Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Georgetown On 29.9.2009.
Pakatan Rakyat Will Ensure That Kampung Buah Pala Lives On When The Double-Storey Terrace Houses Are Completed To Differentiate With BN And Gerakan That Wants To Wipe Out Kampung Buah Pala.
I have refreshed my memory by looking at the minutes of all EXCO meetings chaired by me which discussed Kampung Buah Pala. The minutes reaffirms that the present state government has not given any approvals to alienate Kampung Buah Pala to the Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang(Koperasi) or development approvals to the developer or issued eviction orders against the residents.
BN, Gerakan and its “character assassins” have spread lies claiming that I have signed documents to finalise the deal and transferred the land to these BN/UMNO cronies. Until today I have not signed a single document in favour of the developer or the koperasi.
During PR EXCO meetings on Kampung Buah Pala the only conclusion reached was that nothing can be done because the BN government had signed away all the rights of the residents. Therefore, there is no reason to declassify the PR EXCO minutes when no approvals to the Koperasi and developer were given by PR.
The whole deal was initiated, completed and finalised by my predecessor, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon without consulting the residents at a ridiculously low land premium of RM 10 per square feet (when the market rate then was at least RM 50 psf) with unanimous support from all MCA, Gerakan, UMNO and MIC state EXCO members. There is a video clip of the then Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah officiating the signing ceremony between the Koperasi and developer.
Even though the land was transferred on
27 March 2009 27 March 2008, I was advised by the State Legal Advisor and also DAP National Chair and MP for Bukit Glugor Karpal Singh that the Pakatan Rakyat state government was powerless to legally stop this as this was a consequence to the approvals given by the previous BN administration. Once the decision of the BN state EXCO has been conveyed by approval letters for land alienation and development orders sent out to both Koperasi and developer the state government is legally bound. A letter on 30 August 2006 to the Koperasi gave an open commitment to revert the land title to the Koperasi whenever the land premium has been fully paid up. Even the Federal Court had affirmed that there is nothing the new PR government can do as it is bound by the decisions approved by BN.
The Federal Court order for eviction and demolition was applied by and issued to the developer and not initiated by the PR state government. Until now BN can not deny that they had issued numerous letters of eviction to the residents when they were in power. In contrast, the PR state government had never issued a single letter of eviction to the residents of Kampung Buah Pala.
In other words, there was nothing for me left to sign as the previous BN administration led by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had done all that was necessary in selling out the rights of the Kampung Buah Pala residents. Koh considered the residents as illegal squatters and offered them a RM 75,000 flat.
Even though I had never made any promises to the residents during the 2008 general elections, the PR Penang state government strove hard to improve on the BN’s offer of a RM75,000 flat unit on the basis that they were not illegal squatters. The Pakatan Rakyat government had fought for and succeeded in compelling the developer to offer a double-storey house worth RM 600,000 with a 99-year land title in Kampung Buah Pala.
A majority of the 24 Kampung Buah Pala residents have now seen the real difference between BN and PR; between the culprits who had sold out their rights and offered them only a RM 75,000 flat against the real defenders of the people who fought against the developer and UMNO cronies to get a RM 600,000 landed property for them.
Last week, 12 of the 24 residents stepped forward with tears of gratitude to thank the PR state government for helping them. We accept their thanks. Our real reward is that they can finally distinguish who are their friends who want them to continue staying in Kampung Buah Pala as legal landowners from the culprits who wanted to chase them out as illegal squatters. Pakatan Rakyat will ensure that Kampung Buah Pala lives on when the double-storey terrace houses are completed to differentiate with BN and Gerakan that wants to wipe out Kampung Buah Pala from the face of the earth.
LIM GUAN ENG