Guan Eng takes a bold, high-stakes gamble

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Guan Eng’s announcement that he would direct the Penang Munical Council to immediately revoke the development order issued to Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd is a bold and decisive move.

He is finally using the powers of his office to act decisively in the interests of the villagers of Kg Buah Pala.

In this case, the Chief Minister has had to choose whose side the state government would be on come 2 Aug: the people’s or the developer’s. It must have been an agonising choice, as the state government risks being sued.

But if any developer sues the state government, it would effectively be taking on the people of Penang and as Guan Eng vowed, it would be a long and difficult suit.

He has effectively drawn a line in the sand, throwing the state government’s moral backing behind the people of Kampung Buah Pala.

It was a difficult choice but I think it is the wisest move under the circumstances.

For far too long, developers in Penang have ruled the roost and politicians, whether BN or Pakatan, appeared helpless to rein them in. Hopefully, Guan Eng’s decision will put the developers in their place.

For that to happen, the Pakatan government must keep the developers at arm’s length at all times and insist that they follow proper procedures. No lobbying should be allowed. Everything must follow clear guidelines and procedures that protect the interests of the people and the environment.

Much more is at stake than just Kampong Buah Pala. Will Guan Eng’s move usher in a new era in which the state government will put the people’s interest ahead of developers’ profits?

The other big test facing the state government is how it enforces the stop work orders it has issued for the Bolton Surin project in Tanjong Bunga.

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amoker
2 Aug 2009 10.04pm

Guys, they are not squatters le. They were on a piece of land that we given on trust to the Strats settlement and the UMNO/ Tsu Koon has taken advantage by selling it out cheaply.

anna brella
anna brella
30 Jul 2009 2.33am

K: Thank you for your (unexpected) feedback. Since my post was not addressed to you in particular I know I don’t have to respond to your feedback, but I will on this occasion out of respect. And it is up to you to read or ignore what I say here at your own will/volition. You misunderstand my motives. I was not spinning propaganda as you state. What I wrote is based on my personal beliefs, known principles/truths, experiences and known facts about the KBP issue, although I obviously do not know all the historical/current ins and outs of the KBP… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
29 Jul 2009 5.38pm

LGE will only listen if you fight against him! If you were to fight like Kampong Buah Pala instead of the way TBRA or Chee Seng residents, your wish will be granted. Malaysian politicians need to be taught who is the real boss. If you opt to support unreservely you deserve the way they treat you.
Andrew you need to grow up and learn, fight like a man!

Cool Observer
Cool Observer
29 Jul 2009 3.07pm

Looes74 could have a point there! Let’s us not get too worked up. Step back and think objectively. Look at other similar cases elsewhere. It may not be the best option to cling on to an old squatter settlement and obstruct to development. Btw, what is the heritage value of such settlement? The public hardly heard of it before this issue came to light. No one bothers to take a second look at it.

myc
myc
28 Jul 2009 11.26pm

I agree with tan, tanjong bungah that LGE must not just complain and complain about KTK and the previous state govt. If there has been wrong doings by them, why can’t LGE or the state govt sue those fellows, take them to court.

wassup
wassup
28 Jul 2009 2.18pm

right or wrong move from LGE nobody can know but 1 thing that LGE shows is that he is a not a panicky decision maker and that he can make decisions without consulting other “Big Brother’ and last most importantly, he got b….

Anonymous
Anonymous
27 Jul 2009 11.39pm

Anil,
how manu more kampung in penang island and penang mainland in the same shape as kampung buah pala?

umno gerakan too much.

Charlie Oscar
Charlie Oscar
27 Jul 2009 2.21am

Dear Anil, You can ALL blog and comment till the cows come home and it will make no difference to reality. The land DO NOT BELONG to the folks in Kampung Buah Pala (KBP)as judged by the Federal Court. My simpaties to the folks in KBP. It is a real joke to UNESCO to instate KBP a Heritage Site of Squatters and Cow Sheds. The folks of KBP want to continue with their present High Chapparal way of life and livelihoods. Relocate them! Obviously, not on the Island. There would be land in Seberang Prai suitable for High Chapparal. If… Read more »

hindi
hindi
27 Jul 2009 1.48am

Rajan, if what you said is really true, hindraf is really sick.

Rajan
Rajan
26 Jul 2009 11.59pm

Some SMS floating around that a reporter is flying off to Paris to meet Wayne Moorthy. There, they will (allegedly) demand to UNESCO to delist George Town from the Heritage Listing if Kampung Buah Pala were to be demolished. If this is true, we then know that Hindraf is being very very selfish.

K
K
26 Jul 2009 11.54pm

anna brella The kind of propaganda that you spin is very unhelpful in solving the issue. FYI the residents never agreed with LGE. It is just that some of the residents have (allegedly) been compromised to appear in a press conference to give a false impression to the public as a part of LGE’s propaganda tactics. Just read the press statement by the residents today. If there was an element of fraud in the land transactions, then LGE has all the right to stop the deal. But the fact is that he has neither proven this fact nor he’s prepared… Read more »

uncle buck
uncle buck
26 Jul 2009 10.42pm

dear shamsul,
maybe it will be a good idea if we elect a cm like koh tsu koon and his deputy from umno who got us to this mess in the first palace.

anna brella
anna brella
26 Jul 2009 10.42pm

Good first Penang-CAT-like move! In my view/opinion: Both CM LGE and the residents of KBP have made the right move to work together and make a principled stand for the good/just common interests of both. That wisdom and cooperation is encouraging. However, I don’t see the issue as CM LGE taking any sides as I don’t think it is part of a government’s or its Head’s remit to “take sides” against any of that government’s constituent stakeholders. The government’s job is to operate on a best practice basis and unerringly apply the principles of a just Rule of Law to… Read more »

K
K
26 Jul 2009 10.36pm

Eagle eye is correct. This is just a charade by LGE to show that he’s doing something dramatic since the stakes have been raised several notches higher with the recent introduction by MIC Youth. The Pakatan govt of Penang especially LGE and Prof Rama have been savaged in the Tamil press for their inaction and inability to help. Their credibility has been completely destroyed and this also affected Pakatan’s standing with the Indian community. This pathetic and meaningless action by LGE just a diversion tactic that will NOT save the village. People also become wary of LGE and DAP’s propaganda… Read more »

Shamsul Iskandar
Shamsul Iskandar
26 Jul 2009 9.26pm

Guan Eng is an idiot and not fit to be a CM. This is what happens when you pick some(one) like Guan Eng to be a CM. The next thing you know, the whole state will be bankrupt and penang citizens would not even have water to drink. He should go back to… melaka.

ganapathy ramasamy
ganapathy ramasamy
26 Jul 2009 9.11pm

I am not sure whether LGE’s move is a right one. Leaving aside the uncertainties arising from litigation that is to follow, the State needs to do some hard thinking. What do you see for the future of the land in question. Some of the descendants are cowherds and wish to carry on with their trade. There is no guarantee the future residents would want to continue their trade as they live in the urban setting where jobs are aplenty. Apart from a few cattle owners the rest will have to look for employment elsewhere. The neighbours are not going… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
26 Jul 2009 8.21pm
sang kancil
sang kancil
26 Jul 2009 8.08pm

I think it is a very difficult decison for LGE to take. He knows that either way he will be criticise. I sincerely hope the outcome is a compromised and satisfactory for most of the parties involved. It is afact that you cannot please EVERYBODY. Life is UNFAIR at best of times and ……….

looes74
looes74
26 Jul 2009 7.00pm

Anil, By the way, just like the High Chapparal folks, the squarters in Toa Payoh screamed at LKY & HDB effort of levelling the entire squarter area. It’s Hurdreds of High Chapparals…Plus, One considerable large Orchard farm in Whampoa, opposite of Toa Payoh was bulldozed. Sqaurters given the chance to purchase flats at discounted prices. 30 years later, the flats risen in asset value. 1200 square feet flat cost S$450K to S$600K. One unit! Those folks are smilling. Kids sent overseas for studies. I got to get a loan to study in UK. My counterparts in Singapore was given cash.… Read more »

looes74
looes74
26 Jul 2009 6.50pm

Anil, Well, I don’t think that it’s a high stack gamble. More of a calculated risk. Remember, Anil, IT’S ECONOMIC STUPID! By the way, I would not be surprised that developer together with the respective parties including the FRU would come in bulldoze the land. LGE’s action only prevent the developer from laying one brick in High Chapparal & not demolishing it. I do hope that LGE would have contingency plans of relocating these villagers before 3rd of August. Perhaps, the third way would come true. Numentero would be task to build LGE’s first high rise Public housing Just like… Read more »

LBJ
LBJ
26 Jul 2009 6.22pm

Let the developers sue. They and their families shall be shamed. Their lives shall be made miserable. They would wish they have never been born.

wisdom23
wisdom23
26 Jul 2009 6.20pm

Despite the arrogant shown by the villagers and the so called ‘good samaritan’ Hindraf, State Govt still continue to help them. Though goodwill shown by the State Govt but I don’t quite agree with the action.

Firstly, most of the villagers don’t deserve it, despite many claims promised by PR ADUN. Secondly, financially it’s too great a risk to take for the sake of whole Penangites.

eagle-eye
eagle-eye
26 Jul 2009 6.11pm

This is neither a solution nor a good decision. The CM’s power is not absolute and cannot be exercised arbitrarily. Administrative decisions must be fair and reasonable. On the face of it LGE’s order seems to be in bad faith and looks unfair and oppressive to the developer. What is the basis for his order. Looks like its just a disply of might. Administrative decisions are justiciable. If the courts can look into the Perak State Assembly proceedings (which they cannot do) and over-rule the Speaker, how long will it take them to overturn LGE’s decision. If the developer compromises… Read more »

tony
tony
26 Jul 2009 5.42pm

very good mr lim guan eng, pls stop all development on all projects involving squatters or desecendents of people who stays more than onee or two hundred years. By the way are the residents direct decendents of the original settlers, was there any investigations taken??????????????

Jong
Jong
26 Jul 2009 4.42pm

Why did the MIC approach Lim Guan Eng and Penang State Govt to buy up the land when the land no longer belongs to the government but the Developer(thanks to Koh Tsu Koon for his contribution!)? Samy Value, his MIC and their dirty politics again, ade duit kah? Or just want to ridicule the PR State government? Whatever, dirty politics needs pakai otak and play smart. How difficult was it when they could have easily got the residents of Kampong Buah Pala down on the knees and be eternally grateful to MIC, had Samy Value and MIC carted the RM3.2… Read more »