The next-of-kin of 56 deceased buried at the 122-year-old ancestral graveyard in Batu Lanchang in Penang cried foul over the decision by the local authorities to approve the exhumation of their ancestors’ tombs despite their strong objection.
Yeoh Cheang Pew, 80, and Yeoh Cheang Huat, 65, who spoke on behalf of the other descendants, said they had appealed to the local authority to stop the exhumation.
Cheang Huat told reporters here that the descendants were against the move by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) to issue a permit to exhume the graves.
He said the state government had agreed to look in the matter and promised to respond to their request soon.
Cheang Huat said there was also a pending court case regarding the land and the MPPP should have waited for the case to be settled before allowing the tombs to be demolished.
Meanwhile, Political Secretary to the Penang Chief Minister, Ng Wei Aik, said the court case had nothing to do with the exhumation of the graves.
“The developer, as the land owner, can apply for the permit if they comply to the procedures and the MPPP can approve it,” he said when contacted.
Ng pointed out that the state government had arranged a meeting with the descendants in December last year but nobody turned up.
There are more than 50 tombs in the graveyard, including that of Tan Hup Chui, the founder of Penang Chinese Town Hall, and Lim Ko Seng, a prominent philanthropist.
Both played important roles in Penang’s history during their heydays.? It was reported that the graves would be exhumed to make way for a RM300?million housing development project comprising 91 terrace houses, 299 apartment units and 234 low-and-medium-cost flat units.