Uncertain future for Kampung Siam

25 Sep 2014 / 01:39 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The last Siamese enclave in Penang is under threat after the more than 200-year-old Kampung Siam was earmarked for a hotel development.
Village spokesman Boon Leua Aroomratana said the villagers were shocked after receiving the eviction notice in April.
The 56-year-old was surprised over how the 1.6ha plot could have ended up in the hands of a developer.
He claimed the land was given to the Siamese and Burmese settlers by the British in 1845 and was held in trust but was sold without their knowledge.
He said many of the families here could trace their ancestry to the original settlers and now feared their culture, values and way of life were under threat.
He said the residents were offered RM30,000 in compensation but it was rejected as they wanted to get to the truth of the matter.
"It is not about compensation, it is about how the land has been sold without our knowledge," he said in a press conference today with Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey.
The land presently houses 17 houses and is located off Jalan Burma in the suburbs of Pulau Tikus.
The affected area is also home to a Siamese cemetery and a Burmese-styled Buddhist temple.
Another resident, Chuah Joon Cheong, 85, also agreed with Aroomratana, saying that he would not budge from his childhood home.
"This is where I was born, this is where I grew up and this is where I am living, I will not move out no matter how much is offered," he said.
Yap said she has written to the Penang Island Municipal Council to urge the local authority not to approve any development on the land.
"The community wants their culture and and heritage to be preserved,' she said and expressed her hope an amicable solution could be found.


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