Penang Transport Masterplan? Or Reclamation and Property Development Masterplan?

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Should the RM27bn Penang Transport Masterplan be renamed? Because it looks increasingly as if the planned improvement in the transport infrastructure in the state will bring with it massive land reclamation and (mainly high-end?) property development.

The 110 acres land-for-tunnel swap deal at Tanjung Tokong/Gurney Drive pales in comparison to what is in store under the Penang Transport Masterplan. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! Perhaps the cross-channel cable cars proposal is just a carrot being dangled in the sky above us while the elephant is the sea (pardon the mixed metaphors!).

The problem with these land swap deals is that it will hand vast tracts of public property, a free natural asset, to a small group of large corporations which will then be able to dictate land supply – and thus property prices – in the state. They will hold on to the (reclaimed) land banks and release a portion at a time to keep property prices high.  We are literally giving away the sea to a few large corporations (though of course the state can include conditions for ‘affordable housing’, etc). But the point is that huge swathes of land will fall under the control of large private developers. This is a far cry from how the PDC used to build entire townships, most of its low- to medium-cost housing e.g. Seberang Jaya and Bayan Baru (towns were a bit drab maybe, but the homes within them were well within the reach of the ordinary rakyat).

Massive land reclamation could have a heavy impact on the currents, fisheries and the ecosystem of the state. It didn’t inspire confidence when the DOE did not respond to the numerous concerns raised by Penang Forum arising from the detailed EIA for the land reclamation for Sri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 and instead approved it in double-quick time.

It looks as if there are plans to carry out land reclamation in two or three different areas to raise funds for the Penang Transport Masterplan – while providing a lucrative return to property developers.

Southern Penang Island – 4000 acres?

On 25 March 2015, the Penang Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that the Penang Airport be expanded and upgraded to include a second runway, integrated cargo facilities, and a maintenance, repair and overhaul hub. To facilitate this, “Kerajaan Negeri telahpun membuat perancangan untuk menyediakan tanah bagi projek naik taraf dan pembesaran LTAPP ini, termasuklah kerja-kerja menambak laut ratusan ekar di bahagian selatan LTAPP” (the state government has made plans to prepare land for the airport expansion and upgrading, including hundreds of acres of land reclamation south of the airport).

A Star report noted: “The payoff for building the LRT project (from the airport to Komtar) is the right to reclaim 1618ha (4000 acres) at either the southern part of the island, of which about 485ha (1200 acres) will be used for the future expansion of the airport and to expand the Free Industrial Zone, or at a 607ha (1500-acre) stretch between the Penang Bridge and the mouth of Sungai Pinang, an area popularly known as the Middle Bank.”

Or Middle Bank – 1500 acres?

Mainland Penang – 400 acres near North Butterworth Container Terminal and 1000 acres near Bagan? (See the same Star report.) The state must clarify if they are also eyeing the mainland for land reclamation.

I think we are talking about a few thousand acres in all.

Three foreign-Malaysian consortiums and three listed Malaysians firms have reportedly been shortlisted to serve as the ‘project delivery partner’ for the Penang Transport Masterplan.

It was reported in July 2014 – before the request for proposals – that Gamuda Bhd was the favourite to land the project.

The talk is that a well-resourced China firm is also in the picture. The Star reported yesterday: “According to reliable sources, Gamuda Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, and a Chinese company have been shortlisted to undertake the projects, the bulk of which would be funded through land reclamation rights in the state.”

If the state government can draw interest from firms like Gamuda for the Masterplan and can write to the PM regarding the airport, why can’t it instead call again on the federal government to improve the bus service and the deplorable ferry service?

As it stands, we might as well call the blueprint the ‘Penang Land Reclamation and Property Development Masterplan’ which is piggybacking on the Penang Transport Masterplan.

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hamster

A street food enthusiast cum ghost adventurer turn heritage activist next to become Penang YB using aniletto.com as political campaign platform?

tunglang

I put my vote on PR before. That’s politics.
I put my trust on DAP before. That’s human.
I put my risk on an alternative political entity before. That’s foolhardy (after the true revelation of CAT for what stuff it is made of).
What’s more do you expect me to do? Sit quiet & pray-pray for a miracle?

Anilnetto.com is a mighty river with wide audience, local & international. Use it if one has to.
Unless one has no courage nor principles to live by.

Anyway, to skin a CAT (Niao Kong) is politics & paranormal.

hamster

USM Socialogy should study the impact of high end “migration” of Rich people to the island, whether they can create positive consequences by bringing more wealth to the masses and lift the economic status of the general rakyat.

tunglang

Penang Transport Masterplan without Penang Local Plan (missing perpetually till Kingdom comes) in all appropriate measures be acknowledged publicly as Penang Tokong MasterCATplan.
No need to play hide & seek with the public – secretly swap-deals before public acknowledgement of swapping Penang’s scarce assets for unpalatable developers’ playground experiment.

If you have a viable future, avoid the Money-Cemented-Brain Tokong at all cost.

Kevin

If land must be reclaimed I hope it is at the southeast end of the island. Firstly, Middle Bank has the seagrass bed.

Secondly, there is not much space there between the Island and Mainland. Reclamation will cause sedimentation and they might as well then reclaim the entire sea and join both the island to the mainland (that way they can scrap any plans for a tunnel).

Thirdly, expansion of the Penang airport is needed. The airport is already so congested despite being upgraded only a few years ago.

tunglang

Big Question #1: How many Penangites in total really need this dizzying amount of development i.e. mostly high-end properties, high density condos, highways, never-ending reclaimed lands, bigger airport, cement, cement, cement? Did the state development authority make a thorough study on the cultural-socio-economic makeup & plan accordingly? Or is it a “ti chhe-bo” desperate state gomen for quickie development fund via swap-deal regardless of the type & quantum of questionable development in store for us? Q: What exactly is the Niao Kong’s vision for Penangites or more precisely for the rich, the famous & the greedy developers? Big Question #2:… Read more »

Michael

“The problem with these land swap deals is that it will hand vast tracts of public property, a free natural asset, to a small group of large corporations which will then be able to dictate land supply – and thus property prices – in the state.” Now link that to the pressure being placed on the Malaysian Government to sign onto the TPPA. What I see emerging globally is a direct attack on democracy. Government elected by citizens and held accountable by them. Multi National Corporations will become the new dictators of our world…they are already arrogantly taking countries like… Read more »

gk ong

“.. this could have a heavy impact on the currents, fisheries and the ecosytem of the area. ”

We can see such evidence in Johor – Pengerang & Forest City – where reclamation has caused environmental damages, and affected the livelihood of the fishermen.

freddy

I notice that Anil has stopped topics on local politics ever since the new Sedition Act came in. I hope he has not been warned by the local authority.

tunglang

Anil, let your mighty river flow to where your conscience leads you.
You have a life purpose, so don’t be influenced by anyone, politician or historian or whoever has the bigger say.
One life, live it your way. Accomplish your purpose.

ajith v

Clearly many bloggers are now afraid to criticise the BN regime. So they turn to bashing Pakatan as evident in this blog. The sedition act really scares the … of them. Sad!

gk ong

The US State Department on Wednesday issued a statement noting their “concern about restrictions of freedom of expression” with the amendments to the Sedition Act.

“Particularly worrying are new provisions that increase penalties –including for first-time offenders –and could make sharing allegedly seditious material on social media a crime,” the statement said.

It is not wrong to assume that Anil is adopting a wait-&-see approach to play safe as he is a prominent blogger. So far bloggers like Niamah (Patrick Teoh) and nkkhoo (now only writes health matters) are said to have been warned and silenced by MCMC and PDRM.