GEORGE TOWN: Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) took the state DAP government to task for not fulfilling its promise regarding a heritage building owned by the Penang Chinese Clan Council which was supposed to be returned to them for restoration work purposes.
Penang BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the issue first surfaced in 2012 when the Penang state government and the Clan Council both agreed to allow the Penang government to seal off the building located in Love Lane here following failure to pay land tax totalling RM20,000.
Teng said the forfeiture of the building was done under the National Land Act and the Penang state government then promised to transfer the ownership back to the Clan Council and return the building to them for restoration work to continue.
“However the promise was not fulfilled when the Penang DAP government turned around and asked for the Clan Council to prove they are the rightful owner of the heritage building,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
He said that the Clan Council tried to hold discussions with the state government but was not making any progress.
“The DAP state government has not only abused its power and not given any assistance but also slandered the Clan Council by claiming that the Clan Council had demanded impossible requirements,” he claimed.
Teng expressed strong support for the Clan Council which is currently struggling to earn back what is rightfully theirs.
“The application of ownership has been made in 2012 based on mutual understanding so something like this shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
The property, at 50 Love Lane, is historically connected to the Ghee Hin secret society, the largest grouping of Chinese immigrants in the 1800s known for its economic role in bringing up Penang.
In 1867, its members fought bitterly with the rival Hai San secret society in what is remembered today as the Penang Riots.
The death of the trustees left behind unpaid property charges which started the whole episode between the owner and the Penang state government. – MO