Higher density for Penang projects?


Alarm bells have started ringing over the premature talk of higher densities for property development on Penang Island.

Present-day coat of arms of the Municipal Coun...
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Penang property developers must be grinning like Cheshire cats after reading a news report which said that the Penang Municipal Council has revised the plot ratio guidelines for high-rise properties in commercial and tourism areas on the island. This would allow the developers to build 122,000 sq ft per acre (i.e. up to 87 units) compared with 42,000 sq ft previously. See The Star report here. Notice also the low, low quota for medium-cost apartments. (How come no one talks about low-income housing?)

But hold your horses a sec.

Earlier this year, the state exco apparently agreed to the higher density which purportedly would make apartments more affordable for yuppies. But, from what I hear, this higher density was for transit-oriented development (TOD), which would be provided for in the draft local plan.

But for TOD to work, the proper supporting infrastructure must be in place; otherwise, the higher density will only add to the congestion along transit/transport arteries.

These TOD areas apparently can only be publicised with the release of the local plan. Presumably, applications for property projects will then have to conform with the local plan.

Another important point:  it is only the full council of the MPPP that has the power to approve higher densities – not the state exco.

Now that the higher density issue has been reported in the press, the MPPP must clarify:

  • whether such higher-density TOD areas have already been implemented
  • and if so, who was responsibly for approving such TOD areas
  • and where the supporting infrastructure is.
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Ong Eu Soon

Read my article on Fast Tracking Penang into a Big Ghetto at http://eusoon.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-trend-of-change-for-penang.html

I the article, I highlighted how LGe has pursued what KTK has left behind without any questioning in his quest to make Penang an International city.

Read how LGe has betrayed those who voted for change by siding developers on high density development!

Ask LGe why he wan to be KTK version 2! Is he stupid or what?
Read how LGe


Ah soon

Your articles got no value.

No wonder both KTK and LGE do not listen to you.

You may want to try CSL next.

Ong Eu Soon

After I critised LGe for wanton high density development. LGe seem to adopt my idea of TOD, but merely adopting my idea of TOD, do not make the development transit oriented. I still failed to see any plan by LGe to implement a transit oriented infrastructure. LGe is just pay mere lip service to transit oriented infrastructure to justify his plan for high density development.

Ah Nang

eu soon

You sounds like an expert. If only you were around during KTk days, Penang would have been a marvellous city with good transportation, and the ‘Sentral’ in Prai would have been up and running.

Ong Eu Soon

If there is an Ah nang during KTK days, Penang would have been a marvellous city with good transportation, and the ‘Sentral’ in Prai would have been up and running. Stupid!

Ann Seng

Just copy the readily available successful model of Singapore e.g. their public transportation model, ERP gantry, parking charges, HDB housing … and you can solve the Penang woes.


Higher density only bring more profit to the developer. They are not going to bring the price down. Think again. I thought when PR takes over Penang, things would be better but obviously not.


The scheme is so simple and well tried. Developer using Malaysian soil and bankers using our money to pakat and pokai us… This cycle is so regularly played out on the Malaysian scene. It’s surprising this government and its people keep letting it happen. Our bankers are so smug and very malas. Want to make quick money and show shareholders they are making money without leaving air-con office. How to do? It’s difficult to monitor a business loan. You need brains to do that. You think our bankers know what future energy sources are all about or will invest in… Read more »


Banks love speculators, whether into housing, stocks and shares, commodities, gold, currencies or futures. They love the fast and furious for more instant profits, so you and me the average Ah Chong, Ali or Mutu can’t even dream of investing a few hundred ringgits, let alone for the less than 3% FD interest. These banks are even insured if any or all credit card holders default payments or proclaim bankrupt. So, banks will never die in Malaysia, until doomsday when there is no useless money left in the deposits for them to roll or play around. Developers are in the… Read more »

Sammy Boy

Yes. Penang should retain the old heritage to become a full-fledge UNESCO certified island. No more building more than 4 story high. All building must be old design build with timber with zinc roof. No more shopping mall. Build kedai runcits with kaki lima for those ‘downward no-mobile’ fellows and do not renew the lesen for hypermarket. No more the likes of Starbucks as we prefer to squat at roadside to eat our cendol. No lesen for fancy restaurant, we want nasi kandar hawker the old way by the roadside.


Dear Impressionable Boy, go to: http://www.csend.org/index.php
The Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND) aims at promoting equitable, sustainable and integrated development through dialogue and institutional learning.
And understand more and better for your own good and your children’s future.


If we have no illegal stalls choking the already narrow roads in Penang, we will have less traffic congestions.
TNB would ask for all kinds of legal document before they connect power to your home, but for a illegal roadside stall – just bring long the location map, and the TNB technicians will hook up power for you in 24 hours.

Sammy Boy

It is the ‘Abang-Adek’ relationship between the illegal traders and TNB personnel to make that possible. anyway it is a culture for a certain kind of people in Bolehland to sell things on the roadside.


Yes. Continue to trade illegally on roadside for generations to come. Hopefully Gerakan or Prihatin BN can get them affordable houose in Penang.


with higher density, you would have a bigger apartment at cheaper price

USM Bizad

Obvioulsy you lack business thinking.


Let’s get some things straight: Before we start talking about some TOD or Penang becoming some model city/ state, comparing to EU/ USA… let’s just be realistic about certain things. First of all, things on the ground, the basic amenities are not taken care of, e.g infrastructure, welfare system ( but oops, many Malaysians don’t want to sacrifice their tax money), health, cleanliness and waste management etc So why the heck are we spending money on things like TOD or the likes of it? All these are just the work of a strong business lobby group, and LGE is under… Read more »


BTW, are Penang people aware of TOD? Or they are just too “busy” and lazy to learn about TOD?

Bare in mind that, TOD are mean to SHRINK the road for car, more walkways for people. Are “car-addicted” Malaysian ready for this?

TOD means REVOLUTION to city road and transport usage. But I heard no news about Penang government going to recover the road and transportation rights from federal government.

Feringgi Boy

Most of you have missed a key point. Basic Economics teaches us ‘Demand & Supply’. Certainly there is great demand for property in Penang (be it for living or for investment). As the island has limited space, naturally demand outstrips supply, resulting in higher price. Please ask yourself why there is a hign demand for Penang property, especially after the last election. It is a good place to live now that Gerakan is gone (long before Keng Yaik put a final nail to Gerakan’s coffin). Many Penangites went to study/work in Penang in the 80’s. Now they are back with… Read more »

Penangite in Singapore

Anil Please check up this article by Dennis Chan (Deputy Property Editor of Sunday Times, Singapore) entitled ‘My Dream property in Penang’ dated 19 Sept 2010. http://finance.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/RealEdge/message/15703?l=1 I believe Dennis is an ex-Penangite working in singapore. He wrote: “Despite rising prices, some upmarket condos at the much sought-after Tanjung Bungah area might not be that far out of reach for middle-class Singaporeans, given the stronger purchasing power here.” ‘A 1,100 sq ft, one-bedroom unit at Quayside condo is selling for RM800,000. Offers 270 degrees of unblocked views of Gurney Drive, Batu Ferringhi and the Andaman Sea. Can buy?’ So with… Read more »


In order for ordinary Penangites to afford soaring prices:

1) Take up more loan
2) Invest in Amanah Saham 1Malaysia
3) Vote for BN who has promise to increase your take-home pay (if you believe)
4) Moonlight as Taxi Sapu driver
5) Operate on roadside to save money on lesen and rental
6) Ask Umno for non-haram wang ehsan
7) Be a squatter in a backwater ulu place or jungle in Penang, wait for eviction and compensation ala Buah Pala. Can try Pulau jerejak.


Q: Did the Penang Gomen do a survey of how many Penangites on the Island are still in the low income bracket? Q: Does the Penang Gomen know that even the low-middle to middle income groups are finding it hard to live a reasonably comfortable lifestyle in Penang Island with the prices of things going up. The Penang Gomen should give high priorities to those of the low and middle income groups (who form the majority) in the overall development plan especially housing which is an important social responsibility expected of any decent-minded local government. Given the plot ratio guidelines… Read more »

USM Bizad

If you cannot afford to live in the isalnd, then move the Seberang Prai where the housing is cheaper and you can still be a Penangite. We are not living in a welfare state.

Otherwise, work harder to amke more $$$ for yourself.


If this is the kind of thinking, woes be to the poor and those not so upward-mobile. In every society, there will be those who are no that filthy rich to influence every economic development to their selfish favours. The state gomen has to see to it to ensure balanced development policies to protect these segments of society. They may not be rich, but they are humans too. Mind you.
To say make more money is easier said than done with a shrinking cake in a cronyism and racist society.


Penang states government can enacts policies that forbids TOD building building car parks. Or impose extraordinary high parking license under TOD building.

That will cut down developers rent seeking on the car parks and jack up the building price.

OTH, Penang should not take the “easy ” way of federal government that only allow few developer join in the TOD. Open market to TONS OF RIVAL developer, bring in OVERSEAS developer, that can teach a lesson to many local rent seeking sucker developer.


WHat happened to the C A T policy ??


Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a scientific common sense town planning. A well monitored TOD, will optimum usage of resources. Less carbon omission, less pollution, less traffics congestion, less expenses.

The nearest country that use TOD are Singapore. There is also numbers of real world thesis from EU,USA about TOD.

BTW, Malaysia has ZERO TOD.

Penang government should be careful not to screw up. It can become model for other city in Malaysia.


LGE only wants rich people on Penang island and make it as congested as possible making the current traffic situation even worse. Those lowly paid workers need to spend more money travelling to work from the far corners of Penang or mainland, like Kepala Batas.


I fail to see why rich people would like the idea of High Density areas. Please explain.


Years of Gerakan rule has made Penangites too comfortable to face the reality of modern world.

If you are poor, then you should practise family planning to ensure your next generation has a better quality of life and better education. But this is not happening and the poor will continue to require assistance to live. Condoms are inexpensive way of achieving that. Use it in private and nobody would know.

SH Tan

The higher density (plot ratio) will NOT make aprtments more affordable. According to the Star report, only 5% of the built units (ie. 5 out of 100 units)will be priced below RM200K. Developers can now build 101 units from 35 units (assuming each unit is 1200 sq ft) per acre of land. Market forces and speculation will eventually determine the price. This is a business friendly policy ultimately causing a less liveable environment.

Jeremy Soong

Singapore have proven to be very successful despite being one of the most densely populated city. In the process the poors woke up and compete to earn a decent living as they find opportunity in large population to trade their skills.

Perhaps Penang can benchmark and take a leaf from there.

Don’t just complain, upgrade yourself and be brave to take up challenges. Don’t just cry up for government assistance….

Mat Saman

If you cannot afford to live in Penang, there are options in nearby Kedah or Perlis – good idyllic retirement home at lower cost. You can stretch your ringgit!!!

Give it a serious thought. You can always drive to Penang for your needed dose of Laksa or Kway Teow.

Tok Wan

Lowly paid workers must have faith in Najib and its BN transformasi to increase their take home pay. In the meantime, they can save money on milk for the children thanks to Susu 1 Malaysia they can get FOC in their school.


Yes, Najib has shown us that he has brought down the crime rate! Next we will get higher pay to welcome 2020. Life is wonderful under BN!

so simple

Life sure is wonderful for the Umnoputras and their BN cronies – looting our national coffers.

I am not so sure if life is that wonderful for the average Joe who has to rely on honest work for his daily bread.

Approving Authorities

House prices have gone through the roof in the last 18 months. I really wonder how any young couple starting out married life together can afford a home of their own without their parents chipping in.