Land reclamation plans: Hong Kong vs Penang

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Some similarities between the two places.

Last October, Hong Kong revealed plans to reclaim 4,200 acres to create artificial islands off the east coast of Lantau.

Penang too wants to reclaim 4,500 acres of the southern coast of the island to create three artificial islands.

The Hong Kong government says its reclamation can create “smart, green and resilient development”.

The National Physical Planning Council in Malaysia wants the Penang reclamation to result in a smart city that is green.

So is this a case of great minds think alike – or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Let’s look at Hong Kong’s population density – 7,000 people per sq km – compared to Penang’s density of 1,700 people per sq km (2,500 for Penang Island alone.) So Penang has even less of a case for massive land reclamation.

The Hong Kong government projects its population to rise from 7.3 million currently to 9 million (the figure in its 2030 Plus blueprint). But critics ask where these 9 million people are coming from. After all, Hong Kong folks are having fewer children. The Hong Kong Statistics Department expects the population to peak at 8.2 million in 2043 – that’s 800,000 fewer people compared to the 9 million figure in the government’s 2030 Plus blueprint projection.

Similarly, the Penang transport proposal projects the Penang population to rise to 2.45 million by 2030 – much higher than the 1.9 million projected by the Statistics Department. So where are the half a million extra people coming from? Like their Hong Kong counterparts, Penang folks are having fewer children – well below the population replaçement rate of 2.1 children per woman.

In Hong Kong as in Penang, a string of environmental groups have complained that the reclamation will “irreversibly damage” the environment, especially the coastal ecology. WWF Hongkong is reported as saying that reclamation has led to a drop in the number of dolphins by 70% and would hurt the fishing industry. “Fish rely on having natural coastlines for spawning,” said a spokesperson. “Building an artificial coastline erases that habitat.”

We haven’t even talked about the affordability of housing on the reclaimed land, with just 20% of the homes on Penang’s three new islands expected to be “affordable” – or have they raised it to 30% now? (In contrast, Hong Kong is planning for 70% of the 400,000 homes on the reclaimed land to be affordable.)

As in Hong Kong and Penang, critics argue there are other alternatives for land supply – more attention could be given to brownfield sites in Hong Kong’s New Territories and to spreading ‘development’ on mainland Penang.

So why the push for such massive land reclamation despite the strong backlash? The answer as always is easy. Follow the money trail and see who profits (contractors, developers and …) and who loses (the Commons, the fishermen and the public through increased scarcity of fish, leading to higher fish prices).

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Francis Yeo
Francis Yeo
27 May 2019 12.06pm

Hong Kong and China folks are coming to Penang to buy homes for their migration as Canada and Australia no longer welcome them.

Tee Hung
Tee Hung
27 May 2019 5.17pm
Reply to  Francis Yeo

True, Canada detained that Huawei daughter.
Australia and Nee Zealand support Trump to reject Huawei 5G.
So PRC cash will no longer go there.
Mahathir now support China.
CM Chow’s 3 islands will appeal to these Chinese from Hong Kong and China. CM Chow likely employ PRC contractors and construction firms.
Penang is better than Johor, definitely!

Shriek
Shriek
29 May 2019 10.07pm
Reply to  Tee Hung

Tu lang and Susu tay will shriek more

Kramer
Kramer
29 May 2019 11.32am
Reply to  Francis Yeo

Huawei effect will drive them away from western countries and down under. CM Chow must court them to settle in Penang!

Krt Scwitters
Krt Scwitters
27 May 2019 11.29am

I asked at a public meeting about the Penang Transport masterplan who would own these islands. After a lot of mumbling and shilly shallying some nonsense about this being a question better raised at another time, I asked if in fact Ideal Property Grop was to be the owner of these three superfluous islands. That resulted in “thank you for your question” but no answer. The large number of vacant “luxury condo” units on Penang Island might suggest to rational actors that ghost developments are the fruit of very bad short-sighted public policy, or alternatively outright corruption.

Shriek
Shriek
27 May 2019 7.43pm
Reply to  Krt Scwitters

Simple. If they are owner then they look after the roads and drains.

Wei
Wei
28 May 2019 11.51am
Reply to  Krt Scwitters

instead of propagate mistrust without substance why not report to MACC, or hand proof to dumno, pas, gelakan ,macai, mic so they can do the leg work for you… …?

Jordan
Jordan
25 May 2019 11.20am

See the progress of our neighbour Johor’s Forest City as at May 2018:

Kopi O Ah Pek
Kopi O Ah Pek
25 May 2019 9.35pm
Reply to  Jordan

Johor needs a Anil like social activist to counter the brilliance of Forest City

Wei
Wei
26 May 2019 12.24am
Reply to  Kopi O Ah Pek

the NGOs pick the weak to bully……you think they have the … to touch forest city??

Hairudin
Hairudin
29 May 2019 7.33pm
Reply to  Kopi O Ah Pek

Never understand how Forest City can help those displaced fishermen. Maybe they are compensated well to keep quiet? Developers sure make high profits.

maoxiong
maoxiong
27 May 2019 4.48pm
Reply to  Jordan

forest city on mosque built. not meant for local malays.

tunglang
tunglang
25 May 2019 7.20am

2 similarities:
Ignore Public Opinion, Reclaim the Fragile Sea, Spend More Money + Make More Money.
Despite available lands in the New Territories / Penang Mainland, which to these 2 Money-Obsessed Leaders are too ‘ulu’ to develop for the similar (housing) purpose.

Kopi O Ah Pek
Kopi O Ah Pek
25 May 2019 1.34pm
Reply to  tunglang

CM Chow in past property fair forum stressed that the future of Penang is in Prai. So this is not an irony as 3 islands are set for foreigners?

tunglang
tunglang
25 May 2019 7.07pm
Reply to  Kopi O Ah Pek

He is not walking the talk! He’s fooling Penangites!
Let’s see what else he will talk (kong song) like that 10 Year Vision for Penang.

Shriek
26 May 2019 12.59am
Reply to  tunglang

Ngos 10 years vision is like kota bharu.

Shriek
26 May 2019 12.57am
Reply to  Kopi O Ah Pek

Cm thinks is in prai but all ngos and tung land think otherwise. The ngos are not willing to move to mainland. Prai is not penang

Hairudin
Hairudin
29 May 2019 7.35pm
Reply to  Kopi O Ah Pek

Prai now got Ikea. Go place for families to hang out – sausage hot dog quite good reasonable price. But furnitures not cheap have to assemble ourself.

Wei
Wei
25 May 2019 2.14pm
Reply to  tunglang

what make you think you represent public opinion??…hehe

tunglang
tunglang
25 May 2019 7.03pm
Reply to  Wei

YESSSSSSSSS! What can you do? Go insane? But UR already he-he-he insane!!!

Wei
Wei
26 May 2019 12.23pm
Reply to  tunglang

you represent public opinion?? hehe…show us your BIG march rather than your BIG mouth lar…..

tunglang
tunglang
26 May 2019 9.48pm
Reply to  Wei

What can you do, idiot!

Wei
Wei
27 May 2019 7.26pm
Reply to  tunglang

BIG mouth proven….hehe

tunglang
tunglang
28 May 2019 7.04pm
Reply to  Wei

At the end of the day, what have you proven?
Nothing but he-he-he insanity of running others down which is not contributing any constructive good for Penang.
I have proudly signed up petition (created for & voted by the public) & that’s proven my representation (no matter how small is my one vote) of sane public opinion.

Shriek
26 May 2019 12.55am
Reply to  tunglang

Tung land, don’t you know in Hong land, a 400 or 500 sq apartment is further sub divided into 3 or 4 units. They call it cut room. Even expensive apartments in hk Island face the same situation for easy and affordable rent. In penang who is willing to move to backwaters like seberang?

tunglang
tunglang
26 May 2019 9.54pm
Reply to  Shriek

What’s your point? Like pigeon-housing in HK?

shriek
shriek
31 May 2019 1.44pm
Reply to  tunglang

Pg NGOs take the lead and show the way. Continue in cosy seat create free time,

Wei
Wei
27 May 2019 7.27pm
Reply to  Shriek

hehe….tu lang every day kpdb yet don’t want to move out…real funny …

Wei
Wei
25 May 2019 2.25pm

show us example of environmental disaster caused by land reclamation……no ?? maybe we should just go head and ignore these small group of people hell bent to sabotage economic development of Penang..

tunglang
tunglang
26 May 2019 9.52pm
Reply to  Wei

Either you are blind or in self-denial. Those videos show in anilnetto.com explicitly shared the dire consequences of sea reclamation off Tanjung Tokong. Dead crabs, suffocated fishes, damaged fishing nets, less king crabs.
You are the one hell bent on pushing for destruction of the sea environment.

Wei
Wei
28 May 2019 9.44am
Reply to  tunglang

yeah right the dead crabs told you so ?? save the crap for yourself …

maoxiong
maoxiong
27 May 2019 4.49pm
Reply to  Wei

so far nothing wrong with forest city. fishermen also no complain…

tunglang
tunglang
28 May 2019 7.15pm
Reply to  maoxiong

RU sure? Don’t spread a lie. Let me share this eye-opening for your own sanity + awareness. Read: Malaysia’s Forest City and the Damage Done https://thediplomat.com/2017/08/malaysias-forest-city-and-the-damage-done/ Directly affected by the ongoing reclamation works is the Tanjung Kupang intertidal seagrass meadow, the largest of its kind in Malaysia. Lying just two hundred meters away from Forest City’s landscaped beach, it covers a total area of 36 square kilometers and now has to accommodate an increasingly invasive neighbor. Experts agree that seagrass meadows are essential indicators of a shoreline’s health. When protected, they can contain some of the most diverse marine wildlife,… Read more »

Shriek
Shriek
29 May 2019 10.14pm
Reply to  tunglang

Why don’t Go and kbkb to xi and VIP. Not enough, join trump and fight xi now on environmental war.

Maxim
Maxim
31 May 2019 10.42am
Reply to  tunglang

Nothing wrong with forest City project because People dare not complain knowing the power behind the project?

shriek
shriek
31 May 2019 1.47pm
Reply to  tunglang

Tu lang’ go and shriek at the VIP??? Challenge him instead always shrieking ikan bilis