Sunday August 19, 2012
No festive joy for 22 families facing eviction
GEORGE TOWN: The Hari Raya celebration this year may not be a joyous one for 22 families in the century-old Kampung Batu Uban confronted with possible eviction.
Their houses are located in Kampung Tengah and Kampung Belacan, which are sub-sections of Kampung Batu Uban.
Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) councillor Iszuree Ibrahim said 48 families were affected, but 26 of them had already agreed to the compensation offered earlier.
“The (remaining) 22 families received eviction orders dated Aug 16. They were told to move out within 14 days. How can they vacate in 14 days, with the due date being Aug 31? This does not reflect the spirit of Merdeka. Moreover, it is now the festive Adil-fitri period.”
“I know it is the right of the landowner to take back the land, but do give the villagers proper compensation. At least, build them proper transit houses as their temporary shelter,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Earlier, he met with about 40 affected villa-gers in the Batu Uban community hall.
It is learnt that the land was bought from its original owners in 2008 and the developer plans to undertake a mixed development pro-ject, consisting of two blocks of 33-storey condominiums, flats and commercial units on a 1.85ha plot.
“I have confirmed with the MPPP president (Datuk Patahiyah Ismail) that the developer did submit a plan but it was rejected on technical grounds as well as objections from villagers.
“The villagers have agreed to move out initially when they were promised a flat unit of at least 700sq ft. But the developer later said that it will be downsized to 650sq ft.”
A long time resident Zaiton Mazakar, 60, said it was impossible for her to get a new home within a short time.
“I’ve been staying here since I was born and my house is already more than 100 years old.”
It was reported that there were plans to campaign for Kampung Batu Uban to be classified as a heritage village, similar to the moves in Tanjong Tokong and Balik Pulau.