Friday, July 24, 2009

Athi Shankar
Jul 23, 09

Ten people were arrested when a peaceful 'Save Kampung Buah Pala' march was about to begin in George Town was this morning.

They were all wearing range t-shirts with the words 'Save Kampung Buah Pala' emblazoned on the front and back.

A group of residents and their sympathisers, including MIC youth members, were about to begin a peaceful march at 10.15am from a Hindu temple in Jalan Datuk Keraman to the Chief Minister's Office.

Police swiftly moved in and arrested several of them before they could start their march to the Chief Minister's office in Komtar.

MIC Youth wing national coordinator T Mohan was among those arrested when he questioned the police for detaining a resident, who was distributing 'Save Kg Buah Pala' t-shirts at nearby temple.

"The police were rude and very aggressive towards us... they were rough when handcuffing us, my hands were injured," said Mohan.

He said he would be lodging a report against the officer who had arrested him.

Mohan was to lead the march to meet with Lim Guan Eng at 11am today to handover a memorandum asking the state government to sell the last remaining Indian traditional village to MIC so that it can be returned to the residents.

Detained for marching without a police permit

Besides Mohan (below), five other MIC youth members and two residents from Kampung Buah Pala were also arrested.

MIC's national youth secretary C Sivaraj, national social and welfare bureau chairperson L Subramaniam and K Jayashanker, the villager who was distributing the t-shirts were among those detained.

They have been taken to the Northeast district police headquarters in Jalan Patani, George Town.

Penang MIC assistant secretary N Ahilan, a practicing lawyer, later met Penang CPO Ayob Yaacob and George Town OCPD Azam Abdul Hamid to secure the release of his party collegues and other marchers.

Ahilan told newsmen that Ayob had assured him that they would be released once their statements had been recorded.

It's learnt that the police have detained them for allegedly organising an illegal procession without a police permit.

When contacted, Sivaraj said that they were not given little time by the police to disperse.

Following the arrest, attention quickly shifted to the Jalan Patani city police headquarters.

Bullock cart protest in front of police station

About 200 people, including 'Save Kampung Buah Pala' activists and curious onlookers, had gathered as news of police arrest spread across the city via text messages and online news.

Despite several warnings by police officers using loud hailers and the presence of a baton-wielding light strike force squad, the crowd refused to disperse and remained unperturbed.

The planned march was organised by the villagers and several civil societies to pressure Lim to preserve the Indian traditional village.

The organisers had planned to deploy about 10 bullock carts tethered to bulls from the village to join the 100 metre march to Komtar.

However, the bullock march did not take place following the arrest.
Later parked two bullock carts infront of the police station in a show of protest.

Penang MIC youth chief M Suresh said that the movement had decided to back the villagers because it involved a heritage issue.

He said he was shocked that the police were so aggressive and swift in detaining MIC leaders and villagers merely for standing outside the Hindu temple and distributing t-shirts.

"They had not even started to march when the police handcuffed and whisked them into the police van. It was just a peaceful march to save a Indian heritage village.

"Police should not have resorted to rough house tactics to intimidate the 'Save Kampung Buah Pala' campaigners," he said.

'No permit sought, none issued'

Later, at a press conference, CPO Ayob confirmed that 10 people were arrested for illegal gathering near a temple.

"They did not apply for police permit neither did we issue one. Their gathering has caused public disorder and we had to arrest them to maintain law and order.

"We will release them soon after recording their statement by today," he said.

The detainees were investigated under Section 117 of the Penal Code. Ayub said police were not against the villagers handing over the memorandum to the Chief Minister.

The village is also popularly known as 'Tamil High Chaparral' due to its population of cowherds, cattles, goats, other livestocks and lively Indian cultural features and lifestyle.

Those arrested were finally released at about 5pm and have been told to report back to the police on Aug 5.

Following their release, the residents and the MIC Youth members proceeded with the original plan to submit the memorandum to CM Lim.

Last night Lim held a meeting with the villagers, who turned out in full force, at his office in Level 28 Komtar to end the long running High Chaparral crisis.

He later told newsmen that he was happy to have finally met with the villagers and described the meeting as "friendly, cordial and fruitful."


July 23, 2009 20:59 PM

PENANG, July 23 (Bernama) -- The MIC is willing to offer RM3.2 million if the Penang government can get back the land in Kampung Buah Pala, Bukit Gelugor from the developer.

MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said the move was to enable the residents to continue living in the village.

He was speaking to reporters after handing a memorandum to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng through the latter's political secretary Ng Wei Eik at the Tun Abdul Razak Complex (Komtar), here, Thursday.

Mohan and a group of men arrived at Komtar at about 5.30pm to hand over the memorandum immediately after he was released from police arrest.

They were arrested about 10am today in Jalan Datuk Keramat here for illegal assembly to hand over the memorandum to the Chief Minister.

Asked whether the value of the land of the land could be higher than the price at which the land was sold, Mohan said: "Why did the Pakatan Rakyat state government proceed with the sale of the land when they knew the value was higher?"

According to the records, the Barisan Nasional had initiated the sale of the land but the confirmation letter on the land ownership was issued by the present state government led by Lim on March 27 last year.

There was commotion at Komtar after Mohan handed over the memorandum when a man verbally abused the group, causing them to chase the man and beat him, but the police managed to restore order.

The Kampung Buah Pala land controversy came about when the villagers were ordered to vacate the land before Aug 3 following the sale of the 2.6ha land by the previous state government to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd, which then appointed Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn to develop the land.


Monday, July 20, 2009


Sunday July 19, 2009 MYT 2:37:00 PM

BUTTERWORTH: The state government has been threatened with a legal suit up to RM150mil if it blocked the proposed development by Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd at Kampung Buah Pala.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the company had sent a letter to the state government last week giving notice of its possible action.

“In the letter, the company said that since it had won its case in the Federal Court against the villagers, it will sue if it was not allowed to proceed with the project.

“It has given us notice that the amount of damages will be at least RM150mil,” he told newsmen after opening a free medical camp organised by his Bagan constituency service centre in Bagan Dalam here Sunday.

Lim said the state government could not defy an order issued by the Federal Court.

“We have to accept the verdict whether we agree with it or not. There is no court higher than the Federal Court,” he said.

Lim said the state government’s first priority was to help the villagers.

“We are not going to take the legal threat into consideration. We want to look for a solution to help the villagers,” he said.

Lim said he would hold more talks with the villagers at his office in Komtar on Wednesday at 8pm.

“This will be our final meeting with them as the Aug 2 eviction deadline draws near,” he said.

Lim said if the residents came together and co-operated with the state government, a solution could be reached.

He said they should not allow themselves to be influenced by quarters that do not want to see a fair deal for them.

In the first meeting with the villagers last Thursday, only 10 people turned to meet Lim although there are 23 families staying there.

The Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association had refused to meet Lim after he insisted that the association members should not be accompanied by their lawyer Darshan Singh Khaira.

At least two villagers had lodged police reports that they were threatened by some villagers not to meet with Lim.


Saturday, July 18, 2009


July 16, 2009 21:59 PM

PENANG, July 16 (Bernama) -- The High Court here dismissed with costs an application by five Kampung Buah Pala residents to set aside a writ granting the ownership of a piece of land in the area to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaaan Negeri Pulau Pinang Bhd.

The court also dismissed with costs the residents' application for a stay of execution of the writ.

High Court Registrar Ahmad Hidayat Md Nor read out the verdict in chamber.

The residents' lawyer Darshan Singh Khaira told reporters later that he would file an appeal on Monday against the eviction order on the 23 families in the village.

Karin Lim Ai Ching, who represented the cooperative and developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd, said bailiffs would enforce the eviction order on Aug 3.

Earlier, Darshan filed a summons on behalf of six residents seeking to declare any agreement and transfer of ownership of the land among eight parties null and void.

The eight parties are the personal representative of David Brown and Helen Margaret Brown's estate, the state government, federal land commissioner, Malaysian government, Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaaan Negeri Pulau Pinang Bhd, Nusmetro Ventures, Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer and Deputy Chief Minister P. Ramasamy.

The villagers have named them as defendants in the suit.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


July 15, 2009 18:50 PM

PENANG, July 15 (Bernama) -- A former Penang state executive councillor on Wednesday slammed the state leadership for always blaming the previous state leadership over the issue of selling the Kampung Buah Pala land in Gelugor when they themselves finalised the matter last year.

Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, the former state local government and traffic management committee chairman, said the new state government may not be aware that they approved the decision of the previous administration when they concluded the land title to the Penang Government Officers Cooperative about 19 days after winning in the March 2008 general election.

"As soon as they took over the state, the opposition pact signed a transfer letter to the cooperative on March 27, 2008," Dr Teng told reporters after launching a Purple Ribbon Campaign to fight violence at the state Gerkan headquarters here.

Dr Teng, who is also Penang Gerakan chairman, said the new state government also accepted the balance of the land premium of RM2.47 million on March 14, 2008 and on May 23 of the same year and the state exco decided not to grant a 50 per cent discount to the new owners of the land and asked for the balance.

"This shows that the opposition government actaully took steps to finalise the decision of the previous government. If they were really serious, the state government could have used the opportunity to make a new decision and not finalise the land title," he said.

Dr Teng said the previous state government took a long time to approve the land sale to the cooperative although receiving an application from the cooperative in 2001 as they wanted to look out for the welfare of the residents involved.

According to him, two previous executive councillors, P.Subbaiyah and Datuk Koay Kar Huah, were involved in championing the compensation for the residents.

The previous government gave a 50 per cent discount on the land premium from RM6.42 million to RM3.21 million as the cooperative's land beside Dewan Sri Pinang was taken for a court complex in exchange for the Kampung Buah Pala land.

Besides the cooperative also needed to pay compensation to the residents to be relocated and the developer was to give a seven per cent discount to cooperative members who would buy houses that would be built later.



Jul 13, 09

I refer to Malaysiakini report 'Hindraf hails revelation but questions remain'.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should be commended for revealing events leading to the sale of Kampung Buah Pala but I am puzzled by the fact that he endorsed the sale three weeks after he came to office.

He has a lot to explain to the public why didn't he used his new found power to block the sale. It is very disturbing in view of the fact that he is a strong advocate of a clean governance with utmost care to transparency in whatever dealings. I am sure this is disappointing not only to Hindraf but most of DAP supporters.

At the same time, leaders of previous government cannot be absolved from this blunder. In fact Koh Tsu Koon and his officers should bear a bigger portion of the blame.

Thus, if he truly wants to help solve the problem, he should come back to Penang to help out. He should not be shouting from Putrajaya telling Lim to make good his election promise knowing that the problem is an offshoot from his administration.

Now that the dealings had been laid bare for all to see, let us hope that Lim can solved the problem to the satisfaction of the villagers.

-Peter Ooi (malaysiakini)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Truth in land matters

Source: KJ John, 7 July 2009, Malaysiakini

Something is fundamentally and foundationally wrong in this nation when the descendents who have lived in a place for more than 200 years have no right to their 'ancestral home grounds' and are chased away under the force of the local government officials and the police based on a whimsical Federal Court ruling.

Surely there is an already existing methodology and due process to defend, preserve and protect such lands and grounds under our rule of law.

Even more assuredly, there must be some clauses under the Land Acquisition Act which allows the legal authorities to acquire this land and return it to the rightful tenants?

Such "national interest" cannot any more merely be defined by the government of the day, as in days past! It must now become a matter of THE public interest that the same tenants had their TOL rejected for the pecuniary interest of some non-resident selected parties and their cronies.

It is now a matter completely of truth and righteousness and no more merely an issue or mere technical legality of the proper stewardship of the said land lot.

Unlike the Falklands issue or the Timor Leste break away from Indonesia this is not an issue of over-arching sovereignty claims by different nations, and supported by yet other powers.

This is a case well within the jurisdiction and knowledge of all related authorities; whether federal or state or local government, and whether of the old or new governments.

The Federal Constitution has enough laws to protect and preserve the interests of these victims. What is needed is political will to govern right.

There have been too many cases of such theft of "private ancestral land" all in the name of 'development' for all the rest of us ordinary Malaysians to keep quiet and go about doing our own things as if these issues did not matter to us at all.

The Federation of Malaya is only 52 years old and I do not see how the laws of this minor period can override the five generational occupation, ownership and stewardship of these ancestral lands in favour of another group of people.

It is incidental to me that these happen to be people of a particular ethnic heritage; the more important fact is that their ancestral land is under threat and it is the responsibility of every other Malaysian to defend their rights and privileges as "simple and ordinary Malaysians".

We all have rights to defend our land and property.

A simple four way test

Of course I am talking about what is now popularized as the High Chaparral land case at Kampung Buah Pala.

kg buah pala 020709 developer representativesBut, first I must admit that I was initially negligent in fully understanding the historicity of the case, when I first read about it.

I thought it was one of those cases of squatters trying to take advantage of developers to gain maximum mileage after free land usage after some years.

It was only this week, after the current Penang chief minister was accused of going back on his word that I began to take more interest in the matter.

And thanks to the Internet and all media; it is now obvious to me that this is another application of greed is good theology using legal and legitimate means to acquire something that is not theirs by unfair and foul means.

There must be total and complete transparency as in the PKFZ case for us to understand the full ramifications and the real actors and their agenda.

The Rotarians have a simple four way test to determine whether anything is right or wrong. I am not a Rotarian but have been mixing enough with them to know their simple and easy to use guideline.

Their four way test is:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Allow me to use their test in to review the matter of this land grab.

Is it the truth that these poor settlers whose forefathers were settled from 200 years ago were only TOL holders?

Why? Therefore, were the actions of the former state government good, right and fair to all concerned?

Will their actions build goodwill and better friendships? Can the former state government take land from 'Paul and give it to Peter', without just cause or purpose?

It can only be good, right and fair to the perpetrators of the land grab but definitely not to the victims of the land loss.

Why are one party rewarded for their land grab and the other denied? Are they not all citizens of the same nation and State?

Criminal offence against humanity

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 05Finally, allow me to reflect another perspective toward such five generational land occupation and ownership, even if technically under the Temporary Occupation License.

I wrote recently on spiritual ontology. Most of this generation of Malaysians can live and enjoy the privilege of three generational lives because there is peace and continuity in one's life and one's family and circumstances.

My generation of siblings, for example, did not grow up knowing our grandparents, as my parents were migrants and travelling was not as easy as now.

Our children however have the wonderful privilege of knowing grandparents on both sides even if one set is some distance away.

Three generational life and living encourages what I have called spiritual experience of maturity.

Therefore for instance one can learn to grow old gracefully passing through all three stages of dependence, independence and interdependence and the final return to dependence. This cycle of maturity changes ones perspective of time and seasons.

Time is not anymore only kronos time but also kairos time. Kairos time is the ability to see time from yet another perspective; the time and seasons in one's life or what is sometimes called vertical time or cyclical time.

Kronos time or chronological time needs no explanation as this is the only time most of us do know. Too often though this known time gets shorter and shorter and one gets into a perspective of greed and material acquisition regardless of costs.

How else can we explain why a state government would collude with the perpetrators of a crime with unnecessary overtures of enabling the theft of the public lands wherein is located another group of equally qualified citizens?

They were not playing Robin Hood either. No, this is not a criminal offence against a state but it surely is a criminal offence against humanity and the rights of others in living a life of ordinary citizenship.

Therefore, like in the Subang Ria Park case, my appeal is to the Penang Chief Minister is to please exercise his political discretion and refer this case to the National Land Council and allow the federal government and their guilty allies to "own up for their demeanour and wrong-doing".

Too much of such land-grab theft has taken place and it is time for ordinary citizens to say "let us put a stop to such public theft".

Alternatively, I would urge civil society groups to seriously consider taking this matter up as a public interest case law and test the efficacy of such "daylight theft of public lands in the name of various and dubious misapplied policy goals".

May God grant us enough grace to tolerate all this public stealing.