Tanjung Tokong villagers get promised apartments, nearly 50 years later

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and UDA officials handing over a key to a Kg Tanjung Tokong settler.

GEORGE TOWN: After a near 50-year wait, the remaining settlers of the centuries-old Kampung Tanjung Tokong Malay fishing village received keys to their new apartment today from government-owned UDA Holdings Bhd.

The company announced that more than 300 families have received a new apartment without charge at the new Warisan Tanjung Apartments (Phase 4A) built on the old village site.

The fight for the homes began as early as 1972 when the late prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein promised that the heritage kampung would be developed and the old settlers would be given a home.

Some residents were resettled in flats built by UDA since the 1980s but the remaining families have lived in a transit house near the apartment project site for more than seven years.

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (centre) together with UDA chairman Jalaluddin Alias (right) and UDA CEO Mohd Salem Kailany during a site visit of the completed Warisan Tanjung Apartments (Phase 4A) developed by UDA Land (North) Sdn Bhd.

In a statement today, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the new Warisan Tanjung low-rise apartments of at least 800 sq ft each, will be immediately handed over to the deserving settlers.

“The residents’ houses are currently in a dilapidated state and they should move to their new homes as soon as possible.

“Property prices in Penang are not within the reach of the Bumiputera community. We are grateful that UDA’s efforts have allowed them to own property and in such a strategic location,” he said.

Junaidi said the three-bedroom apartments have a market value of about RM400,000 each. There are 210 units in five blocks of six-storey apartments, and 340 units of 800 sq ft apartments in another five nine-storey buildings.

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Settlers in transit homes packing up for their new homes.

The apartment complex is built on eight acres of land at a cost of RM84 million, he said.

From the 1980s, it was reported UDA had already built 4,455 units of homes in the Tanjung Tokong area through the Warisan Tanjung and Desiran Tanjung projects. The project includes low-cost apartments, medium-cost apartments, resettlement units, affordable housing and shop offices.

The original settlers’ battle for their homes at the village spans back to the Razak administration, where in 1972 he promised to redevelop the 48-acre site through UDA. The settlers, who do not own the land, were told they would be given new homes on the same site.

The kampung, which used to extend to the sea, has been taken over by high-end development and new townships.

Over time, the villagers were relocated in low-cost flats and many had refused to budge as scores of eviction attempts with backhoes had failed.

The site was also listed as an endangered heritage site by heritage groups, with the Penang state government declaring it a “kampung warisan” in 2011, pledging to only approve development plans if the original facets of the village were preserved.

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