An earlier deal brokered by the state government resulted in 24 other families being given houses in Kampung Buah Pala itself. This nine had rejected that offer.
GEORGE TOWN: Nine Kampung Buah Pala residents, who were left in lurch after their houses were demolished in September 2009, have received their new home keys from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak here today.
In what is being seen as ‘sharp-witted one-upmanship political game’, the Putrajaya administration has given out 18 double-storey houses in Taman Sejahtera Indah, Teluk Air Tawar for the nine and their extended families.
“The houses were given on humanitarian grounds, not as compensation,” said the village residents’ association chairman M Sugumaran.
Najib handed over the keys to the residents, led by their most senior resident, Draviam Arul Pillay, 88, after an hour-long meeting with various Indian NGOs at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
In his speech, Najib recalled that Pakatan leaders, including Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, have made election promises to the village residents that Kampung Buah Pala would be saved and preserved if Pakatan captured Penang.
“Well Pakatan has captured Penang, but the village has been demolished and flattened,” he said.
He added that the nine and their extended families were left empty-handed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s administration.
Sugumaran, Draviam and other grateful residents thanked Najib for his delivered promise.
Despite receiving the house keys, Sugumaran said the nine will continue with their suit to secure their rightful compensation from the Pakatan state government.
He said the residents have documents to prove that the demolished Kampung Buah Pala land belonged to the villagers vis-a-vis a federal trust set up by former colonial estate owner, Helen Brown, not the state government.
Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd built the double-storey houses worth RM220,000 each in Taman Sejahtera Indah.
Sugumaran thanked Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Md Hashim, Penang Indian Development Organisation (PIDO) chairman M Nganasegaran and Najib’s special assistant in charge of Indian affairs P Ravin for assisting the residents to secure the houses.
Kampung Buah Pala, which was known commonly as Tamil High Chaparral due to population of ethnic Indians, cattle and other live stocks, was demolished to pave way for a posh condominium project, the Oasis, by Nusmetro Venture (Pg) Sdn Bhd.
Compensation package for 24 families Last October, 24 families who agreed to the deal brokered by the Pakatan state government with the developer, were handed over keys to new double-storey houses as part of their compensation.
The deal however excluded the nine families who had not accepted the offer.
Under the compensation package for the 24 families, the developer had agreed to the state’s request to share a portion of the land with the residents by offering the houses, each with a built-up area of 1,400sq ft and a 99-year lease.
A community hall and a temple are also being built there for the residents.