Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Kampung Buah Pala representative K Murugan has arrived in London on Monday evening (British time) to take his village fight for survival to the international level – the Unesco heritage head office in Paris.

London based Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy will accompany the 46-year-old village cowherd to Unesco’s Paris Desk on Wednesday July 29 to raise the issue of Kampung Buah Pala to international heritage officials.

It is a move to exert international pressure on relevant authorities in Penang, especially Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to preserve the traditional Indian village.

Murugan’s representation would deal a severe b low to the embattled DAP-dominated Penang government as it could jeopardise the status of George Town as living human heritage city, an accolade it shares with Malacca.

Murugan however, denied that the villagers were compromising George Town status just to preserve Kampung Buah Pala as a heritage village.

“We have no intention to damage George Town’s world heritage city status.

“But we want the state government to know that it failed to do enough to preserve our village as a state heritage.

“Many Penangites failed to realise that Kampung Buah Pala is actually located in George Town,” he told Malaysiakini in London.

The villagers hope that Murugan’s mission to France will turn the world’s attention on this 6.5 acres village land in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.

As the state administration works overtime to explore all ways and means to resolve the crisis, Kampung Buah Pala faces the possibility of total destruction on Aug 3, courtesy of an eviction order issued on July 2.

The villagers have to make way for a lucrative project, the Oasis, to be carried out by Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

But Lim’s government has already revoked the development plan a few days ago apparently to stop the eviction and compel the developer to agree with its plan to settle the issue amicably.

However, not only the villagers, many civil societies, including Hindraf, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) and Suaram, have demanded to state acquire the land preserve the village as a an Indian traditional land.

As Kampung Buah Pala faces eviction and demolition next Monday, civil societies have had warned the state government that Penang would lose a 200-year-old historical, lively human culture and heritage village in George Town.

Thus, it’s understandable that the villagers have taken their fight for survival to the international level.

Waythamoorthy has apparently arranged the Unesco meeting on Wednesday through the help of British parliamentarian.

He believes Lim lacked the political will to resolve the villager’s predicament and preserve the Indian traditional village.

“Lim should stop play politics with the life and livelihood of the villagers,” he said.

He accused Lim of giving a false impression that ‘all is well’ over the current scenario by revoking the developing order.

He argued that the revocation order was merely an eye wash that would not end the plight of villagers neither it would deter the developer from demolishing and flattening the village.

“All Lim as to do is just to acquire the land under the relevant laws and return the village to the residents, who the legitimate rightful owners,” said Waythamoorthy.

He pointed out that it was Lim who transferred the land to the cooperative society even though prior to that the villagers have already made representation to him.

“Lim’s owes a political responsibility to acquire and return the village to the people,” he said.

The land was transferred to Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang on March 27, 19 days after the DAP-dominated Pakatan Rakyat took over Penang government on March 8.

“If the village were to be flattened, the DAP and its Pakatan Rakyat allies would face severe backlash from the Indian community,” warned the HIndraf leader.

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