Villagers protest against development project

Some 60 villagers of Kampung Pokok Assam in Jelutong protested against an ongoing development project which they claimed was damaging the road and causing flash floods.

Jelutong Timur Residents' action committee chairman Zarus Yusof, who led the group of villagers, claimed the housing project had caused the 3.2ha land there to sink, resulting in blocked drainage.

He also alleged that heavy construction vehicles had damaged the roads.

“As a result, we have been experiencing flash floods even when the rain is not heavy.

“How are we to move about in our own village?” Zarus said during the protest which was held along the main road outside Kampung Pokok Assam yesterday.

The villagers carried placards and banners claiming they were duped by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).

Zarus said the council should have built alternative routes for the villagers before the project started instead of blocking some of the roads there.

Villager Kung Soon Guan, 62, claimed the house he has been living in since birth had been demolished and he was now renting a room in Jalan Gemas.

The village is believed to be about 100 years old.

Residents claimed they were duped by the state government, which wanted to evict them from the village to make way for access roads to the new development project.

“We were given forms which we thought were census forms distributed by the State Land Office when in actual fact, the forms were to obtain our support for the roads to be built and to widen the Jelutong Muslim cemetery plot,” Zarus said.

He added that about 200 people from 34 families were affected by the project.

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi said the state had met with the villagers and informed them that they would be given units of houses as compensation by the developer. - By ZALINAH NOORDIN (The Star)

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