Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Lesson from the Kampung Buah Pala Controversy

Reported in Malaysiakini.com:

"The villagers' ancestors were brought to this place about 200 years ago as indentured labourers from South India to work in colonial estates. C Tharmaraj said the ancestors were given this land on free ownership by the Brown Estate Housing Trust before the Umno-dominated Malayan government turned it into a temporary occupation licence (TOL) settlement after Independence in 1957.

He said senior villagers would recall that their parents, mostly illiterate, were hoodwinked into signing documents about 50 years ago by government officers on the pretext of providing water and electricity supply to the village. He said the villagers only now realised that their forefathers were duped by their own government to terminate their land ownership and turn the land into a TOL village.

In 2005, the state land office stopped TOL collections from the villagers, alienated the land under state ownership and subsequently sold it to the cooperative."

The land was sold at a huge discount by the Koh Tsu Koon led government to a cooperative. This fiasco is a strong reason for Penangites to continue to reject a useless leader such as Koh.

This is a sad story. The villagers were duped and robbed off their land by the previous government. The new government claims it cannot do anything to correct the wrong. A spokesman of the new administration said it would cost the state some RM30 million to buy back the land. Why would the current state government do anything for the 22 poor families?

If the claim is correct, the panel of investigation set up by the new government should have taken a legal action against the past government and those who were involved in the land scam. Similar to the same action demanded by the PR leaders against those who were found guilty in the PKFZ fiasco.

The new transport minister, Ong Tee Keat, was asked to be responsible for the fiasco. Similarly, the new Penang administration should shoulder the responsibility to correct the injustice done against the villagers.

If nothing is being done, can the poor and powerless people continue to trust politicians to defend and protect their rights?

Are all politicians the same? The mandate to rule must come with a responsibility. A leader must have the courage to use his authority and political power to do the things right for the people.

Sad, this country does not have a place for poor, powerless and helpless people.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr.Khoo,

At least you spoke the truth to highlight the plight of the helpless. There are many so called Smart Bloggers who wrote without thinking defending the CM Lim. He has failed he very people who voted him into office. It does not mean you are always right if you are vocal and from the opposition. Had it been a reserve land for a particular ethnic group or another, all hell would have broken loose. If the CM thinks that previous CM is responsible, he should be brought to the books by the present CM. Now who is going to help these poor souls?

Anonymous said...

KKP,

Hindraf is all noise only. Perhaps that's all they perform...!!!
"Otak Tin Kosong...!"

Nobody is right or wrong in this case...!!!

PKR has got "NO MONEY" to compensate the developer. Even if they do, there are so much of left over "shit" previously which Lim have better use of the money for......!!!

MIC for the Indians...???????
"BIG" question mark there........

Yes..!! Lim can do it by the stroke of his pen...!!!
Do they know the trouble & the lawsuits he & PKR will have to go through..??

The goverment "will" vote in favour of the developer & "NOT" the Opposition (PKR).
Back to square one.......!!!

They should make noise at Koh Tsu Khoon. He was "the one" who approve all that...!
Now keeping "very" quite & watching Hindraf "drama"......!!

Hindraf.........,
Use your bloody brains lah...! Making noise is your No. 1 attitude...!

Ok..! Fine, no brains..!
I tell you what you can do...!!!
Set up a fund. Get your Hindraf supporters & the villagers to contribute at least Rm3-5 each. Go & approach Ananda Khrisna (billionire) and "kindly" ask him to contribute to save the villagers. Also "kindly" ask Lim Guan Eng to contribute.

"STOP" shouting...........!!!

Might come up to Rm30 million to compensate the developer....!!!

Enough of just waving your Hindraf "flag" & shouting rubbish on the street. Is that all you guys can do.....?????
Nothing happens. OK...???

Go see Lim GE & plan what to do & how to do it...
Look at why Lim GE hands are "tied". "WHY...?"
Go do some leg work & use your brains instead....!
Find solutions. (As above...!)

Aiyoo yoh...!!!
Just like all Indian dramas lah.....!!

"Shout" only.................!

KULO said...

The current PR Penang state government is behaving more like a opposition trying to point the mistakes by the previous state gov. No doubt this is important so that the real culprits are exposed.

But a higher priority should be for the state gov. to resolve this issue (basically fulfill the promises made during elections) by returning the disputed land ownership back to people.

Kpg. Buah Pala issue is not the first and definitely will not be the last.

Hopefully, the PR gov will show more political will and seriousness in this issue.

The Penquin said...

As a layman I am not too familiar with Land Laws. But my common sense asks me why the present state government is unable to bring those responsible for selling the land at a price far below the market rate to court ? Is the present CM of Penang a powerless 'chief' ? I really don't know. For PR to 'survive' in the next GE I suppose they need to show that the people of states under their control have really benefited under their leadership. They must wake up as the people who voted them in believe that PR can make the difference. If not why change ?

James Khoo said...

Most politicians in Malaysia, be they BN or PR, share one thing in common - they can't be trusted. Period.

giam2020 said...

It is time that the poor have
a place in society that preaches
fairplay and justice.Afterall,they
are Malaysian,and should have every
right to enjoy the fruits of hardwork
left by their ancestors.The problem
with Gerakan was that they tried to
please UMNO too much,hence all
request by their cronies were
approved for a pittance.That why the
voters sent them packing.To avoid
a repetition, Pakatan has to be
humble and hardworking.

tan, tanjong bungah said...

Hi everyone,

The present State Govt has already set up a special committee to look into how the land was 'given' away for a song.

The villagers and their emotional spokesman on prime time TV should not threaten the present govt, but instead, emphasise that the special committee should expedite matters, investigate thoroughly and right whatever wrong, including the possibility that their ancestors were 'hookwinked' into signing their rights to the land to the then govt of the day.

Go after the misdeeds of the previous administrations, including taking caveats and pursuing legal avenues against them!

Anonymous said...

LGE's hands seem to be tied. TOL land has been LEGALLY sold to a third party by the previous government. Now, if it was a legal transaction, how is one party to cancel a done deal?
1. Maybe a referendum (or a resolution in the SLA) should be carried out to determine if Penangites are ok with paying the mentioned RM32m as compensation to the present owner?
2. Or can LGE, or the villagers (with the help of Hindraf's organizing power), take the issue of "unfair under-priced" selling to the courts? Maybe the demolition can then be put on hold until the case is concluded? Do you really think that our courts will eagerly over-rule a "legal transaction" and "willing-buyer-willing-seller" matter in favour of a DAP government?
3. If LGE, with a stroke of his pen, cancels this done-deal legal transaction, will Penangites stand by him when his ass is hauled to court for breach of contract? Will he not expose himself and the Penang Government to huge lawsuits?
4. Is it fair to put the blame solely on LGE for the villagers' current predicament? Where the people behind Hindraf when KTK and his UMNO-Gerakan government acquired the land in the first place?
As Indians say, the rice turned into porridge with the transaction in 2005.
Its not fair! But that's life until the masses mobilize to claim their basic rights and not leave it to the hapless few to fend for themselves.

SAM