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When housing becomes a commodity, a vehicle for wealth growth


What is causing so much dissatisfaction with the housing market? Well, the provision of housing these days in large part, no longer fulfils a social function to provide people with homes within their budget. Instead, it has become a tool of wealth creation – for ‘investors’, financial institutions, speculators, and of course the developers.

Penang Turf Club property development project REJECTED – but …

Penang Turf Club project rejected

The Penang Island City Council has REJECTED a massive project at the Penang Turf Club on various grounds – but concerned residents and Penangites are not letting down their guard.

Pulau Jerejak: Would you buy a home on a small island with over 5,000 graves?


Would you buy a home on this island? These graves are on the north-western side of Pulau Jerejak.

According to a historian, there are at least 5,332 graves, most of them from the 7,500 leprosy patients who lived at one time or another on Pulau Jerejak. At least 3,691 of these graves are near the site of the old leprosy hospital on the eastern side of the island.

This hospital was funded largely by the local Chinese community. Frederick Weld, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements observed, “The building is a fine one with a central hall, and long tiled corridors and wards stretching out on either side. It is very cool and well arranged. Rows of coconut trees line the beach, and the view from it is most beautiful.”

When moral outrage is misdirected

A crammed ward section at the Penang General Hospital in April 2016. Where is the moral outrage over crammed hospitals?

This is something I wrote a week ago:

As I write this, the large Pas rally in support of Hadi’s bill was scheduled to take place in KL on 18 February 2017.

While it is well within Pas’ right to hold this rally, its private member’s bill (Hadi’s bill) has raised uneasiness, especially in our plural and multi-religious society.

Priceless treasure: Eerie, enchanting Pulau Jerejak

One of several old reservoirs on Pulau Jerejak that supplied water to the thousands of inhabitants that once lived on the island.

The ruins of dormitories and leper homes, old reservoirs and undergound chambers, places of worship, jail cells, even a courtroom add an eerie touch to the island’s natural greenery that should be preserved as a state treasure for Penang.
I am appalled and still cannot fathom how, between a federal agency (Uda) and a state agency (PDC), 80 acres (a huge chunk of the flat land) of this national/state treasure could land up with a private developer, Ideal Property (which paid just RM160m for a 49 per cent stake that was previously held by PDC). 

Was there any public participation in this decision? Who were involved in the negotiations with Ideal at all stages? Was this matter tabled at the Penang State Assembly for debate?

Before you buy a ‘sea-view’ property, think about rising sea levels


You would be forgiven for not knowing the results of a new study on how climate change is going to raise sea levels to a level higher than earlier expected. After all, who wins the English Premier League is way more important to the media and many of us than inundation by rising sea levels, right?

And so it is business (including property development and land reclamation) as usual…

Jesselton residents object to property development near Penang Turf Club


Over a hundred residents in the Jesselton area, and nearby areas such as Casa Grande, have objected to the proposed development around the Penang Turf Club (lots 403, 28 and 278).

Jemputan ke tayangan filem alam laut Mission Blue


[English version below] Hi semua, kami ingin menjemput anda semua ke tayangan filem Mission Blue, anjuran Kuasa bersama Aliran pada Sabtu, 25 Februari 2017 pada jam 2.30 tengah hari di Rumah Aliran.

RUU355 rally and Bebas counter rally


This is the scene at Padang Merbok, where some 50,000 are attending a rally in support of Hadi’s bill.

Mind you, this is without any obstacles, roadblocks or threats of arrest. (And so can have a fair idea of how many people Pas could contribute to a Bersih rally.) This is more or less the number of supporters Pas could pack into a stadium in say, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Indeed, the numbers appear well short of Hadi’s prediction of a 200,000 turnout – and it is hardly a ringing nationwide endorsement of his bill. My good friend, Tasik Gelugor Pas information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim, was more guarded, forecasting 100,000 ahead of the rally. As friends, we have had frank exchanges – and strong differences of views – over whether Hadi’s bill is suitable for a diverse, multireligious society like ours. But no hard feelings.

Meanwhile, some 200 gathered for the Bebas counter rally at Taman Jaya. Among those addressing the crowd was Haris Ibrahim.

Anyway, it is good that the authorities have respected the right of both sides to gather peacefully and air their views at different venues.

Higher density guideline will lead to more affordable homes? We’ve heard that before

This is what 87 units per acre would look like. And 128 units per acre?

Deja vu… Back in 2012, when the maximum density was increased from 30 homes per acre to 87 per acre, we were told that this would encourage developer to build more affordable homes. Did that happen? You tell me.