Buah pala or nutmeg, along with other spices bearing exotic flavours, once drew hordes of traders to these parts. Today though, the mention of Buah Pala is enough to leave a bitter taste as the village that bears its name – where the descendants of those who laboured in the spice plantations of yore now reside – faces demolition.

Folks today are more interested in ‘whacking’ the villagers for their political miscalculations and for being “greedy” because they did not jump at the offer of “double-storey terrace houses worth RM500,000”. At the same time, the Koperasi/Nusmetro’s greed is rarely mentioned; they have already made a huge unrealised profit on the land, even before any work has begun, after having bought the land for peanuts. (Purchase price approx RM10 per sq ft vs market value approx RM100 psf ==> for 6.5 acres, that works out to a cool RM25 million profit just on the vacant land).

The villagers are the real victims of a land grab – but, ironically, they are the ones receiving the most flak, and all because they had the temerity to try and preserve their village. Weird how the tables have been turned against them. Many “hardcore” Pakatan supporters just want them to disappear so they can get on with the BN vs Pakatan political game. We must see the Big Picture, they argue. But they forget it is the little pieces of the jigsaw puzzle – pieces like Kg Buah Pala – that make up the Big Picture.

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Moving beyond the BN-Pakatan blame game, however, the loss of the village, which hearkens back to a different era when people lived more in harmony with Nature, is a source of mourning.

The demolition of this and other kampungs is a sign that the concrete jungle is taking over our increasingly unsustainable habitat. It appears as if it is Developer Power – rather than People Power – that rules. Look at how developers may now be granted an increase in the (plot-ratio) density for projects in certain areas. More profits for the cosy network of developers!

The partisanship surrounding the Kg Buah Pala saga is disturbing. The human rights angle is hardly mentioned, in particular, the primary rights to land and to shelter, and the right of communities to live in dignity.

Where are the partisan political supporters – Pakatan and BN – when it comes to the Penan who are engaged in a lonely struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rainforests (what’s left of it) from the rapacious greed of logging companies? Is the silence because there is no BN vs Pakatan angle there? My posting on the Aljazeera video of the Penan received just 14 comments. Why the lack of interest towards their plight and the loss of our rainforests? I am not talking about donating to charity here; I am referring to the entire mindset that supports unsustainable corporate-led development while ignoring the devastating impact on local communities.

In a number of areas – notably, our attitudes towards marginalised communities and the environment – our mindset has not yet changed, even after 8 March 2008. Many of us have simply transferred our loyalties from the BN to the Pakatan, but are still unprepared for a more sustainable model of development that does not harm communities nor damage our priceless heritage.

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72 COMMENTS

  1. everyone just missed the point….

    Kg. buah pala = sect 23 shah alam temple = perak state government = puked!

    what is the common denominator?….umno!

    this is plain and simple arithmetic…got it?

  2. Seperti yang dijanjikan semalam, saya akan menceritakan bagaimana Ketuanan India mungkin sudah berlaku di Malaysia.

    Walaupun saya ini tidak setuju dengan mana-mana konsep ketuanan tetapi saya hormat pendapat kawan saya.

    Ketuanan India mungkin sudah berlaku di Kg Buah Pala kerana:

    [1] penduduk Kg Buah Pala ialah pembayar TOL (TOL = Temporary Occupation Licence). Ini bukti tanah di mana mereka tinggal bukan milik mereka. Jika kamu tuan tanah, kamu bayar TOL tak? Tuan tanah bayar cukai tanah dan cukai pintu sahaja sambil bil IWK.

    [2] Kes Penduduk Kg Buah Pala vs pemaju Nusmestro di Mahkamah Persekutuan. Penduduk Kg Buah Pala sudah kalah dua kali di Mahkamah Persekutuan. Tetapi membuat sidang media dan tuntutan macam mereka menang sahaja.

    [3] MIC janji RM3.2 juta bagi beli semula tanah Kg Buah Pala. Hebat, penjaga kaum India di Malaysia sudah campur tangan dan prihatin kepada penduduk ini. Syabas kepada MIC.

    [4] Hebat, bukan sahaja MIC, Ketua Menteri, Timbalan Ketua Menteri, MP, ADUN juga campur tangan. Rasa bangga bila dapat bersemuka dengan YB-YB ini. Apa lagi dapat duduk semeja membuat rundingan. Belum habis lagi. Mereka juga diberi perhatian oleh UMNO. Parti pemerintah Malaysia. Dengan khabar mereka juga hantar memorandum kepada Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia! Hebat. Cukup sensasi. Satu Malaysia tahu kes mereka.

    [5] Rumah setinggan (mengikut definisi mahkamah) Kg Buah Pala gagal dirobohkan beberapa kali. Kuasa dan semangat penduduk kaum India memang perlu dipuji. Betul-betul bersatu-padu.

    [6] Penduduk Kg Buah Pala berjaya mengubah hasrat polis untuk membawa beberapa penduduk yang ditangkap ke lokap dengan menghalang van polis. Mereka kemudian dibenarkan pulang selepas diikat jamin.

    [7] Terdapat blogger yang simpati dengan kes Kg Buah Pala seperti blog ini. Bukan itu sahaja, NGO seperti Aliran juga sokong mereka. Penang Heritage Trust juga sokong mereka (mengikut maklumat blog ini). UNESCO juga janji akan kaji kes ini (mengikut blog Hindraf). Kes ini sudah jadi berita antarabangsa.

    [8] Pelukis ternama (betulke?) di Pulau Pinang mengambil peluang bagi merakamkan wajah Kg Buah Pala melalui lukisan mereka walaupun dalam keadaan hujan lebat (mengikut definisi blog ini, tetapi mengikut definisi pemberi komen yang bernama crash, hujan ini sekadar “mist fan di starbuck”). Karya-karya lukisan tersebut mungkin satu hari dilelongkan di Vered Gallery dan mungkin setanding dengan Picasso beberapa ratus tahun kemudian. Siapa tahu?

    [9] Penduduk Kg Buah Pala yang kalah kes mahkamah, dapat pampasan berupa rumah teres manakala penduduk setinggan yang lain yang belum kalah kes mahkamah pun hanya dapat rumah kos rendah atau tiada pampasan langsung. Ada dikalangan mereka yang dapat rumah kos rendah atau tiada apa-apa pampasan merupakan kaum bukan India. Kesian mereka yang belum kalah kes mahkamah, mungkin jika mereka bawa kes ke mahkamah mereka mungkin boleh menang.

    [10] Penduduk Kg Buah Pala bukan dihalau keluar, tetapi dijemput tinggalkan kampung mereka sebentar sementara rumah mewah percuma mereka dibina. Sila tunggu, kerja-kerja peningkatan (upgrade) sedang dilakukan. Segala kesulitan amat dikesali. Manakala penduduk setinggan yang lain yang dapat pampasan diberi rumah bukan ditempat asal.

    Ketuanan India mungkin wujud disini kerana mereka mendapat layanan yang lebih baik daripada yang “lain-lain”.

    Sekian.

  3. Sdr Wong

    Apakah relevennya Demo Kepala Lembu itu dengan hal ini ?

    Tolong debat dengan saya dan jangan cuba melepaskan diri dengan membangkitkan perkara perkara yang bukan bukan.

  4. Seorang manusia guna nama K berkata:

    ——————-
    In case of KBP, nobody will blame LGE if he and his Pakatan cronies didn’t make any macho promises before the GE on preserving the village. But they did to get the votes of KBP folks and Indians of Penang. That’s the root cause of the problem here. Furthermore the way they managed the issue did not show an aota of compassion or understanding but instead adopted the Old BN tactics (which itself has been abandoned by BN themselves) of threatening and bullying the residents into submission by using the power of government , media… Looking at the manner this issue been handled, I am afraid Penang is now looks like a Police State.

    ——————

    Ini komen ringkas saya.

    Demo kepala lembu itu bukan ancaman nyata? Dalang demo lembu ialah ketua cawangan UMNO. UMNO sebahagian dari BN.

    Dialog MB Selangor dengan penduduk, si dalang lembu buat ancaman… kepada MP Kalid Samad dan YB Roziah juga diugut rogol.

    Saya ada bukti video.

  5. Dear ghkok

    I am sorry but I don’t buy the pathetic excuse that PR cannot manage the states well because they don’t control the Federal Govt. The problems we see in Penang and elsewhere are not due to BN but Pakatan’s own doing. In case of KBP, nobody will blame LGE if he and his Pakatan cronies didn’t make any macho promises before the GE on preserving the village. But they did to get the votes of KBP folks and Indians of Penang. That’s the root cause of the problem here. Furthermore the way they managed the issue did not show an aota of compassion or understanding but instead adopted the Old BN tactics (which itself has been abandoned by BN themselves) of threatening and bullying the residents into submission by using the power of government , media… Looking at the manner this issue been handled, I am afraid Penang is now looks like a Police State.

    As for Pakatan, if they can’t even manage a state, I wouldn’t want them to manage the country. Anyone would tell you that LGE has the best possible position politically among all of Malaysia states with strong political position and been handed a state with a relatively well developed physical and economic infrastructure. Yet, again and again he screws it up.

    Anil is right in judging Pakatan by their actions and policy orientation now. Look at the Cheap Minister. He is from a socialist party but yet he is even closer to the Big Business than KTK ever was. The musroomming of new development projects, LGE’s proposal to increase density and his lack of compassion in many issues makes a mockery of DAP’s and Pakatan’s pre-GE promises and policies.

  6. The site (may) be cursed…construction (could) be delayed and costs (could) go up for the greedy developer. Mysterious (things) will occur during piling and foundation works. People who buy the condos (may) experience bad luck and see strange apparitions in the near empty units. Strata title applications (could) be delayed by present state govt. inc. CF..

    This is not a mere prediction and it has happened before in the history of forced land takeover by greedy developers, remember Thean Teik estate? Penang has its share of superstitions and many cannot be explained….

  7. Kepada K,

    semalam saya tengok bola sepak England vs Crotia dengan kawan-kawan. Siaran langsung tau tak? England menang 5-1.

    Patutlah pendapat kamu berbeza dengan orang ramai. Sila berkawan dengan lebih banyak orang kerana kamu akan dapat lebih pandangan terhadap sesuatu perkara.

    Apa yang saya tuliskan sebelum ini kebanyakkan merupakan logik yang dibincangkan di kedai mamak atau kedai kopi.

    Penduduk Kg Buah Pala mengikut kata kawan saya, Gunasekaran, memiliki Ketuanan India pertama di Malaysia.

    Tahu tau kenapa?

    Esok baru saya bagi tau awak. Biar kamu tak boleh tidur satu malam.

    p/s: itupun kalau Anil hendak siarkan komen saya.

  8. Anil,
    What if the so called big corporation is The State of Penang. Taking care of 1.5 million Penangites

  9. Sdr Wong

    Tolong jangan mereka cerita tentang “geng India & Punjabi”. Kejadian yang anda ceritakan hanya wujud dalam imaginasi anda. Jika ingin berdebat, debatlah dengan hujah hujah anda tanpa mereka perkara yang bukan bukan.

    Anda mudah lupa bahawa penduduk KBP kini dihalau dari tanah pusaka mereka yang mereka duduki lebih daripada 150 tahun. Jangan buat tuduhan yang mereka ini setinggan. Tanah kerajaan ialah milik rakyat dan bukan milik LGE. Pada zaman dahulu tiada dokumentasi atau sistem hak milik tanah maka penduduk tidak memperolehi hak milik secara rasmi.

    Cuba lihat keadaan di Chew Jetty. Mereka juga hadapi masalah yang sama tetapi kerajaan DAP anggap mereka ini sebagai warisan negeri yang perlu dikekalkan malah kawasan ini diberikan publisiti yang meluas hingga dijadikan tarikan pelancung.

    Tetapi lihatlah pula bagaimana cara KBP dilayan oleh LGE…ini jelas menunjukkan bahawa DAP tidak mengamalkan konsep “Malaysian Malaysia” seperti yang dilaung laungkan oleh mereka.

  10. Terdapat orang yang hipokrital wujud di sini. Cakap bagai tidak dapat apa-apa selepas meninggalkan Kg Buah Pala.

    Rasa pahit kononnya.

    Semalam saya lepak dekat kedai mamak sempat bersembang dengan geng India dan Punjabi. Mereka kata orang hipokrital sudah wujud dalam isu ini. Mereka juga kata, kalau ditimbang secara betul, selepas orang-orang yang tinggalkan Kg Buah Pala ini, mereka sudah boleh kena penyakit kencing manis. Terlalu manis rasanya. Hanya di mulut cakap pahit.

  11. Nil,

    As expected none of these racists (and that’s what they are) have the …. to admit that if it was the last village (belonging to another ethnic group) – they would have moved heaven and earth to make sure the village would not be demolished.

    … Even in Malaysia Today these ugly racists spread racial slurs at a drop of a hat:

    +++++++++

    written by smeagrooo, September 07, 2009 00:30:14
    how rm40mil became rm500mil?

    well that’s call calculating “K***** sou” to you.
    report abuse
    disagree 6
    agree 44

    +++++++++

    Note the 44 racist idiots that agreed with the racist that made the original comment.

    … SO when the DAP (which to the most of us will always be a chinese party) bleats about equality, freedom and justice – you have to pardon me while I puke.

    I will never forget what the incompetent MB Lim Jr (administration) did to the poor grandmas and children of KBP.

    Neither will KARMA, thankfully.

    IMHO (certain Pakatan politicians) are all politicians that basically (misled) The Rakyat to get elected and they all need to be booted out of PR.

  12. Kepada K,

    sila jangan main-main dengan nama parti DAP.

    Hari ini MCA menyaman YAB Lim Guan Eng kerana beliau mempersendakan nama MCA.

    Kamu juga mungkin disaman oleh DAP.

    Sekian.

  13. Anil,I am getting tired of the blame game, the issue is so muddy & cloudy. Can i suggest you do an expose piece on this, without fear and favour, just give us the truth. Do a “watergate” and give us the facts starting with the Trust document, how it became a TOL, sale by the previous state govt; the law suits KBP, and the investigate by the PR govt into the land sale and the outcome. Piece it all together so that everyone gets a clear picture. I am willing to chip in some money for yr expenses, anybody out there who are interested?

  14. Hi Anil,

    Just a few remarks :

    1. Surely you know the state of our political arena today. It’s getting practically impossible for Pakatan to rule. The constant hounding, intimidation and harassment by BN is disrupting day-to-day operations. In Selangor, a string of coordinated and planned assaults is hampering us. Starting from Teresa Kok’s ISA arrest and all the way to Teoh Beng Hock’s murder. MACC is running riot, raiding ADUN’s offices, picking on volunteer’s, assistants and vendors doing work for the state. The Federal Govt is withholding funds from the state govt and channeling the funds thru their own “channels”. Najib openly declares that he wants back Selangor – by any means. I assume the same thing is going on in other states. So state funds are precious now and we need it for the state programs including the welfare programs for the hardcore poor and scholarships for the low-income.

    2. If the KBP residents fall under those welfare programs, then it is the duty of the state govt to help them under those programs .. just like the tens of thousands of other Penangites who are helped under those programs.

    3. It is the duty of the state govt to fight for justice for the KBP folks – which they have done. They fought for the best possible compensation (within the constraints) and they won it. The rights of the poor and the trampled must be fought for … and they are fought for in different ways. In this particular case, it was deemed the best way is to fight for the best possible compensation. If we disagree with that method, then we should say so. Not by saying that they haven’t fought for the residents.

    4. Penans. Ok I’m speaking for myself. I’m a Penangite with 2 kids and I’m living in Selangor. I’m a regular visitor to your website because I’m looking for every bit of news about … Penang. I get to your website then I scan for anything about Penang .. the more controversial the better. Anything else .. sorry lah. Why ? because I have to work, my boss is hounding me even as I’m surfing your site, i have deadlines to meet, and my PC at home is dominated by my wife and daughter. That’s my excuse .. I don’t know about other people.

    5. Politics is a means to an end. PR holds the best hope for us to end 52 years of nonsense from BN. Anybody know of any other alternative ? But we’re not there yet. We need to win at Federal level. People are excited about that prospect. They know that there’s so much more that needs to be done, must be done, and can only be done by taking over the Federal govt. That’s why the constant talk about PR vs BN. People see HOPE. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    6. Only when PR is in effective control of the country .. ONLY THEN should we judge them on the totality of what they can, or can’t, do.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response, ghkok. Regarding your last point, I think we can also judge them now on a daily basis by their policy orientation, their statements, the “vibes” they give out, how concerned they are towards the downtrodden, what is their stand when it comes to the interests of big corporations vs ordinary residents, etc. So we don’t have to wait till they capture federal power to get an idea of what a Pakatan administration would be like – for we can now see their orientation and approach, despite the various constraints. You could call it a probationary period…

  15. Sugumaran is the real culprit.
    If he had stuck to dealing with just the state government, such mess would not have occured.

    He was ‘coaxed’ to change goal posts by Hindraf, MIC, Barisan National etc.

    Otherwise, why should he be hopping like a frog from one ‘potential saviour’ to another?

    And you do not want to say anything about the former BN state government for starting this mess? And the MIC rubber – stamp Exco member who just said ‘saya setuju’ to this initiative – where was he throughout the tense moments?

    He conveniently… quietly left the scene.

    No use blaming LGE now when the foundations to eliminate this village was already sealed by the previous Bn state government…

  16. Anil,

    At the end of the day, you are saying that the Buah Pala folks should be permitted to continue living their traditonal life on the land. Given that the Court has, whether fairly or unfairly, ruled in favour of the developer, is that possible?
    Assuming that the Penang Government ignores the Court ruling and refuses to sanction the development of Buah Puala or forbid the developer from removing the villages, what will happen? Obviously the developer will take legal action against the State Government. Is it fair for the Penang taxpayers’ money to be used to fight a long drawn legal battle with the developer? Will it be fair for Penang taxpayers’ money to be used to pay a large financial compensation to the developer should the Penang Government lose the legal contest?
    Should the above happen just because a small group of TOL holders refuses to accept the not unreasonable compensation offered by the developer? Are you suggesting that from now on, all TOL holders should be permitted to continue to live permanenly on TOL land as long as they do not wish to accept the compensation offered by a developer?

    Anil, I hope you can answer the questions I have raised in a specific manner instead of making generalised statements about humanity, traditions etc. While we should be as humanitarian as possible, it does not mean that we should let any particular group of people dicate arrogantly and unfairly to the majority, just because they have the backing of Hindraf, MIC etc. I would be the first to condemn the Penang government if it should try to play to the gallery and win votes by meeting unreasonable demands.

  17. Kepada mani,

    tahukah anda apa itu CAT ?

    C = Competency
    A = Accountability
    T = Transparency

    Dengan tidak mengikuti perintah Mahkamah Persekutuan Malaysia, jangan cerita CAT. Parti DAP dan juga Kerajaan Pulau Pinang sudah jadi macam samseng.

    Sebab itu mereka akur dengan keputusan mahkamah.

    Faham tak Mani?

    C = mahkamah sudah perintah, terpaksa ikut
    A = sudah dapat pampasan yang secukupnya
    T = siapa yang jual tanah dulu, kita sudah tahu

    Sekian.

  18. what else can we do to help kg buah pala. LGE has abandoned this people who has voted for him based on his (colleagues’) promises.

    i guess, on kg buah pala case…..CAT does not exist at all.

    CAT……has no meaning anymore!

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