DAP’s internal squabbles ‘poetic justice’

Everyone embroiled in the present dispute are ‘paying back’ for the empty promises they made to Kampung Buah Pala villagers in 2008, says residents association chief.

(Free Malaysia Today) – The past is coming back to haunt Penang DAP Indian leaders here following the recent outburst between factions linked to its chairman Karpal Singh and Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, said Kampung Buah Pala residents association chairman M Sugumaran.

“I believe God is punishing them and this is the consequence,” Sugumaran said in response to the recent open-ended spat between Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer and Ramasamy.

This is also followed by reports quoting local DAP veterans as saying that Ramasamy’s alleged remark of “godfathers” in the party as uncalled for.

Sugumaran, who continues to battle on for the village although it is no longer in existence and that 24 out of the 33 families affected were peacefully resettled, said everyone embroiled in the present dispute made alleged “empty”” promises to the villagers in 2008.

“I’m not stirring up things for the sake of antagonising anyone or exploiting the faultline between Penang DAP Indian leaders. This is a perception from some sections of the Indian community in Penang, which is that DAP had failed the community.

“It is not just the nine Buah Pala families who refused to take up the offer of relocation who feel this way about DAP, it is sections of the Indian community here, who felt that the controversy could have been handled in a better way,” said Sugumaran.

And it is not just on Buah Pala, it is a host of other issues which the community are aggrieved about, such as affordable housing and the lack of attention given to constituency issues, he added.

Sugumaran said the facts of the Buah Pala issue remained unchanged despite that the traditional village, said to be over 100 years old, have long been demolished to make way for a condominum.

In 2005, the villagers were battling against the Barisan Nasional-led state government over the eviction order issued to them and in 2008, the likes of Karpal, Rayer and Ramasamy made promises that the opposition would fight against the order.

Subsequently, Sugumaran said the village supported DAP in the 2008 general election based on the promise but when the pressure was piled on by the developer, the state could not find a win-win solution.

Even Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim made a similar promise when he visited the village, said Sugumaran.

He insisted that he remains as the now-defunct Buah Pala village residents association chairman as it is a registered body.

“We are still pursuing legal avenues as we have obtained documents from the National Archives Department to illustrate that the demolition of the the village may be illegal.”

‘DAP’s Indian leaders inexperienced’

Sugumaran said Penang DAP Indian leaders are ill-equipped to see to the needs of the community, and one example is how the Buah Pala issue dragged on for several months before it was demolished.

“If you ask me, it is the question of experience. I think the Penang DAP Indian leaders are now quarelling among themselves because they are inexperience and they are beholden to the DAP top leadership.

“If the issue of 33 villagers here cannot be resolved, how can the people expect DAP to govern the entire country?” asked Sugumaran.