Is the natural and cultural heritage of Penang up for sale?

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This is a guest post by Prof Emeritus Eric Britton:

What troubles me most about the permissiveness and the ambition of present government policies in so many areas – such as protecting the forest reserves as just one example — is the entire matter of irreversibilities of which there are far too many examples and which do not seem to be taken into consideration.

This is not a matter of party politics but of the importance that democratically elected officials simply do not have the right to give away the natural or cultural heritage of the place in which they have been designated to oversee and protect.

They are not the temporary owners who can do what they want with the natural or cultural heritage. They are custodians, caretakers and responsible not only to the immediate exigencies of their community but also of the future for years to come. And this future, in a working democracy, cannot be given away.

Here is the lesson that I have learned not only from my last three years of active association with the transportation debate in Penang, but experience in a significant number of cities and regions on all continents — including my nation of birth the United States of America, which is all too often far from a beacon of light in these matters: that when government fails, for whatever reason, when the private sector pursues its immediate interest without due regard to the ecological, environmental or social impact of their actions on The Commons, there is only one sector that is prepared and able to step up to the challenge. The Third Force, Civil Society, the organisations and committed individuals who take the long view and, when they have to, are ready to step forward to meet the challenge.

Penang is lucky to have a generous selection of these groups, civil society and NGOs, and all I can hope for is that they band together and protect this delicate pearl. Because without your active, aggressive, unfailing involvement, I fear for the worst. Eternal vigilance.

Eric Britton
Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy
Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris

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Ganesh
Ganesh
14 Oct 2016 12.13pm

I do not know Eric Britton, but I read Enid Blyton’s book when I was young!

tunglang
tunglang
14 Oct 2016 2.27pm
Reply to  Ganesh

So what? Grow up.

Rover
Rover
16 Oct 2016 8.02pm
Reply to  tunglang

No reason for you to make such remark as though you are offended.

tunglang
tunglang
16 Oct 2016 11.54pm
Reply to  Rover

What’s your input? If ever any good reason beyond this.

zoro
zoro
17 Oct 2016 8.27pm
Reply to  Rover

he oredi provides the input. you cant read. no wonder you bark.

zoro
zoro
15 Oct 2016 2.34pm
Reply to  Ganesh

good you speak the fact unlike those love barking.

gk ong
gk ong
19 Oct 2016 2.48pm
Reply to  zoro

I suspect those who donate to this blog can bark louder?

tunglang
tunglang
19 Oct 2016 11.09pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Anil, I am not rich to donate here or there.
But I can use what I have to bring to light those unsavoury things in our midst.
Esp from those whom we initially trusted but UBAH for their own benefits.
Karma knows what I am talking about.
Anyway, if wanting to qualify who barks the most, just add the many CAT trolls here. Including the Knee-Jerks.

Yonny
Yonny
20 Oct 2016 3.21pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

I think you will gain more respect for your writings if you stop using those syiok sendiri derogatory metaphors that is offending. You can see most readers do not see them funny judging by the high number of thumbs down you have received. Also please stop ‘ka see’ (educate) other readers who do not share your views. That is why Anil has politely hinted to you to put across your views more soberly.

Ong Eu Soon
13 Oct 2016 9.38pm
Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran
12 Oct 2016 10.58pm

Correction – it is not for sale but already sold! That’s what happens when we have the top 3 leaders of the state are from out of Penang. None of the current leaders understand the rich, unique personality of Penang neither d they care. All they want is to keep the money rolling in by selling the state to the highest bidders from out of the state. The state is slowly but surely going bankrupt culturally, morally and economically.

Frankly Yong
Frankly Yong
12 Oct 2016 11.24am

Talking about Penang heritage buildings, more than 30% have been sold, and continue to be sold to the cash rich Singaporeans! Apparently they are the more capable investors to rehabilitate the decrepit n ramshackle pre war buildings making them to become sort of China Town of Singapore. This suppose to be job of a responsible State government as the custodian or even the trusty of these heritage properties in the heritage zoning but conveniently given away to foreign investors to commercialise its status! After all what’s more important than making Penang a mini Hongkong or Singapore associate?! What is ecological… Read more »

David Loman
David Loman
12 Oct 2016 4.49pm
Reply to  Frankly Yong

Penang Front Party wants to emulate Singapore to build a casino, Resort World Jerejak is in the making, if Niao Kong is ousted?

tunglang
tunglang
15 Oct 2016 8.52pm
Reply to  David Loman

Building a casino on Pulau Jerejak is not new news. I read somewhere online one particular developer buddy-buddy with Komtar also has a casino dream fro this leprosy island, only that it was not ripe for the dreaming. So, what we see as CAT furry is just a sandiwara for popular sentiments.

Ganesh
Ganesh
16 Oct 2016 7.23pm
Reply to  tunglang

Easy to make accusations like LSS.
PFP wanted casino, just stick to this fact.

tunglang
tunglang
16 Oct 2016 11.49pm
Reply to  Ganesh

Pls understand what is “I read somewhere online”.
This is not accusation unlike your mentality to dump all things unfavourable to your idol as enemy line.
Grow up commenting!

Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran
17 Oct 2016 12.13pm
Reply to  tunglang

I wouldn’t be surprised that if DAP retains the state in the next GE, some well connected developer / unknown company makes a multi-billion proposal to develop Pulau Jerejak into an integrated resort with “entertainment and tourism products” in exchange of land swaps.

gk ong
gk ong
19 Oct 2016 2.39pm

Possible, as the federal government is depriving Penang the required fund for development. So Penangites should consider Pakatan taking over the federal government in the next GE.

zoro
zoro
16 Oct 2016 1.28pm
Reply to  David Loman

we also read somewhere in land of the …

Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran
17 Oct 2016 12.11pm
Reply to  David Loman

DAP shouldn’t pretend to be morally upright and with high principles. The damage that casino can bring upon Penang is nothing compared to the destruction of heritage, environment and quality of life that DAP has brought upon us. I don’t support the idea of a casino but one can choose not to patronize the casino but we are helpless against the relentless and destructive policies of the Tokong.

gk ong
gk ong
19 Oct 2016 3.22pm

Kindly enlighten readers on specific incidents of ‘destruction of heritage’ that has taken place in Penang.

tunglang
tunglang
19 Oct 2016 11.02pm
Reply to  gk ong

You want to know what is heritage all about?
It’s more than just buildings to buy up to renovate to slippery expensive properties!
Go to: Penang Heritage Trust (www.pht.org.my)
Or better still, drop by for a talk of enlightenment.

Gempak
Gempak
12 Oct 2016 5.26pm
Reply to  Frankly Yong

Actually Penang should be proud of to be associated with Singapore.
Maybe can get Singapore’s expertise to build HDB as affordable homes?

tunglang
tunglang
15 Oct 2016 8.56pm
Reply to  Gempak

If CAT wanna emulate SingLand’s public housing (HDB) initiative, it would have had been a done deal starting 8 years ago. BUT the swap dealings tilting to developers favour won’t see the light of day of HDB-type housing for Penang. Who got the Money twist the arms hardest! Not least of CAT’s paw twisting!

zoro
zoro
16 Oct 2016 1.36pm
Reply to  Gempak

if 8 years ago, then 40% penang lang now will be living in pigeon holes and nearer to belum valley. since only heritage houses will be kept then we will be seeing more low rise houses be tear down for more pigeon holes

tunglang
tunglang
16 Oct 2016 11.52pm
Reply to  zoro

The fact is CAT is not willing to build HDB type housing while wanna emulate the ‘shining’ aspect of slippery cosmopolitan development Ala SingLand for own political portfolio to boast which don’t benefit the majority. Paham kah???

zoro
zoro
17 Oct 2016 8.34pm
Reply to  zoro

you are not willing to live in tree top in belum let alone pigeon holes …

Damien
Damien
23 Oct 2016 11.28am
Reply to  zoro

30 years ago most Malaysians ridiculed Spore HDB flats as pigeonholes not fit for decent living.

Today most Malaysians could not afford such flats in their own country.
The Spore HDB flats today are equivalent to those RM600K condominium in Maia in terms of design and quality. Also the Spore town councils maintain the housing estate effectively to provide clean and safe environment, unlike those high density low cost flats in Maia – dirty, poorly maintained lifts and lightings.

zoro
zoro
12 Oct 2016 9.42pm
Reply to  Frankly Yong

please explain how can it be custodians of state gomen when not every state gomen can provide public housing.? you want state gomen to collect old antics too? even rich sing or hk gomen do not buy all private like in bullock cart street, funeral street in chinatown. they let those love old bldgs who are willing to pay and carry out maintainence if state gomen buys means you also buy and pay maintenence. but state gomen has less money for building district libraries and exercise parks for senior citizens like you can get in tong shan

zandra
zandra
15 Oct 2016 10.43am
Reply to  Frankly Yong

OK to be like Singapore if our Ringgit can be on par with SingDollar. Now our purchasing power is so low. Singapore has prosper and no complain from its citizen enjoying high standard of living and can afford overseas holiday with strong currency. Here we can only cuti cuti Malaysia while the regime curi curi 1Malaysia via 1MDB.

tunglang
tunglang
15 Oct 2016 8.59pm
Reply to  zandra

Yeah, you are realistic. Unlike those who salivate without brains.
Even salivate when rents in George Town go up like nobody business.
And still can cheer!

zoro
zoro
16 Oct 2016 1.41pm
Reply to  zandra

it is not no body’s business. it is willing seller’s and buyer’s. if do not like ask a gee to investigate and charge them in court if below market value. Mm dont think

tunglang
tunglang
16 Oct 2016 11.57pm
Reply to  zoro

Here comes your gee! Now, dare to deny that (gee)?

gk ong
gk ong
19 Oct 2016 2.51pm
Reply to  zoro

Expect free rental like in Mara Digital?

Kiu Long Ya
Kiu Long Ya
12 Oct 2016 10.57am

Aiyah, heritage matter is secondary now that many need boost-up RM to sustain live – cari makan susah betul betul, hutang peribadi macam hutang ahjibkor betul betul susah lah

Saljeet
Saljeet
13 Oct 2016 11.51am
Reply to  Kiu Long Ya

Ah Jib is using tax payers’ money to launch his own app?

bumi non malay
12 Oct 2016 6.18am

The UMNO-PAS BN wants to change every English street, building name in Penang to Malay IS Islam name….. to reflect Malay…..More dumb down….

Gempak
Gempak
12 Oct 2016 5.23pm
Reply to  bumi non malay

The Umno professor wants George Town be renamed Tanjung, Butterworth be called Bagan.

Saljeet
Saljeet
13 Oct 2016 11.52am
Reply to  bumi non malay

Dragon-i could eventually Dragon-islamic?

gk ong
gk ong
19 Oct 2016 2.46pm
Reply to  Saljeet

Already Aunty Anne will soon become Makcik Ani as Pretzel Dog is deemed not halal…

zoro
zoro
11 Oct 2016 9.33pm

why dont tell unesco? pg forum take the trouble to write the concern on transport hub in sia boey but unesco never bother to reply to the writers at least thanking for the trouble taken. anyway who are the real circus performers? after the initial bauhaha the cirus show has ended. every one has no more interest

Saljeet
Saljeet
11 Oct 2016 6.46pm

Why do you need the ang moh to tell us this?
Are we lacking the confidence and conviction to pursue heritage protection?
An area for heritage protection is in the street food, do not make it halal for the sake if expanding to growing muslim market. You will lose the authentic taste without lard and fried pork fat on the chinese noodles.

tunglang
tunglang
11 Oct 2016 8.21pm
Reply to  Saljeet

“Why do you need the ang moh to tell us this?”
Why talk like that?
No different from Jamal The Red!
Shouldn’t you be breathing the spirit of Niao Kong’s Cosmopolitan Penang?

Huahee-pikachu
Huahee-pikachu
12 Oct 2016 7.42am
Reply to  tunglang

Naturalized my 2nd homer Mark Lay also appear to put his figure upfront to protect heritage matter unlike local syiok sensitive writers remain unmasked, so we can expect the cries with no substantiated concrete action from these cry babies?

Gempak
Gempak
12 Oct 2016 5.25pm
Reply to  Huahee-pikachu

Mark Lay has to cari makan too as an expatriate in Penang.

tunglang
tunglang
12 Oct 2016 9.50pm
Reply to  Huahee-pikachu

You have contributed nothing meaningful + useful but self-haahee for Niao Kong!
At least I have had some articles + photos in anilnetto.com for Penangites.
Go drink more Sg Pinang Black Tea!!!

zoro
zoro
13 Oct 2016 9.38pm
Reply to  Huahee-pikachu

dont worry about meaningful. there is one far km ahead of us and bark the loudest trying to have those in mt komtar hear.

Gempak
Gempak
12 Oct 2016 5.24pm
Reply to  tunglang

Penang folks seem to respond only to Ang Moh?
Or the locals simply have no credibility?

Saljeet
Saljeet
13 Oct 2016 11.59am
Reply to  tunglang

Why must upu link Jamal with this issue?
Don’t just bark without using your head.

tunglang
tunglang
13 Oct 2016 8.56pm
Reply to  Saljeet

You can’t read a sentence?

zoro
zoro
14 Oct 2016 9.43pm
Reply to  Saljeet

with the barking din difficult to concentrate

zoro
zoro
12 Oct 2016 8.23am
Reply to  Saljeet

he is trying to tell you there is no democratic right to do with your own property and free market. they are also ignorant of seller and buyer deal. they also forget old owner does nothave the money to maintain the property snd become sore eye. try to maitain old cars of computer. new owner spent money to the cancerous patient and extend his life.

tunglang
tunglang
11 Oct 2016 4.59pm

Civilisation of Penang will be sold to the foreign corporations & in so doing, unless one has 9-lives, no one will not see what dreaded slippery future Pulo Pinang will head into. As mentioned by Eric of Sacred Rents, the sacred rents invested in Penang in the past since pre-Merdeka are now irrelevant in the pursuit of Cosmopolitan Penang. We may argue the world is progressing (materially) in the ‘right’ direction, but are we cautioning our motives or pursuits in the holy name of commercialisation of most things? Not least of all, swap deals that will hammer a socio-cultural &… Read more »

Camilia
Camilia
14 Oct 2016 10.45am
Reply to  tunglang

Why never ask why the real wages never go up after all these years while the Ringgit continues to free fall in value?

tunglang
tunglang
15 Oct 2016 3.23pm
Reply to  Camilia

Tell me why Penangites can get paid well overseas while they cannot get paid well here?
Same skills, same workers, same productivity!
Tell me how come? Maybe you are one of the Kiam Siap bosses!

Ho Say Leow
Ho Say Leow
15 Oct 2016 8.19pm
Reply to  tunglang

Penangites strive harder to become more creative in overseas environment so they rightfully earn more to afford to buy condos deemed expensive by the locals.

Don’t blame Kiam Siap bosses, such resilient trait a trademark of heritage Penang-langs.

tunglang
tunglang
16 Oct 2016 8.54am
Reply to  Ho Say Leow

What a feeble excuse!
My friend who was a so-so creative designer & so-so in SingLand can earn more over there!
What’s the difference in expertise?
Everyone strives hard if not to earn less.
It’s liken to housing, the cartel price quantum set by developers akin to Kiam Siap bosses’ wage rates in labor market.
Get real to reality instead of drowning in the assumptions. Unless you are still … ‘raw’ … in the rat race.

zoro
zoro
16 Oct 2016 1.45pm
Reply to  Ho Say Leow

not kiam siap bosses. it is barking bosses and want workers like …

zoro
zoro
15 Oct 2016 2.39pm
Reply to  tunglang

no need to know who has the donkey brain.

tunglang
tunglang
15 Oct 2016 9.02pm
Reply to  zoro

… Pls go recheck what you spewed in past articles!

zoro
zoro
16 Oct 2016 1.00pm
Reply to  zoro

only … need to recheck. as they do not understand the term ” NO NEED TO CHECK”

Simon
Simon
11 Oct 2016 4.22pm

Ex natural and cultural heritage of Penang, Guru is now the mayor in Wellington New Zealand. Thanks to abused affirmative policy NZ sets to gain from brain drain out of Bolehland
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/10/11/malaysian-voted-mayor-in-new-zealand-town/

Simon
Simon
11 Oct 2016 4.20pm

Ex natural and cultural heritage of Penang, Guru is now the mayor in Wellington New Zealand. Thanks to affirmative policy NZ sets to gain from brain drain out of Bolehland
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/10/11/malaysian-voted-mayor-in-new-zealand-town/

Simon
Simon
11 Oct 2016 4.11pm

http://www.suaram.net/?tag=penang-forum

Penang Forumers should now KPI to assess accomplishments to date, otherwise people will assume activities ate mere syiok sendiri.

Also be alert Baljit maybe eyeing young forumers to represent Gerakan, better ask him to pick the potentials at Miss Pesta Penang come December.