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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Penang Wants Buah Pala Villagers To Agree In Principle

PENANG, Aug 7 (Bernama) -- The Penang Government has urged Kampung Buah Pala residents, who are currently facing eviction from the village, to first agree in principle, to the offer of double-storey houses.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said, this would enable developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd and landowner Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang to have a confirmation of what the villagers had agreed upon.

"They (villagers) should exercise rational thinking and agree in principle first, on the 99-year leasehold property offer before we work out the details, including giving them time to move out.

"The state government takes into consideration that the villagers have been staying at the village, popularly known as 'High Chaparral', for more than 100 years before coming out with the offer.

"(While) We did not abandon anyone in the village, I hope the residents do not allow themselves to continuously be used by irresponsible parties and work together with the state government to solve the matter," he said.

Lim was speaking to reporters after his keynote address at PIKOM's regional chapter seminar here on Friday.

He said irresponsible parties could only offer the villagers a show of demonstration and daily court cases while state government could offer them a legally-bound property.

The chief minister noted that should the residents continue with unreasonable demands, there was nothing much the state government could do.

"(As a result) The villagers would lose public support and everything else if the village were to be demolished as most of the irresponsible parties who claimed to be representing the villagers, have their own homes elsewhere," he said.

Asked on the next course of action from the state government after the village residents association sought more time to consider the offer, Lim said he would wait for the villagers' decision today.

"Let us wait until noon today, before making any decision," he said.

The Kampung Buah Pala land issue surfaced when the Federal Court issued an order for the 23 families living on the 2.6-hectare village to vacate the land by Aug 2.

However, the residents refused to move out, claiming that the village land was given by the previous state government to the cooperative without their approval.


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