Coming soon: Malay sequel to Kg Buah Pala

By Athi Shankar, Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Umno is planning to turn the Kampung Pokok Asam re-development project into another Kampung Buah Pala fiasco, should one read between the lines of an Umno leader’s comments on the issue. Teluk Bahang assemblyman Dr Hilmi Yahaya demanded that the state government work out compensation for the affected Malay residents of Kampung Pokok Asam on the same quantum formula tabled for Kampung Buah Pala’s Indian residents.
He said the compensation offered to residents of the now demolished Kampung Buah Pala was the highest ever given in the state.

Since 24 Kampung Buah Pala residents were offered RM500,000 double-storey houses each, Hilmi said it is only fair that the 23 families affected by the new township project in Kampung Pokok Asam receive the same compensation.

“The state government should broker a similar compensation based on the precedent set in the Kampung Buah Pala project,” insisted the Penang Barisan Nasional secretary.

Although the fundamental dynamics between Kampung Buah Bala and Kampung Pokok Asam are different, Umno is bent on capitalising on the issue, which is set to be another thorn for the DAP-led state government.

What Hilmi failed to disclose is that unlike the residents of Kampung Buah Pala, Kampung Pokok Asam residents have been squatting on the developer’s land for years without rent.

In the case of Kampung Buah Pala residents, they were staying for more than two centuries on what they claimed was trust land given to their forefathers by colonial estate owners – the Brown family.

At the height of the fiasco, all ex-Kampung Buah Pala residents, minus nine, were verbally offered a double-storey house each in the same area by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s administration.

But the ex-villagers are still in the dark over this as the offer was not documented in black and white.