Penang Turf Club property development project REJECTED – but …


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.

The rejection comes on the heels of a petition dated 31 October 2016 by nearby residents expressing strong objections to the project.

The project involves the following:

Parcel 2: One 24-storey tower for 389 affordable homes and 16 double-storey shoplots
Parcel 3A: Two 22-storey towers for 228 apartments
Parcel 3B: Two 26-storey towers for 278 apartments and four five-storey blocks for 64 apartments

The developer is Berjaya Land Development Sdn Bhd

In a letter dated 24 January 2017, the City Council said it was rejecting the project based on the following grounds:

  • No hill land approval
  • Failing to comply with the city council’s density guidelines
  • Failing to comply with the city council’s guidelines for the provision of community amenities
  • Failing to comply with the city council’s guidelines for the provision of low-medium-cost housing

But one concerned Penangite warned that it was too early to celebrate. The developer could attempt to work on and around these grounds for rejection and submit a fresh plan.

She also noted that the notification of rejection doesn’t mention anything about the project site obstructing natural waterways, which was among the concerns of the Jesselton residents.

Neither did the notification of the rejection mention anything about the impact of the additional traffic from 2,226 new parking bays and 5,000 additional residents on the entire vicinity.

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The following should be considered:

Retention ponds

Is the retention pond for water run-off from the diverted streams in the Batu Gantung area sufficient? Or is it only sufficient for the needs of the area under development?

What about the other tributaries and water sources from above? Has the impact of all the flooding risks been fully considered?

Is it true that the JPS has asked the United Hokkien Cemeteries for extra retention areas and that they have refused? Will JPS approve the drainage plan in any case?

Traffic Impact Assessment

Has this been done? Apparently, during the objection hearing, this was requested for. Could civil society groups like Penang Forum have a look?

Hill land committtee approval

The approval for the hill cutting was apparently based on bungalow lots in the original plan. But that was then. Now, the density has apparently been increased and there are high-rise blocks planned.

The revised plan has not yet been approved. But hill-cutting continued relentlessly, badly scarring the hill-side.

Many trees have been removed

How many trees have already been removed? About 500?

Where have they been replanted? And how many have survived.

Access roads

The Brook Road access road has not been approved, but is it true that an access road has been indicated?

Final thought

It was only in 2007-2008 that Penangites campaigned hard to save the Turf Club land from the massive development planned under the Penang Global City Centre project – only for this to happen now.

How is it possible that public land that was originally given to the Turf Club for a nominal sum for public recreational purposes is now being developed for huge private profits?

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See how a valuable public asset – part of the Commons – has over the years been turned into a private development. How much has the state or MBPP – ie the people – received in return compared to the profits that private interests stand to reap? Can any value adequately make up for the loss of such a treasure?

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  1. Penang to sell 20 acres of land to build churches, temples

    Twenty acres of land in mainland Penang have been set aside to build non-Muslim religious places of worship, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

    Non-Muslim organisations are offered to buy the plots of land from the state government, he added.

    Lim said the leasehold land in Bagan, Butterworth, have been demarcated into 32 lots of different sizes for the purpose.

  2. Family-run coffee shop forced to close after 67 years

    GEORGE TOWN: It will be tough for the Teoh siblings if they stop operating the traditional family-run coffee shop business established by their late father 67 years ago.

    Sisters Teoh Ai Tin, 67, and Ai Ling, 61, together with their brother Keng Wah, 56, grew up helping out at the Wah Keong Coffee Shop located at the Malay Street Ghaut-Beach Street junction.

    The three inherited the business after their father It Chin passed away some 30 years ago. They are dependent on the coffee shop, which sells drinks all day long and economy rice during lunch hours, to support their families.

    However, the siblings received eviction letters from the building owner in March and November last year, asking them to move out to make way for renovation works.

    When met at the shop yesterday, Keng Wah said this was the last day of the coffee shop’s operations.

    “We will stop our business for now, and the keys will be handed back on Friday to the owner, which is a Chinese kongsi.

    “My future is uncertain, now that I have no other means to make a living,” he said.

    His wife Chin Kim Ching, 53, who also helped out at the coffee shop, said the present monthly rental was RM750 but when they asked the owner how much they had to pay to continue renting the unit, they were not given a definite answer.

    “The owner, however, hinted that the rental would be ‘almost the same’ as the neighbouring unit, which was RM3,500.

    “We cannot afford such high rental. The most we can pay is RM1,500 as business has not been too good in recent years,” she said.

    Chin said if they could not find a suitable place to run a coffee shop, she would have to get a job.

    “We are already in our 50s and 60s. I doubt if anyone would want to hire us to work. It is with a heavy heart that we leave this place after so long.”

    Non-governmental organisation Young Master Movement secretary Loh Kit Mun, who held a press conference at the coffee shop, said they were saddened when they found out about the closure of another traditional trade in George Town Heritage Zone.

    He said a traditional herbal tea shop, Shong Hor Hin Medicated Tea Stall, in Kimberley Street recently closed down after 64 years in business.

    “Traditional coffee shops are part of Penang’s intangible heritage and I hope that more people, especially the younger generation, will treasure these traditional trades.

    “We will help the Teoh siblings look for affordable and suitable premises, so that they are able to continue their coffee shop business,” he said.

    Well, this is the ill price of Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied Gentrification.

    • Traditional kopitiams need to revamp to attract new (younger?) customers to stay afloat and to compete with the likes of Starbucks. Need to create cosy environment (soft lighting), soft music and provide wifi to attract young crowd that is willing to pay premium price for a cup of coffee.

    • The stark reality of modern Penang a bitter pill to swallow] for traditionalists. Foremost must blame the parents for not inculcating traditional values of vintage trades to younger children. Young parents of past 1-2 decades majority of them on weekends schoolchildren to frequent air con malls to taste franchised comfort fast food, so these children grow up so used to modern processed meals that they prefer trendy stuffs. Typical teens or twenties b4 the financial pressure of being parents go for Teaalive Chachatime over traditional herbal tea, or Starrybuckish coffee over kopi-o kau kau.
      Mau be traditionalists should start to compile dying items to bury them in time capsule now.

    • Those old-styled cinema halls were replaced by modern cineplex with the latest amenities (dolby surround sound, digital screening 2D or 3D, comfortable cushioned seats). Unfortunately modern cafe will similarly displaced the old-styled kopitiams. This is the cruelty brought on by the passage of time and the change of consumer taste. What remains are nolstagia for the older generation and the millenial generation will never understand the feelings. Sigh!

      • Must keep up with time to survive else will be consigned to the museum. This is a sad reality.

    • the rental is not raised by singlsnd but by pg lang. if penang lang does not want to help how much more is investor from singland? why tua pek kong dont go and tell the owner off like telling komtar?

    • Learn from Singapore Ya Kun kopitiam that has revamped successfuuly.

      Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singaporean chain of mass-market, retro-ambience cafes selling toast products (notably kaya toast), soft-boiled eggs and coffee. Founded by Loi Ah Koon in 1944, Ya Kun remained a small family-run stall for decades, but have expanded rapidly since Loi’s youngest son headed the business in 1999. They have over fifty outlets, mostly franchised, across six countries, and are a Singaporean cultural icon, known for their traditional brand identity and conservative, people-centric corporate culture.

      • Tunglang can be a disciple at YaKun, then return to PuloPinang to be the next pro-maelstrom rescuing the dying traditional kopitiam by becoming a franchisor.

  3. The usual follow-up tricks fascists employ for a project they have already set their minds on include these:
    – claiming investment, development or jobs, none of which they spell out.
    – creating distractions.
    – waiting for those “making noise” to tire.
    – bringing back the project with superficial changes.

  4. Time to ‘Let it go’ in Malaysia?

    Vincent Tan to sell Cardiff City FC.

    Felda is selling off its UK properties.
    FGV to cut 3% of workforce.

    Petronas is selling 50% of Rapid Pengerang stake to Saudi Aramco.

    Proton will soon sell 51% of its holdings to Geeky China.

    • Petronas (allegedly) sold out to Saudi Aramco, but Umno TV3 reported as Saudi’s investment in MOU. BN is desperate for cash, expect more national assets to be sold.

      Vincent Tan was trying to test the market. Unfortunately China and Arab buyers are not interested in small teams like Cardiff FC.

      Geely China will likely use Proton Malaysian facilities to build Volvo cars, so the end is near for Proton once it is sold to Geely.

    • FGV a listed public company collected RM 6 billion from the public on an initial public offering. They then misappropriated RM 1.7 billion and paid Felda settlers in the thousands RM 15,000 each gratis. The previous AG Gani Patail and the relevant authorities closed one eye. All the shareholders lost a lot of money. The country as a whole suffered grossly. Even EPF is paying lower dividends now.

  5. Are you (too) sure property development always lead to growth of businesses?

    EXCLUSIVE: Rapid development gives birth to ‘ghost towns’

    A number of commercial projects around the nation resemble ghost towns, with swathes of vacant shop lots. Besides being an eyesore, they also serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other unsavoury activities as well as reflect negatively on economic growth.

    MALACCA: Rapid development here has led to a glut of commercial units, particularly shop houses, which are mushrooming into swathes of vacant shoplots.

    A registered valuer, who declined to be named, said sluggish development of existing large scale projects in the heart of the Malacca city have thwarted the confidence of business owners in renting shop houses for their businesses.

    “An example would be the development of a theatre, Impression Melaka project, slated to bring in development. It is, however, not ready yet so, the growth of the surrounding area will not be as fast as projected,” he told New Straits Times here.

    He added that an oversupply of shop houses in the state was also due to a slower economic outlook especially when the gross domestic product (GDP) growth is lower than six per cent.

    “Generally, the demand for shop lots will be good when the GDP growth is six per cent or more. Commercial activities will drop when GDP drops and vice versa,” he said.

    Checks by the New Straits Times revealed stretches of vacant shop lots in Pulau Melaka, Klebang, Kota Laksamana, Jasin Bestari and Taman IKS Merdeka.

    A local now residing in Kuala Lumpur; Yaw Sing Kiu, 80 said she previously invested in a shop lot in Pulau Melaka but suffered losses after being forced to sell it at a lower price.

    “I bought the property sometime in the mid 1990’s and has been vacant since. There were many attempts to get people to rent my property but they did not want to risk it as other nearby shop lots were also vacant,” she said.

    Yaw, who did not want to incur losses paying more than RM2,000 in assessment fees twice a year, decided to sell the property some 10 years later.

    “I could not stand forking out money to pay the assessment fees every half a year without renting the building out.

    “So I decided to sell the property at RM200,000, although I purchased it at RM300,000 and this was excluding agency fees,” she added.

    It learnt that KAJ development took over and revived commercial units in Pulau Melaka with Certificates of Fitness (CF) and keys handed to new owners but they have remained vacant.

    Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron had on Feb 1 said he would make efforts to revive abandoned projects in the state.

    Kota Melaka Member of Parliament Sim Tong Him also pointed out two big projects in the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency which must be given attention to, as some had been left abandoned for more than 20 years.

    “The multiple-storey Bachang Mall in Kampung Lapan is also abandoned and Plaza Melaka at the Gajah Berang junction has been abandoned since 1990’s,” he added.

    It is learnt that some 405 units of Melaka Village Paradise Resort in Ayer Keroh, Hotel Merak Pantai Puteri service apartment (214 units), Pacific Inn in Tengkera and Explanade Condominium in Klebang have also yet to be revived.

    The projects were said to have suffered financial woes with the state government attempting to identify new developers to take over the abandoned projects.

    Meanwhile, State Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) chairman Datuk Ngoh King Hua said that the oversupply of shop houses was because of the 40 per cent Bumiputera quota enforced by the state government.

    “Developing commercial properties is not as rapid as four or five years back, but the problem is that developers are unable to sell residential and industrial Bumiputera lots.

    “But we believe that there is a demand from non-Bumiputera if the available shop houses could be released to them,” he said.

    Ngoh said the sight of vacant shop houses and industrial units would reflect badly on the state’s economic growth as having occupied shop houses meant that rapid economic activities was taking place there.

  6. The hill is botak-ed, but there is NO fine.
    The trees are cut down, but there is NO fine.
    The project was carried out (without approval? beforehand), how can it be rejected???
    Rejection is an act over a bad-plan submission, not after the fact of tree cuttings, bulldozing of hill slopes, etc!
    Then, the rationale of this Sandiwara should invoke a fine.

    • it is fine without Fine. you dont know the process starts from gilakan state gomen days and become part of procedure. you sleeping and should have roost early. you another sandiwara

  7. How is it possible that public land that was originally given to the Turf Club for a nominal sum for public recreational purposes is now being developed for huge private profits? The members of the Turf Club have benefited enormously with some of them purchasing their part of Turf Club land to build their own bungalows near to Jalan Scotland and Jalan Skipton.


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