Friday, August 7, 2009

Buah Pala residents reject new homes

PENANG, Aug 7 — Kampung Buah Pala residents have rejected developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd’s offer to compensate each of the house demolished with a double-storey terrace house. The residents also insisted that they would not vacate their home although the deadline for them to do so is midnight tonight.

The chairman of Kampung Buah Pala Residents’ Association, M. Sugumaran, said the residents would not move out from their home no matter what. He said they did not want to accept the offer because they found everything presented to them to be unsubstantiated and there was no guarantee they would receive the house if anything bad were to happen to the project.

“If the project does not take off, the row of houses offered to us is not given and the compensation would be cancelled. Is this fair?” he told reporters here today.
Apart from that, Sugumaran said the developer also failed to state the new area where the residents would be relocated. “There were 65 families living in the village but the developer’s offer was only for 24, leaving 41 families without a home,” he said.

At a meeting between the state government, the residents and the developer on Tuesday evening, Nusmetro Ventures had agreed to share the 2.6ha plot with the residents by offering each of them a double-storey terrace house for each of the house demolished.

Nusmetro Ventures had given the resident until midnight tonight to accept the offer, failing which, the compensation would be cancelled. The residents had asked the state government and the developer to give more time for them to consider the offer. However, their plea was turned down by the state government. — Bernama

Buah Pala villagers reject Nusmetro’s offer - Anil netto

1300: Kampung Buah Pala residents have rejected the offer by Nusmetro, according to a contact at the scene.

In a just concluded press conference, they cited numerous reasons for their rejection. They claimed that Nusmetro’s offer letter was itself illegal as the temporary title to the land in the Koperasi’s name prohibited any transaction.

They also said that the offer of cluster houses was itself dependent on the developer securing all necessary approvals from the relevant authorities, and there was no guarantee that it could. No buyer in a normal property development project would accept such a condition, they argued.
They also pointed out there were 65 families in the village and only 24 cluster homes were offered.

The press conference was held at noon, the deadline given by Nusmetro for the villagers to accept the offer. Earlier, the developer had warned in a letter that it would execute the writ of possession if the residents failed to leave the village by the deadline.

The villagers had faxed a letter to the Chief Minister yesterday asking for more time to consider the offer. They only received the detailed house drawings after 5.00pm yesterday.
Meanwhile, a small group from Pas, including Kelantan politicians, visited the villagers yesterday evening.

Kg Buah Pala: Face of anguish

Anguish etches the face of Muniammah, 75, at the front door of her home, as she stares out at an uncertain future. – Photo by Anil

Earlier, Muniammah had come up to a few visitors to the village, her hands clasped as if pleading with us for help: “Where will we go after this?” she asked, almost in tears. “We don’t have any money for rental.”

Her parents arrived from India decades ago – she doesn’t know exactly when – and her mother lived in Kampung Buah Pala until she was 90.

She showed a couple of us around her family home, her back hunched as she struggled to walk up the steep path leading from the lane to the front door.

Perhaps those who are coveting the land on which her home stands – and can only see real estate $$$ – and those who allowed and facilitated the land grab will look deep into her eyes and understand the anguish they have caused.

She could be your grandmother or mother.

PRESS STATEMENT- LGE sanctions fraud against the Kg Buah Pala residents

HINDRAF is appalled by LGE’s continues political drama to see thruinjustice for the residents in Kg Buah Pala. Although, he claims andacknowledges that there was fraudulent transaction, yet he blackmailsthe residents by producing a building plan with unreasonableconditions on August 6, 2009 to comply with it within one day forfamilies that has lived on or about 200 years in the same land.

Why are you sanctioning a fraud when you should have acquired the landand return what is rightfully belonging to the residents of Kg BuahPala instead of making a deal and short changing them?

If you look at his press conference read out by his mandore ProfRamasamy, it is nothing but gloating about the achievement of DAP andcondemnation of the fraudulent transaction started by the UMNO led BNand gladly completed by the current government.

If LGE can talk so much about the fraudulent transaction, what did hedo about it? He sat by and watched it to be completed. When did heappoint an investigation committee to address the transaction when hewas well aware of this fraudulent transaction even before he came into the
power? Yes, it did not happen until the 1st week of July 2009 and whatwas the result of the investigation committee as nothing has been revealed so far.Was he really serious in assisting those residents with the investigating committee or it just another political game?

Many legal avenues, were available for him to pursue the fraudulenttransfer of the land starting from March 8, 2008, yet he sat on ithoping that it will pass by for poor and defenceless Kg Buah Palaresidents who are insignificant for him as oppose to the Developersand the rich and mighty.
Section 340(2) of the NLC clearly spells out.

The title or interest of any such person or body shall not be indefeasible
(a) in any case of fraud or misrepresentation to which the person orbody, or any agent of the person or body, was a party or privy; or
(b) where registration was obtained by forgery, or by means of aninsufficient or void instrument; or
(c) where the title or interest was unlawfully acquired by the personor body in the purported exercise of any power or authority conferredby any written law.

Now show us the public what efforts had you undertaken to challengethe fraudulent land transfer other that clamouring that it was KSK’sfraudulent act and you can’t do anything about it. Doesn’t the lawprovide it for such acts? Well you are the CM, you have the power andauthority to challenge the transaction yet you positioned yourself withdevelopers against those poor and defenceless Kg Buah Pala residents.Nowhere does it exist in law that fraud is acceptable, when youyourself claim it is a fraudulent transaction. Is this the example you are setting for the rakyat?

In total you have just sanctioned fraud and acted just like anothercorrupted UMNO led BN government that is only interested in their own individualwelfare as opposed to the public benefit.

Don’t even talk about the so-called $150 million compensation. LetHINDRAF enlighten you, the land was sold for RM3.2 Million and now you claim it is worth RM150 million. That means the price has rocketed to 2,343.75%. That even beats the property hike price of some high-end properties in New York and London before evenconstruction had began. This can only happen in the BOLEHLAND.

Where is the logic that a RM10 per square feet increases by 2,343.75% in15 months since the project was launched? Mind you if all the land wasutilized notwithstanding the basic amenities such as community hall,tennis court, tadika, administration office, clinic, landscapeand so forth. Then I guess the price is even higher per square feet?

LGE is definitely sounding like a broken record because we all knowthe malfeasances and that is why the rakyat elected you to power.Unfortunately it is very clear that you play the same game that BNplays by blaming everything on BN without addressing the real issue beingyour inaction and your inability to initiate an action for thefraudulent land transfer against public benefit.
You admit fraud was committed, and then what did you do about it otherthan playing politics with the residents of Kg Buah Pala at the 11thhour when you have been in power for the last 17 months to initiateproceedings for the fraudulent land transfer.

The latest proposal that you put forward to the residents on behalf ofthe Developer is so ludicrous.You think that you have negotiated the best deal for the residentswith a gun onto their head. HINDRAF is totally disappointed with yourcontinues drama that only appears to be that you are actually themouthpiece for the Developer rather than the plight of the Kg BuahPala residents. Is it reasonable, just and fair that, within oneday 41 families needs to make a decision, uproot and move on theunreasonable conditions of the Developer? People at least have choiceto make, but what happens to all the innocent animals, sent to theslaughterhouse?

HINDRAF feels LGE is a CM for the Developer and their mouthpiece notone who have been transparent at least in his dealing with the Kg BuahPala issue for reasons known best to himself.
HINDRAF feels this is clear hypocrisy on the part of the DAP ledPakatan government in Penang for their lack of political will tosafeguard the interest of their citizenry in Kg Buah Pala.
HINDRAF cries with those Kg Buah Pala residents who have been deceivedand blackmailed to be deprived from their ancestral homes for a simplereason that with the change and the promises given to them, they hadfaith in you and your government blindly on the basis of trust thatyou would be just and fair for the truth in this matter.

P. WaythaMoorthy

HINDRAF –Chairman

Kg Buah Pala: Koperasi and Nusmetro must be more accommodating and reasonable

By P. Ramakrishnan (President, Aliran)

Aliran is glad that there is some kind of offer and an attempt to reach a compromise with the beleaguered residents of Kampung Buah Pala. It is good that the Koperasi and Nusmetro have finally come out with an offer in trying to reach a settlement with the residents. While it is commendable, unfortunately the offer does not go far enough to be acceptable to the residents.

A two-storey house promised in exchange for the roof that they would be losing would seem to be a reasonable proposal but this proposal is very vague and uncertain because it lacks crucial details, e.g.:

  • There is no guarantee when these houses would be ready for occupation.
  • There is no indication on which part of the land these houses would be located.
  • There is no indication of the cost of these houses.
  • There is no mention whether these houses would be built first to allow the residents to move in at the shortest possible time before the commercial project takes off.
  • There is nothing mentioned regarding the rental that would be incurred when the residents are forced to look for alternative accommodation upon the demolition of their houses.
  • To add to these uncertainties, there is also a condition that states if the amended layout plan to accommodate these houses is rejected by the approving authority, the deal would be off and the residents would not have any hold on the Koperasi and Numestro for any compensation. If this were to happen, the residents would have lost their homes and would be entitled to nothing whatsoever – not even a sen. In that eventuality, they would have been exploited and deprived of everything that they have had on this land: their lives, their homes, their history, their heritage.
In all fairness, these areas of grave concern are legitimate and it is only just that they must be addressed seriously so that the residents’ fears can be laid to rest.

Considering the fact that the Kopersai had obtained the land below market price, it has benefited tremendously and stands to reap huge profits from the land that has been home to these unfortunate residents and their ancestors for nearly 200 years. It would, therefore, be reasonable to expect the Koperasi to be forthcoming and generous in its offer.

Being a Koperasi, it should understand what social justice is, it should be aware that exploitation is wrong and unjust.

It is because of this that Aliran expects the Koperasi to understand fully the dire situation of the residents of Kampung Buah Pala. It is because of this that Aliran expects the Koperasi to act in a humane manner befitting its status and responsibility.

Aliran earnestly hopes that there will be no forced eviction, that there will be no violence tomorrow. There is no need to resort to sledgehammers and bulldozers to evict these helpless residents.

Aliran would like to appeal to the Koperasi to defer the demolition and hope that it would sincerely engage in dialogue with the residents so that a just settlement can be arrived at as soon as possible to the mutual satisfaction of both the parties.

01 East - Malaysia's security act - 6 August 09

Part 1

Part 2

The Gunasegaran ‘death in police custody’ case : An update

By Harris Ibrahim,

Following my ‘Why is Gunasegaran dead?…” post, so many of you wrote in with offers to help with the cost of the proposed second post mortem.

Thank you all so very, very much. You are proof that, notwithstanding the rot that has taken root in our country, there is still hope.

I have not responded to your e-mails because as it turned out, consent was needed from the police authorities for a second post mortem to be carried out, and I did not want to embark on a fund collection exercise until I was certain that a second post-mortem could proceed.

I’ve just been informed that the police have today given their consent, in writing, to a second post mortem.

I’ll be sending those of you who wrote in earlier with offers to help the requisite details so that you can send in your contributions.

God bless.

Kg Buah Pala: More questions - Anil Netto

Let’s go back a bit and look at the timeline:

3 October 2005 – Nusmetro enters into a joint venture with the Koperasi.

5 October 2006 – Planning permission is given by the local authorities.

27 March 2008 – Temporary title (Borang 11AK) (99 year lease) is registered in the name of the Koperasi. The title contains a restriction saying that there can be no transfer, lease, sub-lease or any transaction.

There are also two caveats shown on this temporary title document:

1) Caveat by Nusmetro – registered on 14 April 2008. (Nusmetro had agreed to pay the land premium on behalf of the Koperasi in return for the joint venture agreement.)

2) “Kaveat Pendaftar atas Tanah” – registered on 22 December 2008. (This appears to be in connection with some loan to a borrower. The Housing Loans Section of the Malaysian Treasury applied for the caveat.)

Can planning permission for a plot of land be given before the title is even registered in the name of the applicant? How did this happen?

And what is the final outcome of the state investigative committee’s probe into the land deal. There is no point revealing the results when the houses are already demolished, is there?

No more talk of land scams now?

Kg Buah Pala: Offer ends tomorrow