PRESS STATEMENT : 3 JULY 2009
The Kampung Buah Pala villagers are determined to safeguard their home, livelihood and heritage
Yesterday, a team from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders which included PSM’s National Deputy Chairperson M.Saraswathy and myself visited Kampung Buah Pala in Penang. The main intention of our visit is to assess the ground situation as well as to get a first hand information about what is the true nature of the problem there. Prior to this, we have been constantly in-touch with the issue from information obtained from JERIT who have been working very closely with the villagers there.
Based on the visit, and having looked at the village ourselves as well as holding a dialogue with the villagers and their leaders and seeing them in action in handling the bailiff’s notice, we have come to the following positions.
- The villagers have a legitimate right our the disputed land and they are very determined to defend it. The historical facts support their existence and their right over the land.
- Any forced eviction if carried out is going to be ugly and will have serious consequences as the people are very determined to safeguard their home, livelihood and heritage. The destruction of their homes will be a destruction of the rights to life.
- The village or the settlement itself is old, traditional and very beautiful. It does not look like a squatter settlement or squatter huts. The houses are organized as well as there are basic infrastructure.
- The villagers’ claim of corruption is very serious and they have already lodged report with the ACA and the MACC as well. Currently the Pakatan’s State Government is conducting an investigation of these allegations but have not come out with a report on this yet.
PSM having looked at all this would like to further state that :
- We would stand by the villagers if there is any attempt to evict them forcefully. We would also mobilize other settlers as well as other organization to stand by these villagers if there is a forced eviction.
- We do not believe in a legal solution because our experience on other similar cases have given us an impression that the courts and the laws would ultimately support the rich and the powerful and not look at this as a rights issue. The only solution must be a political solution and we urge the Pakatan Rakyat Government to resolve this issue politically using the mandate given by the people of Penang to them in the last election.
- PSM feels that the primary dispute in this case is a class dispute in nature between the developer who had obtained the land illegally against the villagers who have lived and developed the land for decades. We would denounce any attempt by any groups to stir this issue into a racial issue. We would further mobilize people from all races to defend the village if there is a forced eviction.
- Until an investigation on the illegal land grab of this land is completed, we call upon the State Government to use its powers to stop all forced evictions. As such the investigation needs to be completed soon and we oppose any threat by the developer in trying to evict the people until the investigation ends and concluded. We call upon the police to refrain in assisting the developer in carrying out a forced eviction until a political solution is found.
- The previous Barisan National State Government is involved and is the main cause of the current problems faced by the villagers. This fact must not be distorted. But this does not prevent the present Pakatan Government to find a solution to the problem as the livelihood and the lives of the people should be the main concern of the current Government.
- PSM is willing to work together with any parties in helping find an amicable solution to this problem faced by the villagers in Kampong Buah Pala.
Released by :
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM0
Tel - 0192537791