Published: Monday June 29, 2009 MYT 9:20:00 PM
High Chaparral: Developer urged to hold on for investigation
By WINNIE YEOH, KASTURI DEWI, CHRISTINA CHIN and IAN McINTYRE
GEORGE TOWN: Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mansor Othman will meet the developers of a proposed apartment project in Kampung Buah Pala to tell them not to demolish the houses in the village, popularly known as Penang’s High Chaparral.
He said that he would ask the developers to hold on to the vacant possession directive served on the villagers while the state investigates allegations of misuse of power and corruption in the transfer of the land.
“I am confident that the developers will cooperate with the state,” he told a press conference here on Monday.
The residents filed an application Monday to set aside an ex-parte order dated June 16 obtained by the North-East land administrator, Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and Nusmetro Venture, to issue a writ of possession, which is to be enforced at 11am on July 2.
The application was filed on behalf of the residents at the High Court registry at 3:15pm by counsel Darshan Singh Khaira.
In their application, the residents also applied for the bailiff’s notice, execution and enforcement of the writ to be set aside.
In his affidavit, labourer K. Shanmugham said to date he and the other village residents had yet to be served with the Court of Appeal’s order dated May 11.
He said the writ of possession was defective as the Koperasi and Nusmetro Venture have failed to obtain any permission from the authorities and the Penang Municipal Council to demolish the houses in the village.
The application will be heard on a date yet to be fixed.
At a separate press conference, a visibly upset Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told Kampung Lorong Buah Pala villagers that they should know who their friends and enemies were.
“If we are not pursuing the matter now, do you think the residents would still be there today?” he said.
On the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) threat to withdraw support for the Pakatan Rakyat alliance in Penang if the state government failed to settle the matter, Lim said the movement should not blame the state.
“Hindraf should instead pressure the Federal Government to acquire the land in accordance with the National Land Code. We cannot afford to do that because the amount will be substantial. It’s a figure I don’t even dare imagine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said that the on-going dispute in Kampung Buah Pala was a clear indication that the villagers were promised “something” by certain quarters.
Dr Teng said politicians, including those from within Gerakan, should not go around making empty promises as this would later upset those who believed such talk.
Some 300 squatters there are facing the prospect of eviction after a Federal Court ruled in favour of the landowner and developer last week.
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