Citizen Nades was in town last week to find out what the fuss over property development in Penang was all about.
I met him for the first time for a little chit chat over drinks while he was here. The man is obviously passionate about investigative journalism and that keeps him going.
This is what Nades found out in Penang.
In the case of property development projects, only residents living within 20 metres are entitled to formally object. This is obviously inadequate for larger projects or projects on hill-slopes.
Nades also wrote about the renewal of lapsed planning permissions. Is the renewal automatic or can the Council decide afresh? The law says “the local planning authority … may grant an extension…”
‘May’ – not ‘must’.
Read Nades separate pieces on these two points in theSun on Tuesday.
In two more pieces today, he wonders aloud about property speculation and the ‘bubble’. He also discusses all those plans: the 1996 zoning plan and the 2007 Structure Plan and notes the delay in coming up with the Local Plan. Read these reports.
Meanwhile, the Gerakan chaps are arguing that the state will not have to pay much compensation as the 2007 Penang Structure Plan “supersedes all other guidelines. It clearly says that high-risk slopes, which include land above 76m or have a slope gradient of over 25 degrees should not be used for housing.” See this report in The Star.
The Penang Chief Minister, however, says he wants a letter of indemnity.
And so it continues.
The rest of us will keep a close watch on the hills. (The sea is by most accounts already murky and not the best place to swim, partly due to sedimentation from all the hill-slope projects and perhaps port activity.)