The meeting came about after the residents, comprising 23 cowherd families in what is dubbed Penang’s High Chapparal, apologised to Guan Eng for misunderstandings in their effort to stop their eviction.
Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairman M. Sugumaran extended the apology to Guan Eng in a brief meeting at the Dewan Sri Pinang.
“On behalf of the residents of Kampung Lorong Buah Pala, I wish to extend our apologies to the Chief Minister for what had transpired in recent times and we hope the Chief Minister will accept our apologies,” Sugumaran said.
The first-term Penang chief minister accepted the apology, telling The Malaysian Insider that he would meet the residents as it is the residents’ right if they want to meet with him, as he is also their state leader.
“What is important now is how we can work together to resolve this whole situation. Sugumaran has agreed to arrange a heart-to-heart talk between us and the affected families this Thursday at 8pm,” he said, adding each family can send a representative for the meeting.
The Kampung Lorong Buah Pala residents are hoping to stay on in the village despite the Federal Court judgment that they have no rights to the land and ordering them to vacate it without getting compensation.
They want the Penang government to solve the issue by acquiring the land, which the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government sold for RM3 million to the state officers’ cooperative.
They claim Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have promised to save the village in last year’s election campaign, attracting the outlawed Hindraf to demand the village be saved or the opposition coalition will lose Indian support and George Town its Unesco’s heritage city status.
Penang has since de-classified the minutes of all state executive council meetings held by the previous state government that are related to the transfer of the land ownership to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro., which is promoting a RM150 million project on the site.The residents had wanted to meet Guan Eng previously but he had refused if lawyers or Hindraf leaders joined the delegation. - The Malaysian Insider