“Those whose property is not acquired but nevertheless are affected by the PORR [Penang Outer Ring Road] project with drop in prices of their property and the consequent noise and pollution which will be a result of the project should also be compensated,” said Karpal Singh in a press statement 16 years ago.
The legendary lawyer and opposition politician no doubt had the residents’ best interests at heart, back then.
This was the Malaysiakini report on 24 May 2002:
PORR: Compensate owners of devalued properties, says Karpal
Yap Mun Ching
24 May 2002, 9:20 am (Updated 29 Jan 2008, 6:21 pm)
The Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) concessionaire should compensate house owners whose property value is affected by the road alignment, said DAP deputy chairperson Karpal Singh today.
“Those whose property is not acquired but nevertheless are affected by the PORR project with drop in prices of their property and the consequent noise and pollution which will be a result of the project should also be compensated,” said the opposition leader in a press statement.
The controversial road project, unveiled last Saturday by the Malaysian Highway Authority, will require the acquisition of private land, temples, holy shrines and graves for its construction.
The 17km long highway will also pass through residential neighbourhoods where property value is expected to drop by 10 to 30 percent because of the air and noise pollution.
Karpal said although the Land Acquisition Act allows for the state to acquire private land for public use, other considerations have to be made in this case because the project concessionaire is a private corporation.
“Private interests should not be lightly interfered with when it is private corporations for which the state acquires land for a public purpose,” he said.
Karpal said the concessionaire, Peninsular Metro Works Sdn Bhd, should pay compensation to owners of affected property based on the rulings of the Court of Appeal which said people have the right to live in a reasonably healthy and pollution free environment.
“The concessionaire of PORR should seek legal advice before proceeding with the project in view of what the Court of Appeal has said in relation to the word ‘life’ to include the right to live in a reasonably healthy and pollution-free environment which PORR will certainly fall foul of,” said Karpal who was the member of parliament for Jelutong, Penang, between 1982 and 1999.
The PORR issue has been a hot topic in the northern state in recent months and anxiety has been mounting due to the uncertainty of its alignment and toll charges.
Details of the project announced last week revealed that 76 houses, five shophouses, three temples, five shrines, two horse stables, over 30 squatter houses and more than 50 graves will be affected.
Last Monday, Penang Deputy Chief Minister Hilmi Yahya said that the toll charges for the highway has been fixed at RM1.