Guan Eng washes his hands off Buah Pala after residents reject homes

(The Malaysian Insider) – 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.

Read more at: Guan Eng washes his hands off Buah Pala after residents reject homes