Friday, July 10, 2009


Friday July 10, 2009

GEORGE TOWN: In the ongoing Kampung Buah Pala saga, the DAP-led state government has declassified confidential minutes of the transfer of the 2.6ha land between the state government and Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd during the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday released a chronological summary of events beginning from the application for the development on the land by the cooperative in early November 2001.

The summary revealed that the north-east district of the state Land Office recommended that the application be rejected as two earlier proposals by Tetuan Pembinaan Baufort Sdn Bhd and Tetan Edaran Pelita Sdn Bhd had been rejected by the state executive council in August 1999.

However, the land committee called for a proposal on the grounds that the applicant was a cooperative and it would benefit its members.

The state executive council postponed its decision twice – on Dec 11, 2002 and again on Aug 11, 2004, after exco member Datuk Koay Kar Huah said that the place was unsuitable for high-rise development.

There was also proposals from then Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon for the cooperative to reduce the density of the project in return for a reduced land premium.

On August 18, 2004, the executive council approved the co-operative’s application on the condition that the needs and welfare of the squatters were addressed and on July 12, 2005, an approval letter was issued to the cooperative by the state Land Office for a premium of RM6.4mil.

On August 8, 2005, the cooperative appealed for a lower premium on grounds that it had to pay roughly RM3mil in compensation to squatters.

The land administrator and land committee suggested a 50% discount (RM3.2mil) but the executive councils postponed the matter three times after Koay and another state exco member P.K. Subbaiyah wanted to look into the issues of the squatters and residents who had asked for a piece of replacement land.

On March 22, 2007, the cooperative released a compensation offer to squatters residing at Kampung Buah Pala.

The agreement offered each family one 850 sq ft house worth RM75,000, an RM1,000 relocation payment and RM750 a month for rental subsidy for a period of 36 months until the houses were constructed.

For residents not interested in this package, the cooperative offered one-off payments of RM90,000 per family.

On April 25, 2007, the state exco conducted extensive discussions and the then Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah was reported as saying that the compensation offer by the cooperative was “far better” then what was stipulated in the state guidelines. The 50% discount on the land premium was approved on the same day.

In October 2007, 14 families that agreed to the compensation package allowed their houses to be demolished, but only one house was demolished after Koay’s objection.

On March 14, 2008, the cooperative settled RM2.24mil which was the balance payment for the land which had been paid in stages since January 2006.

The property grant detailing the lease of the land for 99 years was subsequently registered by the state land registry on March 27 last year.


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