Augustine Paul’s role will not be forgotten

Federal Court judge Augustine Paul, who passed away yesterday, will be remembered by many Malaysians for his role in the Anwar trial during the reformasi era.

His frequent use of the word “irrelevant” during the Anwar corruption trial whenever Anwar’s defence counsel wanted to raise what they felt was pertinent evidence soon resulted in the word becoming something of a sarcastic buzz-word in Malaysia.

Paul’s meteoric rise through the judicial ranks, immediately before and after that trial, raised eyebrows.

One of his last major decisions was in the case of Kampung Buah Pala, where some 300 residents were facing eviction and the demolition of their ancestral village. On 24 June 2009, Federal Court judges Paul, Hashim Yusoff and Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff dashed the villagers’ hopes by unanimously rejecting their application for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision that had overturned a landmark High Court verdict in their favour.



Can the Penang govt direct MPPP to build PICC?

Can the Penang state government direct the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to implement the proposed Penang International Convention Centre?

On 30 November 2009, in response to an oral question in the Penang State Assembly by Pantai Jerejak member Sim Tze Tzin (PKR), Chow Kon Yeow, responding on behalf of the Chief Minister, replied that “in line with a state government directive, the MPPP had been directed to implement the construction of a convention centre at a site determined by the state government, that is, at the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) in Relau, Penang”.

He added that the proposal was in the planning stage, and the MPPP would decide if a traffic impact assessment was needed once it received a detailed proposal.

Is it within the power of the state government to issue such a directive to the MPPP? 



Landslide hazard areas of Penang

Our gut feeling may tell us that some parts of Penang appear more landslide prone than others, but are there any scientific or geological grounds for such concern?

Landslide hazard map – Maps from paper by Lee and Pradhan

Here are a couple of maps reproduced from a paper on ‘Probabilistic landslide hazards and risk mapping on Penang Island’ by Saro Lee (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources) and Biswajeet Pradhan.

This paper looks at landslide hazards and comes up with a landslide risk analysis of Penang Island using Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing data. From this a hazard map (above) was produced with a high degree of accurarcy, the authors say.



Why I am against the Penang convention centre

The proposal for a Penang International Convention Centre is already moving, but I dare say a large majority of Penangites are unaware of it.

This artist impression of the convention centre doesn’t show how close it will be to the existing Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa).

In fact, the public have been given until 8 January 2010 to submit their opinions and views – and that’s it for the consultation.

The Bayan Baru Residents Association has already registered its objection in a letter to the press. You can submit your views to the Penang Municipal Council or you can email your views to [email protected] before the deadline expires.

Personally, I am against the project, which is expected to cost RM50 million (and that’s just an estimate). The money is expected to come out of the precious funds of the Council, which has budgeted a deficit of RM40 million in 2010 on the back of revenue of RM230 million (two thirds of which is raised from assessments/taxes). The Council has allocated RM30 million for the convention centre in 2010 and a further RM20 million is expected to be incurred in 2011.

Why Penang doesn’t need a convention centre like this built with public funds: