by Opalyn Mok, the sun.com
GEORGE TOWN (Aug 02, 2009): On the eve of a scheduled demolition of Kampung Buah Pala, the villagers hosted a cultural festival featuring a bullfight.
few thousand people gathered in the village, also known as High
Chaparral, to perform prayers, traditional ceremonies, music and dance,
and watch contests like greased pole-climbing.
The villagers had met
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Saturday and agreed to consider
moving to a site adjacent to their village as an intact heritage
community, pending a detailed proposal from the developer.
Buah Pala Residents Association chairman M. Sugumaran said: "Thousands
of supporters are expected to be gathered here tomorrow (Monday) to
stop the developer (Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd) from demolishing the
village. The supporters will stay here for a week.
"All of us
have taken leave from work and we will all remain in the village for
the whole week to stop the developers from moving in to demolish our
On the day-long cultural festival, Sugumaran said it
was aimed at raising awareness and showcasing the traditional Indian
culture that "is still very alive in the century-old village".
The High Chaparral bullfight.. Villagers of Kampung Buah Pala
celebrate a cultural festival on the day of thier eviction dead line
today. A few thousand people gathered at the village to
participate in prayer, traditional ceremonies, musisc and dance
and watch games like a greased pole climbing contest.
17 to Aug 17 is also a religious month for Hindus with various
religious events to be held in temples. That's why we organised this
festival during this holy period so that we can also conduct prayers,"
On the villagers' meeting withLim, he said: "The chief
minister has promised to let us share the 2.6ha plot with the
developer. Now, the state government is discussing this with the
developer. So, even if tomorrow is the deadline for us to move out, we
will stay put."
Lim had said the state government would revoke
the development order for the project if Nusmetro Ventures went ahead
with its threat to bulldoze the village today.
had won a court order to obtain vacant possession of the land without
needing to pay the villagers any compensation.
To date, they
have said they would not give the villagers any more compensation and
have threatened to sue the state government for RM105 million if the
state government revoked the development order.
The Penang Government Officers Cooperative, the owner of the land, remains firm in its decision to demolish the houses tomorrow.
quoted cooperative chairman Abdul Razak Mansor as saying Nusmetro
Ventures had been instructed to to obey the Federal Court decision
granting ownership of the land to the cooperative.
"We are not
cruel, but our decision to demolish the village still stands because
the court has decided the land is ours," he said.
said any talks regarding relocating residents within the area as
suggested by Lim would only be done after the houses were demolished.
cooperative will not entertain any requests from the state government
to negotiate the matter until the houses are torn down," he said.
"Discussions on whether residents can stay in part of the land will also be carried out once the area is vacated."
Monday August 3, 2009
Kg Buah Pala folk getting prepared for any eventuality
By WINNIE YEOH
TOWN: Kampung Buah Pala villagers have taken a week off from work to
keep watch over their village which is slated for demolition today. The
village residents’ association chairman, M. Sugumaran, believes
thousands of non-governmental organisation (NGO) members would also
turn up to show their support for the villagers. “We don’t know
whether the developer — Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd — will come to
tear down our houses but we are prepared for any eventuality,” he said. Sugumaran
was speaking to reporters during a heritage celebration at the village
yesterday to create public awareness on Indian culture. He said the
celebration was held now as August was an auspicious month for Hindus. He said negotiations on the future of the village was still ongoing between the state government and developer. “Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has promised to keep us here but we don’t know how is he going to do that,” he added. Residents’
association assistant secretary C. Thamaraj, who said the government
had made verbal promises to preserve the village, added: “We hope at
least half of the village will be spared from demolition.” “If
Lim can save the village, he’s a hero, otherwise, he’s a zero,” he
said, adding that he had asked the state government to come up with a
concrete plan. He insisted that the state could invoke Section 116 of the National Land Code to prevent the demolition of the village. “All
of us are prepared to face whatever comes tomorrow (today) but we still
believe something good will happen. We’re suffering each day.” He expressed hope that the developer would not move in today as negotiations were still ongoing. It
was reported yesterday that the residents had agreed to a state
government’s proposal to share the 2.6ha plot with the developer. Lim
had said the state government would revoke the development approval for
the apartment project if the developer went ahead and demolished the
houses today. He also said he would try to meet with the developer to convey what was agreed upon at the meeting. When contacted, Nusmetro director Gary Ho refused to comment on whether the demolition would take place today.