Kampung Tanjong Tokong folk want Najib to intervene

(The Malaysian Insider) GEORGE TOWN, Sept 25 — While Hari Raya festivities may still be lingering in the air, a walk down the village roads of Kampung Tanjong Tokong here suggests a feeling that celebrations have been subdued by more pressing concerns.

This Sunday, the residents association of the kampung will be organising a press conference to collect signatures from various NGOs in Penang as well as several academic institutions such as USM, in an attempt to highlight the impending takeover of their land.

“We want Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself to solve this issue because we are talking about the issue of Malay heritage here. This is where the first Malay community in Penang started. All the past prime ministers have not done anything to help us in our plight,” said Mohd Salleh Yahaya, a former lecturer who is also the residents association chairman of the 200-year-old village.

Similar to the case of Kampung Buah Pala, villagers here are opposing a mixed development project by UDA Holdings which some of them claim have “no social responsibility to the people and to the Malay heritage of the area.”

According to Salleh, UDA Holdings was given a 99-year lease of the land on May 30, 1974 on the condition that any development would be solely for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and renewal of Kampung Tanjong Tokong and not a profit-based project.

“The federal government has neglected the needs of the people and has not fulfilled their responsibilities. We want the matter to be dealt with at federal level since UDA Holdings is a government-linked company (GLC), and the land concerned belongs to the federal government,” said the association chairman.

The residents association wants the area to be recognised as a National Heritage Site. As of right now, the residents have no say over the matter because UDA has categorised the people still staying in the area as squatters.

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