The MPPP has 22 acres of land at Jalan S P Chelliah, which it could use for public purposes.


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From what I understand, the Penang state government wants to use half of this land for low- and medium-cost housing. Perhaps it is keen to improve its record on providing LMC housing in the face of sustained criticism by the BN. Few could argue with any attempt to provide affordable homes.

Earlier reports had suggested it wants to build 1320 homes in this area.

But a few questions arise:

  • Are we talking about 120 units/acre here, as earlier reports had indicated? If that’s the case, then 11 acres would be needed to build 1320 homes.
  • Can the supporting infrastructure – roads, drainage and sewerage, public spaces – cope with such high density in the absence of decent public transport?
  • Will the land be sold to a developer? Or will PDC build the houses? Who keeps the profits from the sale of the homes? The PDC or a private developer?
  • Is this project in any way related to the Spice deal, which arbitrarily allows higher densities (like 120 units/acre) elsewhere and for the state government to provide the land for LMC homes? Or will the land be sold to a private developer for the provision of LMC housing?
  • if the land is going to be sold, will there be an open tender for the sale of the land/construction of the homes?
  • Have alternative MPPP sites been considered e.g. the Expo site and along Perak Road?
  • What is the crime rate at the existing block of low-cost flats at Jalan S P Chelliah? Is it affecting the value of home prices there?

This is MPPP’s last significant prime land/green lung in the city. The provision of LMC housing should be weighed against the other important need of providing much-needed green lungs in the city – especially after much of the coastal land reclamation rights were sold to developers on the cheap. Even LMC housing needs open spaces for recreation.

In line with CAT, shouldn’t the MPPP be holding a public consultation to seek public views on what the land should be used for?

As a side note, in the 1960s, before local elections were suspended in 1965, the George Town City Council, then controlled by the Labour Party, used to build its own low-cost flats for the lower-income group to rent. The City Council was also the first in the country to elect its own President and City Council. Do you know, the City Council even engaged in a major engineering project to build the Air Itam Dam in 1962! Where have all our public funds gone?

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Today mpsp announced that it will mandatory for developer to reserve 10% of land for green space. If we apply this on SP chelliah, without any building, the 11acres of lands can only provide 11.2 m2 of green space per person. With the site now taking up 90% coverage, the green space available per person is 11.2 X0.1 or 1.12 m2 per person which too far from the WHO’s optimal amount of between 10 and 15 m2 per person.
    If we allow mpsp to apply this bizarre and unreasonable rule, Penang will really become a concrete jungle with bare minimum green space.
    Lim Guan Eng and his team are out of their mind. This pro-developer and development approach will eventually make Penang the most unlivable state in the world.

  2. Experience with public housing in the middle of urban centers usually are disasters. Even in Singapore, there is no evidence it benefits the poor greatly. Singapore in fact is now demolishing those and redoing them. What really happens is that the good public schools move away from the city centers and the urban poor then cannot get good public education..They don’t have the skills for high skill jobs of urban centers and end up doing the low-skill jobs with no hope of a upwardly mobile education necessary..

    • Great analysis. State should use prime land to boost economy. Welfare housing can be done elsewhere.

      Of course, those shallow minded fools will be shouting slogans about the marginalized poor in urban areas.

    • I suspect Singapore’s redevelopment of city centre public housing has more to do with land economics. It also ties in with the city-state’s master plan, where the downtown business district has been largely expanded to meet the requirements of an international financial centre.

      The plan is also to decentralise certain urban functions from the city centre by creating new urban centres in the peripheral areas which are all linked by an extensive MRT and LRT system.

      The point here is that you should not just build low income housing ( or high density housing) here or there without consideration of a land use master plan for the whole island.

      The past administrations of MPPP had good intentions for the SP Chelliah site and had even prepared a development master plan that included land zoned for low-income housing and small and medium scale industry. The idea was to relocate the many backyard industries in George Town to a properly planned location with good transport access and waste disposal facilities, i.e. multi-story industrial buildings. It would also generate jobs and income. That part of Sungai Pinang was to be transformed into an urban park.

      MPPP had planned for new low-income housing as well as redevelopment of old Council quarters here. In fact this has been partly developed in a public-private partnership project with MPPP at Jalan Sungai some years ago, providing housing to Council’s lower category staff as well as those on the state housing list.

      It is time for MPPP and the State government to revisit this plan for the redevelopment of Jalan SP Chelliah site and get public feedback.

  3. Frankly speaking with land in town at current market price of RM450 over per sq ft it is not feasible to build low and low medium cost unit at 87 unit per acre. 1 acres is 43,560 sq ft x RM450/= RM19,602,000/- and divided by 87 units would be RM225,310/= per unit and that’s not counting setback, slashing and workmanship and materials.

    Clearly BN UMNO and their sycophants from MCA, MIC and Gerakan are bull…ing … to the people when they decided to buy the Taman Manggis land at RM450/= per sq ft to build low cost houses for the people unless they are willing to incur very very substantial losses.

    Price of low and low medium cost unit are 50k and 72k

      • Ong , What I am trying to emphasize is that the set up price by the state govt for low cost (LC) is 50k and low medium cost (LMC) is 75k. Yes the lowest price for the SP Chelliah unit is 75k

      • Ong Eng Soon,

        If you insist on writing nonsense instead of engaging in constructive debate, go back to school or ask BN or Gerakan to engage you as a cybertrooper to attack PR with your own spin. Maybe you are one of the Gerakan cybertropper clutching straws like a drowning man. Affordable housing is still available in Penang because of the current State Government. The previous State Govt gave Penangites …, because of cornyism. Are you one of the BN cronies that lost its meal ticket, now trying to find fault with current State Government?

      • Yang, are are telling us that there is no low cost component for the SP Chelliah project? So can we concluded that lgE is reluctant to build low cost housing in the island?

    • Yang, of course it is impossible to make a profit or even break even when building affordable housing. Land, not just there but anywhere in the whole Island would cost too much. Even by building 120 units/acre, I doubt there will be any profit. The point of building affordable homes is so that the less-fortunate, yet deserving ones among us will be able to have a decent roof over their head. It is not given completely free and one must work to earn it, but nevertheless is heavily subsidised by tax-payers. The benefit or so called ‘profit’ from a well-designed affordable housing scheme will come later on. It will create an organised system of aiding the poor, it will prevent crime and other social ills, it will reduce health hazards and allow better hygiene and sanitation, improve connectivity to public transport and ensure availability of recreational spaces. This of course is dependent on the scheme being well-designed, maintained and rules enforced. Like what the HDB in Sg is doing marvelously. We just have to emulate them. In fact land here is still cheaper than in Sg and if they can do it, so can we. Change the current situation whereby even the rich can buy multiple units and rent them out to foreigners who all cramp into one unit, at the same time depriving other needy people of homes.

  4. Ong : Don’t you think that 1320 units for 11 acres is not so density as compared to the Maccalum area built by the previous Gerakan govt. Anyway don’t jump to conclusion, the other 11 acres may be use for recreation and other purpose.

    • the 11 acre is proposed by Anil. The real figure is only 6.8 acres. That make the density as high as 199 units per acres. Macallum Street Ghaut density is only 4500 units/ 60 acres = 75 units/acre. Stop misleading the people just because like Anil, you want to defeat BN at all cost.

    • if you like me can’t accept the density for Macallum Street Ghaut, how can you now be able to accept 120 units per acre or 199 units per acre just because the cm is lgE?

      • Ong Eng Soon,

        Be relevant, compare an orange with an orange, not with an apple. Kurang ajar.

      • OES , you are either too dumb to understand the article or you are a pathological liar. Either way, you have zero credibility. You take potshots , but chicken out when given the chance to speak up. ( we haven’t forgotten your no show in Penang forum, and your subsequent lame excuses)

  5. ong

    what has BN done for the poor? what has been their track record? great aint it with all the corrupt bulls and the latest cash milker called AES. Yup, justice my foot from BN.

  6. The World Health Organization (WHO), in its concern for public health, produced a document on the subject of open green space stating that every city should have a minimum of 9 m2 of green space per person. An optimal amount would sit between 10 and 15 m2 per person.
    1 acre is equal to 4046.86 square meter. 11 acres is equal to 44515.46 square meter. Let assume each units having 3 persons, 1320 units will have 3960 persons.

    Unless without any building, the 11acres of lands can only provide 11.2 m2 of green space per person.

    With the site taking up let say a bare minimum of 40% coverage, the green space available per person is 11.2 X0.6 or 6.7m2 per person.

    How can we allow such a violation, just because the housing is for the poor and powerless? Shame on you, Anil!
    Mind you, this calculation is assume that each units is of 3 persons which in actual fact if you take into consideration of each family having 2 kids and some have to share with their parents.Then each unit should be at minimum average of 5 persons.
    Which will give you only 4.1m2 per persons. That is why we call it an unhealthy living space!

    Since 308, the local NGOs and The Great Anil decided to chose side by ignoring the poor and powerless in order to defeat BN at all cost. This is your justice? My foot!

    • Hi OES,

      By saying “How can we allow such a violation, just because the housing is for the poor and powerless? Shame on you, Anil!”, you are rather being unfair to Anil, as I believe his purpose in this posting is to initiate and prompt discussions through his “But a few questions arise: …. “. Hence, he is actually initiating public discourse in his blog so that the MPPP and other authorities would have access to an indirect form of public consultation!

      Similarly, like what Yang said that we should not jump to conclusion since “the other 11 acres may be use for recreation and other purpose.”, would in a way generate positive planning for this prime piece of land and also for other pieces of state and council land in the city!

      I do agree with Anil and others like-minded that MPPP should have a public consultation for this project, more so since the land there is “the last significant prime land/green land left in the city”.

      • Thanks, Tan. Yes, that was the idea behind the blog post. To get a public discussion going.

    • Eu Soon, sometimes I find it hard to comprehend what you are saying or implying. I agree with you that the density is too high and as a result will likely create an unhealthy living environment. I really don’t need WHO to tell me that. But I cannot see the rationale of you accusing Anil of choosing sides. From the article he wrote, one can clearly tell that like you and I, he too has reservations regarding the density, use of land as well as the process of development. The article in fact questions the state govt/MPPP on this issue. How you are able to interpret such an article as support for PR is beyond me.

      • Anil wrote this article in response to my accusation of density of 199 units per acre for SP Chelliah project. He is asking lgE isn’t it 120 units per acre that are suppose to be the intended density. In a way he is expressing his acceptance of the 120 units per acre for the poor and powerless. Why the double standard? how come you also become not so intelligent?

      • You must take the trouble to read the article in entirety. “Are we talking about 120 units/acre here, as earlier reports had indicated? If that’s the case, then 11 acres would be needed to build 1320 homes.
        Can the supporting infrastructure – roads, drainage and sewerage, public spaces – cope with such high density in the absence of decent public transport?”. The second sentence clearly shows that this article is questioning the high-density of this project, not supporting it or accepting it. You can’t pluck out specific sentences and words because that does not put things in context.

    • if there anyone who is not fair. It is Anil and Penang Forum all they want to do is damage control. Prior to that is there any press statement from Penang Forum on Sg Ara Hill slope development issues? All those whio want to defeat BN ast all cost will not give a damn to the plight of the people. Justice, fair play. My foot!

      • Ong Eng Soon, You must be blind or chose to be blind. If you want to attack someone, get your facts right or else go & get …

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