M Santha, 49, works as a special assistant to the Batu Uban state assemblyman S. Raveen Tharan of PKR.
Recently, The Star reported on allegations that Pakatan Rakyat politicians gave special preference to their friends in awarding lots for the houses built to compensate the former Kampung Buah Pala residents.
In response, Shanta recounts that when the lots were drawn about a year ago, every other villager entitled to a replacement house was present and nobody had objected to how the lots were drawn.
“The lot numbers were sealed in an envelope and placed at random on the table. The lots were drawn in full view of everybody. If they were not happy, they would have objected there and then. Why only make a noise now, one year later?” she questioned.
Shanta, who has been actively involved in the negotiations and in convincing the villagers to accept the compensation package, beamed with pride as she received her keys during the handing-over ceremony, recently.
“I am glad that Kampung Buah Pala is now known as Taman Buah Pala,” she said. “And we have to thank the Penang state government for all that they have done for us”
She also related how some of the previous villagers had called her to congratulate her and asked if she could help them get their houses now.
Twenty-four families, including six Malay families from the previous Kampung Buah Pala settlement, received keys to their new houses – each one is a 1,200 sq feet double-storey terraced unit estimated to be worth RM500,000.