Corporations, many of them believed to be developer firms, are expected to outnumber NGOs by ten to one at the mainland Penang Local Plan hearings, beginning on 26 November.
An informed source has revealed to me that at one upmarket seafront apartment suites complex in northern Penang Island, the actual occupancy rate is just 10 per cent, even though the apartments have been sold out. Contrary to popular belief that much of the property speculation/investment in high-end properties in Penang is by foreigners, the rough breakdown by nationality of owners of these particular apartments is as follows: Malaysians based in the country (60 per cent), Malaysians residing/working abroad (20 per cent), and foreigners/others (20 per cent).
What is the Commons? All the natural and cultural resources that should be accessble to everyone in society. The Commons includes the hills, the seas and beaches and rivers, forests, even park land. But now corporate predators are eyeing, gobbling up or “enclosing” the Commons under various forms of privatisation. This is not something peculiar Malaysia; it is a global phenomenon. Take a look at 1200 Australians coming together in a protest to call for the reversal of legislation that would allow 99-year leases for private development in national parks. Hands off the Commons!
According to the Penang Hill Local Plan, the recommended maximum carrying capacity of the hill is 10000 people daily – a threshold that has been hit or even exceeded during peak periods with the expanded capacity of the Penang Hill Railway following the controversial decision for the track to bypass the Middle Station. If cable cars are introduced, even more people will throng the hill, pushing the figure well beyond 10000/day. So no escape from the madding crowd for some peace and serenity then. This is from the Local Plan:
Activist Tan Seng Hai raises the alert about a clever ploy in property development and a building frenzy in southeast Penang Island.