HERITAGE SITE: Association wants GLC to withdraw eviction notices to Kampung Tanjung Tokong villagers
GEORGE TOWN: THE Penang Malays Association (Pemenang) has urged Uda Holdings Berhad to withdraw its eviction notices sent to 11 families in Kampung Tanjung Tokong here.
Its president Datuk Seri Yusoff Latiff said Uda Holdings should preserve the quaint village, one of the oldest in Penang, as a traditional kampung.
Yusoff said Uda Holdings, as a government-linked company, had the social responsibility to preserve the identity of the traditional Malay heritage site.
“The residents should not be labelled as squatters but as law-abiding tenants. They had been paying annual quit rent to the land office since 1950s, until Uda Holdings bought the land in 1974.”
He said Pemenang was saddened by Uda’s harsh decision to evict the families during Ramadan.
Yusoff said the villagers wanted the village to be gazetted as a national heritage site.
“However, they have no say over the matter because Uda had categorised the people still staying in the area as squatters.”
Yusof said Uda should consider relocating the villagers in area.
“They should be allowed to remain in their own kampung at all times. There are 4.8ha of land left undeveloped, so Uda should consider relocating them in the area. I urge Uda to withdraw the eviction notices against the villagers.”
He said Pemenang would champion the rights of the Malay villagers, including helping to gazette Kampung Tanjung Tokong as a heritage site through the Penang Malay Heritage Trust Organisation or Pewaris.
Yusoff said he would write to Prime Minsiter Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Uda Holdings and Heritage Commissioner Datuk Zuraina Majid to intervene to withdraw the notices.
It was reported that 11 families received eviction notices from Uda early this month and they had to engage two lawyers to contest a civil suit at the magistrate’s court on Monday.
Some residents claimed Uda had not offered them any compensation or alternative accommodation.
Uda Holdings could not be reached for comment.
Keratan Akhbar “New Straits Times” 16 Julai 2013