Folk to finally meet CM

(The Star) GEORGE TOWN: After more than two weeks of acrimony, the committee members of the Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association will finally get to meet Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over the impending demolition of the village, popularly known as High Chaparral.

Association assistant secretary C. Tharmaraj said the meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, was arranged by Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh.

He said about 11 of them would meet Lim at his office at 11am.

“We hope to sort things out during the meeting,” he said yesterday.

On another matter, Tharmaraj said Hindraf legal adviser P. Uthayakumar will help the villagers if a demolition exercise were to take place on Aug 3 at the village.

He said Uthayakumar would be standing in the front line facing those coming to demolish the village on that day.

“He told us he wanted to see with his own eyes how the village could be torn down even though the state government had promised villagers that the issue would be resolved,” he said.

Association chairman M. Sugumaran said villagers hope to continue staying in the village, adding that the ball was in the state government’s court.

“They have the authority to help us,” he said.

Meanwhile, state Land and Mines director Arifin Awang admitted to providing inaccurate information on the land title status of Kampung Buah Pala to Lim.

Arifin said he was the “officer” who had provided inaccurate information to Lim leading him to believe that Kampung Buah Pala was sited on freehold land.

“I would like to clarify that the said inaccuracy and oversight was a mistake of the Land and Mines Office and not the Chief Minister.

“I hereby take full responsibility of the inaccurate information given. I admit my guilt and would like to express my request for forgiveness,” he said in a statement.

Arifin also confirmed that Kampung Buah Pala was sited on state leasehold land for 99 years, encompassed an area of 24,683.96 sq m (6.59 acres) and was earmarked for residential development.

Based on the ‘misinformation’ he received from Arifin, Lim had earlier told the residents there that the land was freehold and was too expensive to be bought back.