Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heart-wrenching sight for oldest resident - Malaysiakini

It was a heart-wrenching moment for octogenarian Draviam Arul Pillay as he witnessed his home and memories violently snuffed out by a demolition team at Kg Buah Pala.

Using sledgehammers and other equipment, developer Nusmetro's demolition team tore down the house of Kampung Buah Pala's most senior resident Draviam Arul Pillay, 84, the father of the village association secretary Joseph Stephen.

NONEVillagers watched in dismay as the rampaging demolition team destroyed Draviam's (left) family house under the watchful presence of a large police squad including a light strike force unit.

His daughter, Thavamani Draviam, 44, was overwhelmed by the sight and could not contain her tears and anguish at witnessing the destruction.

She scolded the workers who went about their task with no regard for the fact, or knowledge, that they were demolishing the home in which she was born.

"We built the village ... it's ours. Now they have robbed us off our home," said Thavamani, who had to be consoled by her family members.

After partially tearing down Draviam's home, the demolition team moved on to residents' association assistant secretary, C Tharmaraj's home.

Tharmaraj's mother R Indrani, 62, caused a stir when she threatened to torch herself as the demolition team was dismantling her house gate.

NONEShe came out from her house with a bottle of liquid, believed to be kerosene, and doused herself with it.

Then she produced a match box and threatened to immolate herself if the demolition team did not leave the place immediately.

Upon seeing her going berserk and shouting at them, the workers quickly left the area.

Her son, Thanaselan calmed down the tearful Indrani and took her inside.

A final RM125,000 offer

Resident K Murugan told Malaysiakini that developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd's director Gary Ho today offered a one-off RM125,000 final compensation to some of the villagers who did not accept the earlier double-storey house offer.

NONEHe said Ho also told the residents whose houses were demolished today that they would be relocated for a month to a nearby apartment pending further decisions on the matter.

"It's like we are at the mercy of the developer today because the state government, courts and police are all against us for standing up for our rights," said Murugan.

During the demolition, some villagers vented their anger and frustration against everyone, including Ho, the police, the demolition team and even the village association leaders.

At 3pm, the demolition team were virtually done and had demolished 13 houses of the 17 houses earmarked for destruction.

Residents then started retrieving items of value from the debris of their homes. Several were heard yelling out names of elected representatives for not coming to their aid in their time of need.

"They came here for votes and promised to save our village. They even pledge to stop any demolition attempt over their dead bodies. Now our village is gone, the politicians are not around to stop it," said one of them.

Four house owners negotiated successfully with Ho to allow them to dismantle their homes by themselves.

Earlier, a scuffle nearly took place between cattle farmers and the demolition team when they attempted to flatten cowsheds with a bulldozer.

Timely police intervention prevented a near-ugly situation and the team then dropped the idea when told that cattle rearing ground was not part of the Oasis project site.

The demolition team then left the site with police escort.