Penang CM only acted in ’11th hour’, say disappointed villagers

(NST) GEORGE TOWN: The residents of Kampung Lorong Buah Pala have taken Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to task for acting too slowly to resolve the problems over their land.


Residents association assistant secretary, C. Tharmaraj, said the villagers are disappointed Lim waited “till the 11th hour” to use his executive powers to revoke the development order issued to Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

"He should have done this long ago and not waited until after we suffered sleepless nights and drained our bank accounts to fight to remain on our land," he told New Straits Times today.

An adviser to the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) also hit out at the state government for not having the will to act on allegations of fraud concerning Kampung Lorong Buah Pala land transactions.

N. Ganesan said it had taken a tremendous amount of pressure from residents and support groups before Lim decided Friday night to use his authority.

"There is only one thing the DAP should do. That is, exercise its powers under Section 76 of the National Land Code and Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act, to acquire and return the land to the rightful owners, the villagers," he said.

Ganesan said this lack of action shows there is no political will on the part of Pakatan Rakyat governments to effectively address the problems of the Indian community.

In a late night meeting on Friday, Lim directed the immediate revocation of the development order allowing the construction of an apartment project in the village.

It was also reported today that Lim said another suggestion was for the state to explore the possibility of the developer surrendering a portion of the land to allow residents to continue living there.

Ganesan said: "Our expectation specific to Kampung Buah Pala is that it must be returned to the villagers and preserved as an Indian heritage village for all of posterity – all of it – not a part of it as Lim is proposing.”

The residents were told they had to vacate the land after the Federal Court dismissed their appeal to remain on the grounds that they were only squatters.