Dark clouds of uncertainty have descended on another established community in Penang that is set to be displaced – this time by a 30-acre project in Pepper Estate to be undertaken by a “lifestyle property developer”.
The eviction notices delivered to residents in this community in northeast Penang bore the masthead of legal firm Kevin and Co, who are acting on behalf of their client, Beverley Heights Properties Sdn Bhd.
According to one of the eviction notices dated 16 April 2014, the compensation offered is RM25000 cash to each house or a RM30000 discount on the price of a low-cost flat the developer is supposed to build. There was no mention of the location of these flats nor the actual selling price.
The residents have been given 14 days to accept the compensation offer and to notify the lawyers of their intention to deliver vacant possession, failing which legal action would be taken to evict the residents.
BHP, which bought the land from the Lim Estate on 23 May 2012, entered into a joint venture agreement with Singapore firm Oxley Star Sdn Bhd, a whole owned subsidiary of Oxley Holdings Limited of Singapore, on 21 June 2013.
Residents have been made to understand that BHP is the developer. But the Singapore Business Review reported that Oxley Star had been granted “the absolute, exclusive and irrevocable authority, power and right in, over and to the development of the land owned by BHP” under the joint venture agreement.
This development is bound to cause unease and anxious moments for the 300 households in the community who are suddenly facing an uncertain future. But there is still a lot the local authorities can do to protect the interests of the community by closely studying the development plans for the area, especially the housing needs of the existing settlers.