UDA, Penang solve four-decade-old Tanjong Tokong issue
KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — Government-owned UDA Holdings Sdn Bhd finally firmed a RM165 million settlement with Penang today to resolve a sentimental four-decade dispute over the redevelopment of the 250-year-old Kampung Tanjong Tokong.
When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, UDA chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad (picture) commended Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for facilitating the agreement between the Finance Ministry-owned company and Tanjong Tokong settlers.
“It was done because of the desire and assistance from Guan Eng as chief minister,” Nur Jazlan said today, adding Lim “managed to get the state government to facilitate UDA and the squatters to achieve this purpose”.
“This is an example of co-operation between the federal and state government,” he said.
A total of 197 families today signed the settlement agreement, making way for the area’s redevelopment and construction of 1,200 housing units worth RM300,000 each.
The signing between UDA and the settlers today was witnessed by Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mansor Othman.
The issue about conserving the settlement has long been a passionate one, as the village is regarded as among the oldest living legacies of the Malays.
UDA, a government agency tasked with giving Malays a bigger stake in the urban economy, was tasked with redeveloping the area by then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1972 but negotiations between the various stakeholders including the state government have failed to reach a consensus.
Nur Jazlan, who is also Umno’s Pulai MP, had previously said that the pledge of new homes for settlers was “proof of UDA’s efforts to protect the rights of Bumiputeras” despite some Tanjong Tokong residents opposing the redevelopment plans.
Tanjong Tokong residents had demanded the federal government give RM300 million to redevelop the traditional village in an impasse reminiscent of efforts to redevelop Kampung Baru, the 111-year-old Malay enclave just a stone’s throw from the Petronas Twin Towers here.
Pakatan Rakyat has been quick to capitalise on the growing anger of residents unhappy with the Najib administration’s plans to develop the area into an icon of Malay ownership in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Kampung Baru lies within the Titiwangsa federal constituency, which has always been an Umno fortress but fell to PAS in Election 2008.