By TAN SIN CHOW
GEORGE TOWN: Kampung Buah Pala villagers have turned to the Bukit Gelugor Umno division for help now that the state government has washed its hands off the land controversy.
Residents association chairman M. Sugumaran said division chairman Datuk Omar Faudzar had agreed to hold talks with the developer and landowner over the matter.
“We were left without a choice after Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng washed his hands off the issue. We strongly believe we would not be let down this time,” he said during a press conference at the village here Saturday.
Sugumaran also said eight families who had earlier agreed to the ex-gratia deal - a double-storey terrace house with a 99-year lease title for each of the 24 temporary occupation license (TOL) holders - had returned the signed agreements to the developer.
“They are back with us. There are now 21 of us who do not agree with the offer,” he said.
The residents have until Aug 31 to vacate the over 100-year-old village in Bukit Gelugor before the developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd starts pulling down their houses from Sept 1.
It was reported Friday that the Federal Court stood by its June 24 decision that the Buah Pala residents must vacate their homes and hand the property over to a developer for redevelopment.
Sugumaran said the villagers were disappointed with Lim who had shirked his responsibility at “the peak” of the issue.
“It is disappointing for Lim to leave us at such a time. But luckily, when one door is closed, there appears to be a ray of hope with (Datuk) Omar now coming to lend us a helping hand. He fully understands our plight,” he said.
When contacted, Omar said he would meet up with representatives of the developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd on Tuesday. - The Star.