GEORGE TOWN, Nov 3 – Thirteen families in Kampung Sungai Nyiur, Butterworth, near here, wants the Penang government to intervene in the issue of compensation payment for demolishment of their homes which they find too low at RM2,000 per house. The group’s representative, Samuel Walter, 46, said the 13 affected families had received a notice from the court that their homes would be demolished this Friday.
“It is true that the land belongs to a company after it bought the land from an individual. It’s not that the residents don’t want to move out but the compensation offered is too low, unfair and not worth it. “The houses to be demolished were built by the residents themselves 50 years ago and we have been paying the land rental to the owner.
“So, we want the state government, particularly the Bagan member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng, who is also Penang Chief Minister, to intervene in the matter,” Walter said after a group of 25 residents held a peaceful demonstration at Level 3 of Komtar, here, today. The group comprising mostly senior citizens also carried banners which read, “Selamatkan Penduduk Kampung Sungai Nyiur” (Safe Kampung Sungai Nyiur Residents) and “Kawasan Parlimen YB Lim Guan Eng Tolong! Tolong! Tolong!” (The Hon. Lim Guan Eng’s Parliamentary Constituency Help! Help! Help!)
Walter said the land owner (company) should at least pay RM20,000 to RM30,000 in compensation per house, depending on the value of the house. He said if the state government failed to resolve the compensation issue and their houses were still demolished, the 13 families would “stay” at Level 3 of Komtar. Walter said last year, they sought the help of Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Thanasekharan and for him to forward the matter to the Bagan MP but there had been no solution.
One of the affected residents, M.Krishnarani, 50, said she was sad and worried to lose her home as she did not know where to go and could not afford to rent another place to stay. “I work as a cleaner and my husband is a disabled due to an accident, while our two children are still studying. So the RM2,000 offered is not enough to move and find a new house to rent,” she lamented.
Another resident, Lim Keng Choi, 61, a mechanic, said they felt cheated as the state government had promised to care for the people’s welfare before the last general election but it was clear now that it was just an empty promise. “Many villages in the state have disappeared to make way for luxury projects and we, the Kampung Sungai Nyiur residents, didn’t expect the same fate would befall us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thanasekharan who was present at the peaceful protest, said he had discussed the matter with the land owner’s lawyer but the company refused to increase the compensation amount. He said he had also checked with the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) on the project but so far, the company had not made any application to develop the village area. “If there is an application, the state government through MPSP can ask for the project to be postponed until the compensation issue is resolved,” he said.