Kg Tanjung Tokong villagers are appealing to Prime Minister Najib Razak to fulfil his father’s promise for their village.
During a visit to the village in 1972 accompanied by Dr Lim Chong Eu, then premier Abdul Razak told villagers that he understood that they were “not the owners of the land” but only “temporary residents” of the 200-year-old settlement. Nevertheless, he was reported as saying, the government planned to make them settle there permanently.
The late Razak said the government had plans to improve the village and provide its residents with better living conditions.
But more than a quarter century later, Uda Holdings, owned by Khazanah, has declared the villagers to be “setinggan” or “squatters”.
The villagers are now appealing to Najib, who also heads the Finance Ministry, which owns Khazanah, to get Uda to return to his father’s original vision for the village and to live up to Uda’s social responsibility, says Mohd Salleh Yahaya, head of the Kg Tanjung Tokong residents’ association.
Improving the village, he adds, does not mean demolishing its houses, but rather improving the historical settlement with better amenities as Razak had envisioned. Development, asserts Salleh, has to blend the modern with the traditional.