Blog Page 319

While more property development projects are in the pipeline, the research unit of a local bank, CIMB Research, has reportedly warned of a “significant” commercial property glut in Penang. From an Edge report:

Occupancy rates:

  • Office space: 76% (the lowest in Malaysia)
  • Retail space: <70% (second lowest in Malaysia)

“There appears to be a significant glut in Penang, which would worsen if more office and retail space were built.”

  • Beach hotels: 63% (3rd quarter, 2009)
  • George Town hotels: 68%
  • Hotels outside city: 37%

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has had a couple of “closed-door meetings” with the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) during which issues close to the heart of developers and the housing industry were raised.

“The meetings have brought fruitful result to both party and it has achieved a win-win situation,” remarked the PCCC on its website.

Really? Read through the minutes of these two closed-door meetings carefully and draw your own conclusions. Pay close attention to the discussion on the threshold for the provision of low-cost housing, back-lanes, building setback minimum distances and major house renovations. You will get an indication of what the developers are seeking and what could be in store for the rest of us.

Tanjung Bunga residents have been urging the MPPP to closely monitor what is going on in the Surin property development project on the steep hill-slopes facing Chee Seng Gardens.

Photos by Tanjung Bunga residents – Click icon on bottom right to expand to full-screen slideshow

After much effort by the residents in highlighting the issue of uncovered hill-slopes, the MPPP has taken some action and the contractor has now partially covered the slopes, more so on the higher slopes. But many patches remain uncovered.

The residents have also complained that work is being carried out at night, sometimes past 8.00pm. They want the Council to confirm if the developer is allowed to carry on work beyond 6.00pm.

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Some flu experts are now challenging conventional medical thinking and arguing that flu vaccines and antiviral drugs may provide little or no protection for those most in need of such protection.

If you have ever wondered how effective flu vaccines really are, then take the time to read this excellent article in the Atlantic: Does the vaccine matter?

The writer, Shannon Brownlee, is the author of the acclaimed book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, which was named the best economics book of 2007 by a New York Times economics correspondent.

Blogger Zorro has been questioned by police who are investigating what they perceive to be a possible offence under the Sedition Act in his postings. See here and here.

The questioning was carried out this afternoon at the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department headquarters at Bukit Perdana in KL. (‘Sedition’ and blogging fall under ‘commercial crimes’ jurisdiction?) Zorro was accompanied by fellow blogger Haris Ibrahim, a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Aliran president P Ramakrishnan has called for a full panel of 11  Federal Court judges to hear Nizar’s appeal tomorrow on the issue of who is the rightful Perak Mentri Besar. See Rama’s statement here.

Of late, I have heard a number of people expressing their unease about the “mess” in the Penang Botanic Gardens.

A RM5 million federal project to expand the Gardens is underway, but concern has been expressed that it has already deviated from the original plan drafted four years ago. Initial work has reportedly uprooted about 30 trees.

Kanda Kumar of the Malaysian Nature Society adds civil society’s voice to the disquiet over what is going on there.

Concern over slope stability at the site of the proposed Penang Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre

We, group of NGOs, stake holders and concerned citizens, are calling for this press conference as we are concerned over slope stability at the site of the proposed Penang Botanic Gardens Visitors’ Centre.

Rahmah Ali is not a happy woman. In fact, this feisty Tanjung Tokong villager is upset over Uda Holdings’ plans to demolish the houses in her kampung and ‘develop’ the area. “Hati geram!” she says.

Photos by Anil (Click on icon on bottom right to switch to full-screen slideshow mode)

Seated at the dining table inside her hundred-year-old wooden house, Rahmah says she has lived here since she was born.

I ask her, somewhat untactfully, how old she is.

Sama dengan Mahathir,” the widow replies, in a matter-of-fact tone. That would make her 84, but her razor-sharp mind shows no sign of slowing down.

Hers is not the usual wooden kampung house; the beams inside are solid, probably hardwood similar to cengal or merbau.

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Zaid Ibrahim is speaking at the Caring Society Complex in Penang tonight on a two-coalition system in Malaysia.

An email landed in my email inbox and from the looks of it, the Penang state government needs to clarify a number of issues including land conversions: has the state government converted any land from leasehold to freehold so far?

In particular, was approval given in June to PDC Heritage (51 per cent owned by YTL) to convert its prime seafront land from leasehold to freehold status? Was the Penang State Assembly really misled, as the NST alleges (see here and here)?