‘Say no to project in Batu Ferringhi’

Uncertain future: Some 1,000 residents of Kampung Mutiara were served with eviction notices by the landowner recently.

The state government has been urged to reject any housing project in Kampung Mutiara, Batu Ferringhi, after some 1,000 residents there were served with eviction notices by the landowner.

Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu said the villagers deserved proper compensation since many of them had been staying there for almost 50 years.

After buying the land in 2007, the landowner launched legal proceedings to obtain vacant possession of the 1.4ha land which has about 90 houses.

“We urge the state government to reject any potential housing projects on the two lots in Kampung Mutiara.

“Give them the approval only when the villagers have been given adequate and fair compensation.

“It is their basic right and the landowner should act on humanitarian grounds,” Zairil said during a press conference at Balai Giat, Kampung Mutiara yesterday.

Some 60 villagers also turned up with banners, claiming they were not given compensation. They had earlier received eviction notices on July 9.

The villagers had applied for an injunction but it was rejected last week. Their lawyer is appealing the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Zairil said under the state government’s guideline, approval would only be given to building plans if the residents were properly compensated.

He said although the landowner had a right to secure vacant possession of the site, the state’s policy was to ensure the villagers get fair compensation.

“Although the landowner did not violate the National Land Code with his move, he should be compassionate enough to ensure all villagers have a roof over their heads.

“So far, the landowner has not submitted any application to develop the land. We have no locus standi to reject the application or stop the court order as taken by the landowner,” Zairil said.

He said Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Rashid Hasnon had sent a letter requesting the landowner for a discussion so that a win-win situation could be achieved over the issue. - By The Star

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