Fight between residents and housing developer averted

Tempers flared when residents confronted workers from a developer’s firm as they tried to transport building materials into a cattle-rearing village.

The standoff in Lorong Buah Pala here between the 300-odd villagers and 10 workers, who arrived at about 10.30am, lasted about two hours. Police managed to calm the angry crowd and prevented any untoward incident.

Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd managing director Thomas Chan, who arrived at about 11am to monitor the situation, was not spared as the villagers turned their anger on him. As he was about to leave the area in his car, a resident blocked his path with his motorcycle.

Chan later had a talk with Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh and Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer when they arrived. He agreed not to do anything further until the matter had been resolved.

The village has been earmarked for the development of a low-medium and medium-cost housing project comprising 740 apartments, eight shoplots, a community hall and a kindergarten.

Chan, when contacted, said his company bought the land from the state government last year. He added that partial payment was made to the previous state government while the rest was paid to the present administration recently.

“Eleven of the 31 house owners were recently compensated between RM150,000 and RM260,000 while the rest wanted more. Some of them are holding the company at ransom by asking for RM600,000.

“Under the law, we are only required to pay RM42,000 but in my opinion, we have been extremely generous. We made three compensation offers to the residents but each time they turned us down. The last offer was for RM90,000,” he said.

Karpal Singh told reporters that the developer was wrong to have tried to transport building materials into the village as the High Court had dismissed an application for vacant possession of the land on May 22.

“They should wait for everything to be settled before starting work.”

He added that a meeting would be held with the Penang Municipal Council president today. - By The Star

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