Tuesday 14 August 2012

Angry Pengerang residents blast MCA during dialogue

A highly-charged dialogue between Pengerang residents and the Johor state economic planning unit (Upen) saw a local MCA leader being jeered by angry residents who insisted they will not relocate to make way for the construction of a mega petrochemical plant.

The dialogue, attended by some 100 residents, mostly Chinese, and representatives from Upen, Kota Tinggi district council, land office and the local MCA division officials, was held at a local Chinese school to explain the procedures of land acquisition, compensation and negotiation to the affected residents.

NONEThe land in Pengerang, including those where several villages are located, is to be taken up for the development of the controversial Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project, worth more than RM60 billion.

According to Chinese daily Oriental Daily News, Upen officers were bombarded with questions and complaints during the dialogue that they could not answer on grounds that the questions involved other government agencies.

One of the officers argued that the authorities have held several briefings, but the Chinese residents did not show up.

His remark sparked uproar from the residents who insisted that they were in the dark about the briefings.

The dialogue started to turn rowdy, with some residents shouting at the officers, "Pengerang residents will not move!", "we never said we will move!" and "we won't move, we won't move!".

NONEThen, Pengerang MCA division chairperson Tan Yong Seng came to the rescue, requesting the residents to continue the dialogue in a 'civilised' manner. However, Tan became the target instead.

Several outraged residents charged the stage, pointing their fingers and jeering at Tan, "MCA betrays our ancestors!", they called out, but the police present quickly pulled them away before they could reach Tan.

Disgruntled with the officers' ineptness to answer their queries, some residents walked out from the dialogue.

Eventually the officers recorded their commitment on a document, giving their assurance that all the questions would be answered in a month's time.

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