THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

> 'Thief shouting thief' over Buah Pala

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today lashed out at Gerakan state chief Teng Hock Nan and accused him and Barisan Nasional of 'selling out' the Kampung Buah Pala villagers.

In a hard-hitting statement, he asked why Teng has not repented by apologising for his part in selling the land at such cheap rates without consulting the villagers?

Lim urged Teng and BN to provide proof or stop their "shocking lies" that the Pakatan Rakyat government finalised the village land deal and sold Kampung Buah Pala to Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang (Koperasi).

"No amount of false reports by their 'character assassins' will convince Penangnites that BN and the Gerakan government did not rob the villagers of their land," he said.
'Thief shouting thief'

Lim said the declassification of exco minutes on July 7, 2009 showed that the BN state government under then chief minister and Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon were principally culpable for alienating the land twice to Koperasi in exco meetings on Aug 8, 2004 and June 8, 2005 without consulting the villagers.

"The land was alienated by BN at a ridiculously low land premium of RM10 per square feet (when the market rate then was at least RM50 psf) with unanimous support from all MCA, Gerakan, Umno and MIC state exco members including Teng.

"Teng never repented and apologised... and he is now blaming the Pakatan state government of robbing the villagers of their land, a classic case of 'the thief shouting thief'," he added.

After losing their land, Lim said the BN "land robbers" treated the villagers as illegal squatters with no rights to own their land.

The exco minutes showed that BN offered a RM75,000 flat unit to Kampung Buah Pala villagers.

Unlike BN, Lim said his state government treated them as landowners who were allowed to stay by the original British landlord nearly 150 years ago.

He said the Pakatan state government worked hard to compel the developer to offer a double-storey terrace house with 99 years lease to the residents worth RM600,000.

This successful compensation is widely recognised as the best in Malaysian history, he added.

'There's nothing we could do'

Lim explained that once the decision of the BN state exco was conveyed by approval letters for land alienation and development orders sent out to Koperasi and the developer, the state government was legally bound.

"There is nothing the new government can do. This was also affirmed by the Federal Court decision. The order for eviction and demolition was issued to the developer and not initiated by the state government," he added.

Lim challenged BN to deny that they had issued numerous letters of eviction to the villagers when they were in power.

In contrast, he said, the new state government never issued a single letter of eviction.

"Similarly until now BN or Teng cannot show prove that I promised that I would return the land back to the villagers during the general election as I did not even campaign there," he added.

On the same note, Lim asked: "If BN And Gerakan are so innocent, why is it that Koh (former CM) dare not take up his own challenge of an open public debate with me on national television?"

Lim said the only solution to saving Kampung Buah Pala was to forcibly acquire the land.

"However this would cost the state more than RM100 million, a sum 1.5 million Penangnites can not afford for 24 houses in Kampung Buah Pala.

"Unless of course Teng can write the cheque for the acquisition to redeem and atone for BN's mistake, which he has still not done so," he added - Malaysiakini.