsular Malaysia.

Besides Pakatan Rakyat, what else do we have...

A ray of hope has broken through the dark clouds at last...

It is these feelings for PR that sometimes makes us blind to the wrongs that they sometimes do, but I believe that we should be even more so vigilante to ensure that they do not divert too far from the correct path. If they do good, complement and encourage them to do more good....and if they do wrong, draw their attention to that wrong and urge them to get things right again...That is what we must do.

I have noticed many who will quickly come to the defense of PR lashing out at all critics...and, even if we chose to so, let us be civil - there is no need for harsh words and disgusting language.

Remember, also that one criticizes and challenges PR because we want them to do better. Being silent when they do wrong is not the way - and it certainly will not benefit pakatan and the changes that we do want for Malaysia...