KG HAILAM IS NO MORE

Res­i­dents mourn the loss of their houses to make way for de­vel­op­ment

New Straits Times - - News - KELLY KOH MALACCA kelly.koh@nst.com.my

AN air of sad­ness hung over Kam­pung Hailam in Tan­jung Kling here re­cently as 40 fam­i­lies pre­pare to leave their homes in the cen­tury-old coastal vil­lage, which will be cleared for de­vel­op­ment.

They have been or­dered to va­cate, by landowner Mara Hold­ings Sdn Bhd, by March 13.

Teary-eyed Ee Nyiok Yin@Je Nyiok Yin, 76, said she had been hav­ing sleep­less nights, dread­ing the dead­line.

“My fam­ily has lived here for six gen­er­a­tions. It breaks my heart that I have to tear it down. This is the only home I have and it was passed down by my late hus­band,” said Ee.

Ee, who is from Paya Rumput here, had lived in the vil­lage for more than 58 years af­ter mar­ry­ing her hus­band.

“I am very sad. Words can­not de­scribe how I feel.”

Re­count­ing fond mem­o­ries of the vil­lage here, Ee said she missed laugh­ing and chat­ting with her neigh­bours and prac­tis­ing taichi by the sea ev­ery morn­ing.

“We have so many won­der­ful mem­o­ries. So many spe­cial mo­ments,” said Ee, who has six chil­dren and 17 grand­chil­dren.

Ee, who lives with her aunt, son, daugh­ter-in-law and grand­chil­dren, said they would re­lo­cate to Ta­man Paya Emas in Cheng.

There are 50 homes with more than 200 res­i­dents in the vil­lage, with 10 homes de­mol­ished so far.

It was learnt that the own­ers re­ceived evic­tion no­tices from the landown­ers on April 25, 2013.

A sec­ond no­tice was is­sued in 2015, ask­ing own­ers to re­lo­cate by June last year fol­low­ing a to­tal com­pen­sa­tion of RM790,000.

The last time they were asked to move out was on Jan 12 this year, ask­ing for res­i­dents to re­lo­cate by Feb 10.

But res­i­dents ap­pealed for an ex­ten­sion as they had to cel­e­brate Chi­nese New Year.

They also ap­pealed to the state gov­ern­ment to of­fer af­ford­able homes in Kle­bang.

A meet­ing on Feb 13 be­tween the gov­ern­ment and lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the house own­ers and landown­ers agreed to ex­tend the dead­line to March 13.

If res­i­dents failed to move out, they would be charged RM1,000 monthly as rent, and this would be in­creased to RM2,000 in June.

They will also re­ceive 25 per cent of the house value in ex-gra­tia if they agree to re­lo­cate by March 13.

Res­i­dent Lim Juat Jon, 68, who has lived in the vil­lage since birth, said she would miss her home and the close-knit com­mu­nity the most.

“We are the only vil­lage where we cel­e­brate the three main fes­ti­vals to­gether – Chi­nese New Year, Moon­cake Fes­ti­val and Mother’s Day.

“Ev­ery­one in this vil­lage is like a brother or sis­ter. We greet each other ev­ery day and ev­ery­one is al­ways will­ing to of­fer help.

“It is also where we have fam­ily re­unions, as some have left to work out­sta­tion,” she said.

The vil­lage is next to the state’s old­est Malacca Ro­tunda Club, where the Hainanese who mi­grated from China set­tled at the shore­line.

The vil­lagers started off as fish­er­men, while some were bak­ers and cooks.

Koh Tat Mou, 54, who has now re­lo­cated to a new place over the past week, said he was sad.

“Here I am, sit­ting at a bench un­der the tree look­ing at my house be­ing de­mol­ished.

“I have lived here since I was born, and this was passed down by my grand­fa­ther,” said Koh, as he watched work­ers tear down his wooden home.

“I am hav­ing sleep­less nights at my new home in Tan­jung Kling as I am un­able to get used to sleep­ing in a new place with­out see­ing the sea any­more,” he said.

PIC BY KHAIRUNISAH LOKMAN

A house be­ing de­mol­ished in Kam­pung Hailam, Malacca, on Tues­day.

Ee Nyiok Yin@Je Nyiok Yin

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