Buah Pala residents agree in principle, but…

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In the confusion that surrounds the Kg Buah Pala crisis, a different version of events over the last 24 hours has emerged.

About 80 per cent of the villagers participated in a meeting last night along with several activists. The villagers are understandably upset – there is a strong sense that they have experienced a grave injustice.
The meeting was witnessed by Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who revealed some of the villagers’ main reservations over the developer’s offer.

According to him, the villagers have agreed in principle to the developer’s proposal – but subject to further fleshing out and clarification to ensure they are given a decent deal that protects their interests.

They are willing to dialogue and negotiate further with the developer and the state government on these points.

  • Their main reservation centres on the number of houses: 24 terrace houses is simply not going to be enough given that there are over 40 families (though not as high as the 60-odd families mentioned by some villagers). So they need more than 24 terrace houses.

  • They are also asking for temporary rental reimbursement for each family of about RM1,200/month until the houses are ready.
  • They want the offer to be made in a proper legal document to each family, which is enforceable with details such as the housing specs and delivery date (two years?) shown.
  • They also need to know what happens if Nusmetro goes bankrupt or turns into a shell company or is unable to complete the project. What happens if the company doesn’t get all the necessary approvals? Will the state government stand as guarantor or could there be another mechanism to protect their interests? This should not be impossible to accommodate.
  • Some alternative grazing land provided for their cows.

Now, if for some reason the developer is unable to accommodate some of these points, the villagers are urging the state government to allow them to use the 2.4 acres of adjacent land, which is state reserve land. This could be divided into 24 lots (a similar number to the existing lots in the village) and the money that the developer was going to use to build the 24 terrace houses could be given to the villagers to build their own homes.

The state government, however, appears to be reluctant to allow this for fear that it would set a precedent – a fear that may be legitimate.

But what sets this case apart are the alleged elements of fraud in this particular deal – several MACC reports have been lodged. The state government could cite these as extraordinary circumstances that deserve an extraordinary solution – a real win-win solution.

If the Penang government is really interested in seeing justice done and the villagers’ interests protected, then it should seriously look into these reservations to ensure that an acceptable and just settlement is reached.

The residents agreed that Jeyakumar would convey these reservations and recommendations to the state government for it to consider. This he has done: this morning, he submitted a letter containing some of these points to the Chief Minister (Guan Eng was not in, so the letter was passed to his office) and personally to Deputy CM Ramasamy.

All is not lost if the state government could only look at the issue from the lens of the villagers and really understand their fears and insecurities. Few outsiders can feel their anguish at being wrenched apart from the land they have called home for generations – and all because of a land grab under dubious circumstances.

“They must be given a decent deal,” says Jeyakumar. “There are so many different people saying different things. I would take last night’s meeting, which was well attended, as reflecting what the villagers want.”

The above need not be seen as absolute demands but as the starting point or building blocks for further negotiations to arrive at a more just solution.

Meanwhile, the developer should be told once again that if there is forced eviction/demolition, the state government would stick to its pledge of revoking the development order.

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daniel

A lecturer tell this before. Who is the smartest President of USA? Who is the most stupid President of USA? The answer can be found below. The hijack of USA plane by Iran or Iraq (not sure which one) in the days of President Jimmy Carter and Reynold Reagen. President Jimmy was too smart and seeing 21 angles of a problem. He eventually failed in his negotiations of the hijackers and the US citizens under hostages. Reagen was newly elected at that time. He could not see anything from other angles. He gave ultimatum to the hijackers to release all… Read more »

Morning Dew

Jane, if you had been following Anil’s revelation on this issue you would have read the documents that he and others had found. LGE himself after the revelation of the documents had stated publicly that there was element of fraud involved and I think, I stand corrected on this, that he had also, through his colleagues, made a report with MACC. Todate there were no document to show that the land was ever transferred to the penang state government. If the penang state government do not own the land how could they enter into a contract (giving 99 year lease)… Read more »

Jane

Morning Dew, can you elaborate on the process of how the land was GIVEN to the villagers? Were there documents to this effect?
Also, what is the right practice to transfer responsibility over the land held by the federal land commissioner to the state govt?

Air Batu Campur (clone)

yifan wrote:

Come on, LGE, we know you can do way much better than KTK. Talk more to the villagers, the solutions are out there.

My comment: The more LGE talks with the ‘Federal Court confirmed illegal squatters’, then the ‘Federal Court confirmed illegal squatters’ will ask more even more. From 24 families expanded to 100, then 200, then 300!

Why? You and I also joined and wanted a share of RM500 000 terrace house!

Air Batu Campur (clone)

yifan wrote: Supposed you can’t handle these 24 families (no matter how … greedy or uneducated they are…., as claimed by some) staying within several miles from KOMTAR, then you are nothing much better than the previous BN folks. How to handle limit-less greed? From 24 familiies can be extended to nearly 100 families. This is outright ridiculous. Asking for RM1200 monthly rental? You must be crazy. In kepong (KL you know, the capital of Malaysia) the rental for 4 full-sized rooms + full-sized kitchen + a big living hall just for RM600. In some place such as in Selangor… Read more »

Morning Dew

Crash, the land was GIVEN to the villagers BUT HELD IN TRUST by the federal government. This basically meant that the SETTLERS OWN THE LAND.

At some point the federal government should divi up the land and issue the appropriate land title.

kakipulau

There is obviously, no quick fix solution to the problem of KBP. Considering that the offer of homes appears not to match the number of families who prefer not to move out of the area and the fact that they have been engaged in the economic activity of rearing cows, that is of economic benefit to the state, the concerns of these villagers are valid. The question of legality and illegality of the land deal with the developer now appears to be secondary, since the position of the State Government is one of damage control rather than insistence on the… Read more »

yifan

The first person who reply in this thread, Air Batu Campur – he keeps mentioning “Rule of Law”, does he ever understand what does it mean? The KBP case in every essence a classic example where the spirits of rule of law has been breached by the developer and the previos state government. Rule of law is NOT following laws, far from it. If the law is draconian, or the law is made in dubious condition, then if people still abide to such laws, it simply means we are just tame and stupid (and our) rights always get (crushed) by… Read more »

Reflections

The antics of these villagers instigated by the likes of MIC and Gerakan Youth are dissipating the reservoir of sympathies that Penangites have for them.

The offer on the table is probably the best that they can hope for given that all legal avenues have already been exhausted thanks to the actions of Koh Tsu Koon in legalising the land grab.

It is time for the villagers to get real and to stop being manipulated by others.

sam

Ken, thanks for the comment. I just want some understanding here …. —————————————————– “It did not require the approval of the state exco. It was done by civil servants” —————————————————– So, the “civil servants” caused it ? who is their employer ? …. just because LGEs staff screwed up… doesn’t mean LGE is not at fault, RESPONSIBILITY !!!!. LGE is stuck by his own doings. He could have rounded all the civil servants involved and give them a kick but we know what will happen after that. The civil servants will sabotage the State Government. But again ..hey.. LGE.. you… Read more »

Angela Ooi

Enough is enough, if Penang State is still under the BN govt, I know this case would not have dragged on and blown way up.
BN would have ensured the police and the bulldozers take the villagers out and flattened the land for their next lucrative project. Poor LGE/Pakatan has to stomach all this blame…

OOI

I think the villagers are too greedy.I am totally disgusted by their action.How many people in Penang can actually afford a double storey terrace house.The state government already done their best to give them the best deal ever.If they are still stubborn.What ever will happen to them,I can only say SERVE THEM RIGHT.i AM NOT THE ONLY ONE THINKING THIS WAY.ALL THE PEOPLE I TALKED SHARED THE SAME VIEW.

K

It certainly qualifies for the Joke of the Year to say that LGE’s a victim here. It is plain that LGE (appears to be) one of the guilty party, and certainly at least to me he looks more guilty that the loser KTK. If KTK was the prosecutor then LGE played the part of the jury and the excecutioner. To claim that LGE inherited this mess and we should absolve him of the blame is akin to NOT asking Najib to reform the police, judiciary,ISA, corruption,the economy and repressive laws but keep blaming Dr M for it since he was… Read more »

Warrior 231

Appetiser A while back, LGE kept bragging in the papers about the DAP coralling 10.7billion in investment funds for 2008. I hopped over to the MITI site to check on the veracity of these claims. True enough, 10.7 was emblazoned in their reports but interestingly when analysing the figures, I noted that RM4.7 billion was garnered in the 1st quarter of 2008 (January-March), a period when KTK under BN was in charge: In terms of investments, Sarawak registered the highest level of totalinvestments approved, valued at RM13 billion or 57.5 per cent. Other states with high levels of investments were:… Read more »

looes74

People, I have been repeating over & over again. IT’S ECONOMY. Most Penangites are pissed off with KBP because of the high possibility of Penang state government saddled with lawsuits which leads to huge sum of money paid out of State’s coffer Well, even if you can agree to Anil’s or some smartalec explanations that certain things can be done to give back the land to KBP without paying a single cent, judging from the current judiciary system, you think Penang state government would win if LGE accedes to Anil’s recommendation. One simple analogy would be this: One got to… Read more »

karma

Let us be fair to all. The damage has already been done. Just accept what is best offered to you now. Don’t demand too much. It is not the mistake of the present state government. The former state minister has ‘cuci tangan’. How to respect him. He wanted more Indians to be in Gerakan. I suggest you Indians just ignore them. A strong MIC is good for BN but MIC is sinking. There were no smart Indians in the previous state government. I scratch your back, you scratch mine was the modus operandi then. Those who benefited most were those… Read more »

crash

Hello fellow Malaysian Until today, you guys are still arguing about that the land deal is illegal. That the crown-trust to federal and state have no right to sell to the said developer and so on. For what? Whoever sell to who it is still not yours. You all just keep saying that the state shouldn’t sell to the developer especially with such a cheapo price. That it is a fraud and etc, but hey! why is that an issure if the villagers did not own the land at the first place? can you talk talk never walk just tell… Read more »

Yeoh P.L.

The Staet Govt allocate a piece of land, (2.4 acres + build the required nbr og houses + a barn for the livestock)). MIC pays for it and the sympatisers collect some donations and put it in some trust fund for each family to be disbursed monthly for some period of time.

nkkhoo

Ken August 8th, 2009 at 6.02pm Sam, The land deal was already signed and sealed when the Pakatan took over. The issue of the land title after the final payment was an administrative matter. It did not require the approval of the state exco. It was done by civil servants. Even if the PR govt knew about it, it is doubtful they can stop it. === Any government believes in accountability and transparancy will withhold the dubious land deal until a full investigation is completed. State government under LGE shall facing the developer fearlessly IF LGE believes previous state government… Read more »

Peter

Sam said this: “Upon PAKATAN formed State government on 8/3/08, The Malaysia Land Title was issued to Cooperative on 27/3/2008 after premium RM 2.24 Million was paid on 14/3/2008 to the present PAKATAN Government. The Malaysian Title was issued to Cooperative within 19days PAKATAN became the State Government which extinguished the Villagers rights on the Land under the Lot 698 of CrownTrust Strait Settlements and (undermined their case) in Court of Law ! THIS IS THE EXACTLY THE QUESTION THAT IS TROUBLING ME! IS LGE DUTIBOUND TO ACCEPT THE LASR PREMIUM AND THEREBY TRANSFERRING THE LAND TITLE? THIS IS THE… Read more »

Peter

jj,
you are spot on.
Accept the deal and move on.
The stae is wasting so much time on this unending issue.
The longer it drags on, the less sympathatic the people are to the villagers’ cause!!!

Pala Richie

I think LGE has to play hard-ball form now on, learn from Samy how he deal with Maica. Play hard ball, real hard, maybe go ahead bulldozed … and go oversea vacation for 2 months. I think issue can easily solved then, they will call him, cry over the phone, beg for help and maybe settle with a cheap flat. You see, these people bow on hard forces, they knee on bad-guy. If you try to be nice…. By now you should know, how and why Samy can hang on to power loger than Mahathir…

dan

An illegal deal is an illegal deal. It doesn’t matter when the deal is performed, or whether there is a payment schedule to follow, or if the final payment has already been made. It is still an illegal deal. Even if it means the final payment has already been made. The previous state government can still be sued, even if all the sum agreed in the illegal agreement has been paid. It’s already illegal in the first place anyway. The land originally belonged to the Federal Government. Why didn’t the Federal Government sue the previous state administration for selling off… Read more »

Rajan

As said, I am out of the kampung. While you guys enjoy debating about the transaction, I will hopefully enjoy better days ahead from the … that sold away our rights. Again, I am now ex owner of one plot number. Adios Thamaraj and all. Life is better than listening to this rambling. Anil – I will be off line soon. So god help the rest – if you have not left, see you soon okay?

CannotImagine

First of all .. u get a double storey terrace house in penang .. that will at least worth mroe than 250k .. In Selangor, our squatter house demolished during BN Toyo and all we have is a flat and we still need to pay for the rental for the flat .. From what I see, the state gov tryng their best to help the people in buah pala .. and the last offer is indeed very good .. I will say , LGE ..if the Buah Pala residnent reject the offer .. then is time for you to move… Read more »