Resolve Pg church settlers’ issue fairly

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The Church needs to do something fast to resolve the issue of the settlers near the St Francis Xavier Church along Penang Road with fairness and compassion.

The controversy, involving the settler-descendants of church workers and their families, should be of pastoral concern to the church. Resorting to church lawyers instead of persevering with face-to-face discussions and negotiations to deal with the settlers suggests that something is not quite right.

When I wrote about the issue last year I received some flak (directly and through the grape vine) from certain quarters within the church, the thrust of which was that I did not know the real background to the issue from the church’s perspective etc etc (although I had spoken at length with the residents). I was duly briefed on what the church thought of the residents.

As far as the church is concerned, the residents have relatives or children elsewhere who can look after them. See this Youtube clip for the official position:

One thing I realised was that communications between the residents and the church leaders appeared to have broken down. How did a little Catholic community living just next door to a church for decades grow increasingly estranged?

Anyway, I held my silence since then – despite phone calls from the residents’ spokesperson pleading that I do something to assist them. Now, another notice of eviction has been issued. And the other day I got a worried phone call from a long-time human rights activist, a Catholic, in KL telling me that her elderly aunt was among those worried about the future of her home there. I tried to phone the Bishop just now to find out the latest development, but couldn’t get through.

A couple more media reports have also surfaced. If this issue continues to fester, we are going to get more reports like this one ‘Unkind, uncaring, un-Christian’ published by Free Malaysia Today, which may not be entirely accurate. For instance, we were told last year that the land in question had not been sold to a developer or third party – contrary to what the report suggests.

Meanwhile, should we just pretend that this ‘inconvenient’ problem doesn’t exist or hope that it will somehow just go away? I think it’s in the best interest of the church – and the settlers – to reach a fair and just resolution to this issue. For that to happen, face-to-face discussions and a just settlement are necessary.

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wira

A 3% vote swing in Penang may still see PR return to power in Penang.

However, a 3% vote swing in Malaysia will see BN reps sitting at the opposition benches in parliament for the first time in history provided Najib does not hang on to his job in Putra Jaya at all costs.

kee

Gong Ah Soon always uses Anil’s site to promote his own blog.

This guy really has no shame !!! Chinese said coffin’s thick of skin !!!

DAP = UMNO

If Ah Soon has no shame, what do you have?

Ong Eu Soon

You guy never learn, still think that DAP is invincible in Penang. All I need to do is to ensure that there is a 3% swing od votes to oust LGe from office. You can have 85% of chinese votes, but the best you can get is 25 parliamentary seats with no Penang state government. That is not hard to do at all. Try me and pay for it!

SamG

Anil, before you give a BLANK CHEQUE support to the residents there, please see what they are doing there.
Some of them use the Church compound as illegal carpark and make a quick buck every night, from the patrons of the pubs and eateries around.
This is one of the many reasons
So all those arm-chair critics, go there and see for yourself before shoot your mouth off.

wira

My personal feeling is that it is not right for anyone to take advantage of charity to the extend of killing successive charitable programs for the community.

The original charity was granted to the church workers.
However, I believe the church now has to deal with the descendants, God knows to which generation and to which branch of family.

Anyway, instead of getting the law to resolve this, I believe the church should fast and pray for God’s will and intervention in this.
Christians should have faith in their prayers.

Jong

hmmm, so they are ‘kaki’ stock market eh? Good Lord, in the name of the Church those greedy … are going to market!

kee

First of all, Ah Soon ah, if u didnt submit in as a councillor, your reputation is all gone, i mean if you do have in the first place. Hello Ah Soon, this is a church issue la… Why for all the ugly thing you must drag DAP or Lim Guan Eng in huh??? The Bible does say that things pertaining to believers, the believers should resolved the conflicts within themselves. So, for your information, this is not Kg Buah Pala issue, but it is strictly between the settlers and the Church, understand? The church is taking the land back… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Forced evictions are usually illegal under international law, yet they are increasingly routine for many governments, assisted by international institutions. Rather than helping governments justify evictions by tinkering with relocation policies, institutions need to steer governments towards true ‘voluntarism’. Development projects need to ‘sell’ themselves to the poor, not convince them to ‘move out of the way’, and any project that can’t is probably doomed to failure already. (KERWIN DATU)

kingkong

yes – go and sue the Pope… and archbishop… Go and complain to UH Human Rights, armistic and pope and his abuses to penang people. Simple as abc if they break international laws.

DAP = UMNO

Other than your personal attacks against Mr. Ong, what else can you do?

kingkong

Penang is not like middle east where the Palestinians claim the land they are residing are theirs. That it would be forced evictions. Here someone is staying in a land belongs to someone else BUT FOR A LONG time.

It is compassionate if both the church, parishers and the state can all share and do someting as to provide a roof over the heads. BUT, people living in rich areas are just screaming about the cheap minister is pakating with developers. So no more building of houses will be the better solution?

Yang

When a notice of eviction has been given it means that it is being done within the context of the law and as such it should not be considered as forced eviction. If eviction within the context of the law and Constitution are considered as forced eviction and violation of human rights, what about the owners rights who have abided within the law. Then this so called human rights is really a farce.

Ong Eu Soon

Talk nonsense!You should read my article on Lim Guan Eng must respect International Treaties on Forced Eviction at http://eusoon.blogspot.com/2010/08/lim-guan-eng-and-international-treaties.html

Ong Eu Soon

Here we have a problem, we don’t even know what rights we have under the sun. The church itself is totally ignorant about international treaties on forced evictions. It show no respect to basic human rights. The bishop didn’t know that the church is oblige to make sure that the rights of residents on freedom from forced evictions are not violated.
The state government should step in to provide all the necessary help to stop the forced eviction.

DAP = UMNO

Sorry.

It isn’t the “CHURCH” per se.

The “CHURCH” has nothing to do with the force eviction.

It is the work of the group of greedy sinners, who happened to hold important position inside (unfortunately), the CHURCH.

Ong Eu Soon

The international community has long recognized that the issue of forced evictions is a serious one. The practice of forced eviction — the involuntary removal of persons, families and groups from their homes and communities — exacerbates global problems of inadequate housing and homelessness. Forced evictions are human rights violations! Reinforcing the right to housing and freedom from forced evictions are universal human rights standards defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW, the International Covenants and other widely adhered to international human rights treaties and Declarations — powerful tools that must be put to use in realizing the… Read more »

Jong

Where’s the Christian heart, huh that you so proudly preach every sundays and especially so Christmas time, Rev Bishop?

DAP = UMNO

Unfortunately, the “Christian Heart” is no where to be found among those high-ranking clergy.

They have too much power and and all they care is to find wayt to make more money…

kingkong

Very quiet here. no comments from those oppose development. So where are those people going to stay? What happen if the church has noble aims – build a training centre for drug addicts or kereta jagas to teach them to fish. But the church cannot do anything because many here opposed development?

DAP = UMNO

It is not that there is no comment from those oppose to the development.

It is that Anil Netto has censored all my messages.

Yang

Sometime we have to understand and realise that something that do not belong to us and that we are on somebody place which will not be indefinite then we will have to move on.

DAP = UMNO

Sometimes we have to understand that something that belongs to the CHURCH belongs to God, and not the bishop.

kee

Anil, thanks for your efforts of helping the residents.

Need to find out is it true that the residents have children elsewhere that can take care of them – relatives not counted la.

Really a hard case – sometimes people do take advantage of the kindness of church.

Now, i think of Kg Buah Pala’s folk are really lucky to have Lim Guan Eng negotiated a double storey terrace house for them.

I trust that the Catholic Church will do the right thing for the residents.

DG

People are NOT saints even people working for the church. They think what they are doing is right but they never are. Why ?
Simple litmus test.
Would God kick this people out ?
The answer is “NO”
He would find a way to resolve the matter Win -Win
God loves his people, how can kicking this people out to build a center for drug addicts be GOD’s PLAN.

I suggest that the person that made this decision to PRAY for Enlightenment from God. For this person really needs it.Seek and you shall find it. The answer….

DAP = UMNO

The matter of fact is this, no matter how much prayers those greedy sinners do, it will still not be enough.

And you know why?

Some 2000 years ago, a guy from the Middle East had already hinted that one prayer with true heart is worth much MUCH more than all the fake prayers with sinful intentions put together.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

I don’t know about the background of this issue, but nonetheless, I hope the Church authorities would empathise with these settlers who are in fact part of the church group. Do give them whatever assistance necessary even though admittedly the land does not belong to them!

Lucia Lai

Much of what had been written in FMT were not accurate at all. e.g. the Bakery and Cafe are not business entity for the church to made money. they are part of the ‘human development’ plan. they are training and rehabilitation centres for street people and ex drug addicts. http://www.ucanews.com/2010/04/20/church-run-bakery-and-cafe-transform-lives/ What will the face to face discussion/meet come to? Who knows earlier that had already happened. Will now the face to face discussion meant the Church will allow the residents to stay on? Somebody once so aptly commented in your blog “If the land does not belongs to you, anytime… Read more »

Lucia Lai

it is not fair to compare with the orang asli and their forest. anyway who owns the forest? it not the orang asli, it’s nobody else too! the settlers are part of the christian community, has been all along and will be forever. wherever the settlers are, they will be part of the larger christian community. doesn’t mean they move out of the land, that they are no longer part of the christian community. anyway anil, i know where you stand and why, so i just leave it like that… you have your views and i have my views. i… Read more »

DAP = UMNO

Lucia,

I must congratulate you for your courage to speak up.

Especially because of by speaking up you run the risk of being sacked from your current job !