Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Buah Pala: Human shield confronts sledgehammers - Malaysiakini

A human chain stood in the way of about 50 members of a demolition team who were there to tear down Kampung Buah Pala today.

Both sides stood down after the demolition exercise was subsequently called off following discussions between villagers and developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

At about 11am, the situation became tense after a demolition team arrived, armed with hardhats, iron rods and sledgehammers.

Upon noticing their presence, about 300 male villagers formed the human shield and began chanting slogans.

More than 100 police personnel stood watch. The police later brought representatives from the developers and villagers into a police van for discussions.

After a brief negotiation, the workers left and villagers breathed a sigh a relief.

No demolition until court hearing

The appearance of the workers was despite that Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy had earlier this morning visited the village and reassured residents that there would not be any demolition today.

According to agreement, developer Nusmetro would not proceed with the destruction of the 23 houses in the village until after a Federal Court hearing on the status of the land.

The villagers have filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision which ruled in favour of the developer.

In the decision, the appellate court overturned an earlier High Court decision, which favoured the villagers, and issued an eviction order effective June 11.

But the state government has since negotiated with the developer to hold off the demolition.

The Federal Court will hear the appeal on Aug 18.