Saturday, August 8, 2009

High Chaparral rejects 'double-storey house' offer - Malaysiakini

Kampung Buah Pala residents did not meet a noon deadline to accept the 'double-storey terrace house' offer made by developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd

Kampung Buah Residents Association chairperson M Sugumaran said they are rejecting the offer as it is riddled with unacceptable conditions.

One of them, he pointed out, was the villagers were asked to withdraw all their court cases against the land deals pertaining to their village.

Another demanded virtually all 24 house owners in the village to vacate the land and handover possession to the land owner, Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang.

"One must understand that we are not fighting against Nusmetro, the state government or the cooperative society.

"We are challenging the land alienation marred by fraudulent land deals," said Sugumaran (above, left) at a press conference in the village this afternoon.

He said the offer letter was issued to all house owners during last Tuesday's meeting between the villagers and state government leaders in Komtar.

The villagers were given until noon today to accept the offer.

Sugumaran, however, said perhaps two residents may have accepted the offer, without naming them.

Villagers face demolition of homes

Kampung Buah Pala is also commonly known as Tamil High Chaparral due to its population of cowherds, cattle, goats, other live stocks and lively Tamil cultural features and festivities.

Despite the land being sold by the state government to the cooperative society last year, the villagers have refused to shift from their homes.

They, instead, demanded the authorities gazette their village as an Indian heritage living human village in Georgetown city.

They also submitted a memorandum to the Unesco heritage unit in Paris last week to add more steel to their struggle.

Georgetown and Malacca were given a combined world heritage city status by Unesco in July last year.

Armed with a court order, the developer warned residents that the village would be demolished and flattened if the residents failed to meet its Friday noon dateline by accepting its offer.

The developer plans to build a luxury condominium project called Oasis in the area.

Sugumaran said the state government should not have allowed Nusmetro to make the offer given that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that the land alienation exercise carried out by the previous Barisan Nasional administration was tainted with fraud.

"When the chief minister himself has raised such allegations, it's only logical for the state government to right the wrong.

"If the state government continues to facilitate Nusmetro's offer, then the current government was clearly colluding with the previous administration to endorse the fraud.

"This is unbecoming of a responsible government," he told newsmen.

Ramasamy asked to explain RM500,000 claim

Meanwhile, the villagers adviser A Thiruvenggadam demanded the state government to explain its claim that villagers would be made owners of RM500,000 worth of properties through the Nusmetro offer.

He questioned how the state government can possibly assess the property value when the proposed double-storey terrace houses were yet to be built and given to the villagers.

The former councillor of Petaling Jaya municipality said the state government was wrong in evaluating a land that is yet to be developed.

"This is blatant act by the state government with a malicious intention to portray the villagers as greedy people.

"Truth is the villagers are the legitimate land owners and their village had been stolen from them by the state authorities," said Thiruvenggadam.

He was commenting on a statement by Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy (left) in Tamil daily Makkal Osai yesterday.

Ramasamy was quoted as saying that "due to the relentless efforts by the Penang government, the villagers have been upgraded to owners of a half-million ringgit worth of property."

Malaysiakini could not reach Ramasamy for comment despite several attempts.