from The Star 11 August 2009:
KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government will go ahead and demolish the 35 pre-war buildings along Jalan Bandar and Jalan Banggol here despite protests from its owners.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the owners, who were mainly traders, had been issued with sufficient notices to make way for the redevelopment of both areas, which had been planned previously.
“These areas require a facelift so that it can complement Kuala Terengganu as a modern city.
“It will be an eyesore if the city is filled with dilapidated structures. The owners have to vacate their premises to make way for the redevelopment.
“We will go ahead with the demolition if they continue to defy the notice,” he said when met at Kemaman yesterday.
Ahmad said the state government had paid out compensation to most traders because the redevelopment project had been earmarked since 1990s and that they were also given an alternative site for them to relocate their businesses.
“These traders should honour the agreement made then without twisting the facts,” he added.
The owners had staged a peaceful demonstration on Sunday, in which they claimed that the state government had been unfair in issuing them a 30-day evacuation notice.
Goldsmith Som Ali, 40, said she was disappointed with the manner the notices had been issued without giving them the opportunity to appeal.
“We received the notice on July 19 and we have until August 13 to relocate our business. That’s a short period. How can we find the financial resources within a limited time?” she said.
Electrical shop owner How Kok Kong, 65, said the state government should continue with the facelift without demolishing the old structures as it being part of the city’s Chinatown heritage, the buildings had sentimental value.
“I have been living in Jalan Banggol since childhood and this place is nostalgic to my family,” he said.
Businessman Chang Lai Lian, 65, said he hoped the state government would extend the dateline to next year to enable traders to come up with money for their relocation.
“The notice is too short as we have occupied these row of shophouses for more than a century,” he added.