Kg Buah Pala – Clarifications and a Challenge

By SV Singam

Mr Chief Minister, as the custodian of the rights of the people living in the state that you govern, you have the authority to do these things. The question is, do you have the gumption?

Thanks to clarifications from readers of my previous article, two important assertions have emerged.

1. Kg. Buah Pala residents are neither squatters not settlers on TOL land. They are rightful leaseholders of land that was gifted to them. That is why the state has been collecting Quit Rent on a per square foot basis from them and not a flat TOL fee.

2. The lower courts found no merit in the lawsuit brought by the developer against the Kg Buah Pala residents. Finally, it was the Federal Court that overturned the judgement of the High Court and awarded the eviction order.

It is well known that, in the Malaysian legal system, the higher you go, the more likely you are to encounter a corrupt judge. This is why DS Anwar strove to keep his sodomy hearing in the lower court. Those who previously criticised the legal system should not, today, stand behind the Federal Court judgement just because it suits them.

In a videotaped interview that is on YouTube, a senior resident of Kg Buah Pala made the following declaration – "If a proper investigation shows that we are not entitled to stay on this land, we will leave without asking for compensation."

Yang Berkhidmat Lim Guan Eng, this is the challenge for you.

Set up a non-partisan Investigation Panel comprising government, opposition and NGO members to investigate the truth of this matter. Find out why the state has been collecting Quit Rent from the villagers if it was TOL land. Find out why the lower courts threw out the case as lacking merit. Find out why the land got transferred to a cooperative that appears to have no locus standi in such a transaction. Bring out the related documents and investigate whether claims of tampering are justified.

While this investigation is in progress, stop any attempt to demolish the village.