Several of the squatters visiting the Bayu Nyaman low-cost project in Bayan Lepas.
A developer has offered four compensation options to residents of 823 squatter units in Sungai Nibong Kecil and Sungai Nibong Tengah, Penang, who have to make way for a mixed development project.
The options given by Hunza Properties Berhad are cash, cluster houses in Bertam and low-cost flats in Bertam and Bayan Lepas.
Hunza Realty Sdn Bhd director Gee Su Lyn said they bought the site concerned, a 73.4ha plot in Bayan Baru, six years ago, adding that owners of 750 squatter units on the land had agreed to one of the four options.
She said 31 squatters were still undecided while 30 squatters were issued with notices for failing to respond. The remaining 12 have been served with court summonses.
Gee said it took the company six months to come up with a sound compensation formula.
“A six-month survey was carried out at the site as we needed detailed information before coming up with a good compensation formula.
“Some of the squatter units were already empty and dilapidated. There were also units rented out to foreigners.
“Our main objective is to provide shelter for those in need,” she said in her speech during a topping-out ceremony at the Bayu Nyaman low-cost flat project in Bayan Lepas yesterday.
The 28-storey project is one of the four compensation packages offered.
It has 690 units measuring about 680sq ft each. The project is scheduled for occupation in February next year.
Gee said those who occupied a squatter unit measuring more than 800sq ft were entitled to a free low-cost flat either in Bertam or Bayan Lepas.
“If the owner prefers to own a landed unit, he or she may opt for a low medium-cost cluster house in Bertam.
“Those who lived in squatter units between 400sq ft and 800sq ft can opt for a low-cost flat either in Bertam or Bayan Lepas.
“This group can also choose a low medium-cost cluster house in Bertam but a small amount of top-up is required,” she said.
Gee said owners of empty squatter units and those who rented out their units would be given cash compensation only.
“We also give out cash compensation to owners of units smaller than 400sq ft.
“However, we will give out a free low-cost unit in Bertam to those who are really hardcore poor,” she said.
At the same ceremony, Hunza Properties Berhad group managing director Khor Siang Gin said the cost of building each low-cost unit in Bayu Nyaman was around RM100,000.
He said the cap price of a low-cost house set by the state government was only RM42,000 per unit.
“To date, we have spent about RM100mil in compensation over the resettlement of these squatters,” he said.
Also present at the topping-out ceremony were Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon and Hunza Properties Berhad founder Datuk Seri Khor Teng Tong. - By Christopher Tan (The Star)