Only The Federal Government Has Powers Under the 2005 National Heritage Act To Designate Any Site To Be A Heritage Site.

The State Legal Advisor Datuk Faiza binti Zulkifli and the Penang Town and Country Planning Department have stressed that the Penang state government has no powers to declare any site to be a heritage site. Unlike other states such as Melaka, Penang has no heritage laws. Accordingly to declare any site a heritage site the National Heritage Act holds sway.

In other words, only the Heritage Commissioner under the Minister of Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, can designate any site to be a heritage site under Section 24. Section 30, requires the consent from the relevant state government before any designation can be made.

Clearly BN or Gerakan and its allies were barking at the wrong tree when they tried to blame the state government for refusing to designate certain sites such as Kampung Buah Pala as a heritage area. The Federal government is the sole legal authority empowered to do so at this moment.

The Penang state government has no powers over the police, which is under Federal control. BN, Gerakan or its allies pretend not to know that the police has lodged reports and investigated my political secretary and ADUN Komtar YB Ng Wei Aik for protecting the right of the Kampung Buah Pala residents to demonstrate against my government and defying police orders on 30 June 2009 in Komtar.

There was nothing for me to sign as the previous BN administration led by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had signed away all the rights of the Kampung Buah Pala residents.

BN, Gerakan and its allies have spread lies claiming that I have signed documents, finalised the deal and transferred the land to the cooperative. Until today I have not signed a single document in favour of the developer or the cooperative. The deal was finalised by the previous BN administration.

The Pakatan Rakyat state government was powerless to legally stop the transfer of the land as this was a consequential administrative action following the approvals given by the previous BN administration. There was nothing for me to sign as the previous BN administration led by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had signed away all the rights of the Kampung Buah Pala residents.

The only recourse left was to improve on the offer of a 75,000 flat unit offered to the residents by BN on the basis that they were illegal squatters. The Pakatan Rakyat had fought for and succeeded in compelling the developer to offer a double-storey house worth RM 600,000 on the basis that they had a right to a 99-year legally binding lease to own land in Kampung Buah Pala. This is the real difference between BN and PR.

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