Penang Turf Club: After PGCC, this…

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Reports have surfaced that the Penang Turf Club has called for bids to buy or develop 23ha of its 104ha plot of land.

The Edge reported that E & O Bhd said it had submitted a bid. The NST said speculation has it the call had attracted proposals from major developers such as E & O, SP Setia Bhd, IJM Land Bhd and Mah Sing Group Bhd.

Last October, another report said the Turf Club was going ahead with a RM30 million project to build 25 bungalows  which it hoped would generate close to RM2 million annually in rental income. The bungalows were to be built on 5.6 acres of land on the fringe of the racecourse close to Jesselton.

The latest news about the 23ha suggests that the Turf Club is increasing looking at property development. Over the years, horse-racing has been losing its appeal as a spectator sport. More young adults have been drawn to Premier League football; so it wasn’t surprising when Berjaya tried to capitalise on that by trying to kick off sports betting.

With horse-racing now fading into a sunset sport, the Turf Club appears to be trying to turn its property asset into money-making ventures. The other reason for this interest in property development could be the scare the Club received when calls were made for the Turf Club land to be turned into a public park after the PGCC scandal fiasco – so what better way for the Club to ensure that the land remains zoned as ‘mixed development’ than to quickly start building on it before a far-sighted administration tries to return the land to ‘recreational’ status.

If you recall, it was the BN state administration that surreptitiously rezoned the land from ‘recreational’ to ‘mixed development’ – instantly providing a durian runtuh for the ‘Patrick Badawi’-led Penang Global City Centre  developer and the Turf Club, which owns the valuable prime land.

Looking further back, the Turf Club was awarded its present plot of land in Batu Gantung. No doubt it may be ‘Grade A’ land, but the rationale for granting the land to the Club was so that it could be used for public recreation as a racecourse. To ensure the the plot remained for recreational use, the local government zoned the land as such.

It was one of the big betrayals of the last BN government that it allowed the land to be rezoned to ‘mixed development’, which facilitated the PGCC scare and handed a whopping unrealised revaluation surplus to the owners of the land. And what did the local government get in return?

Out of the 23ha land mentioned in the latest reports, some 16ha are reportedly believed to be hilly land. See this excerpt from a Business Times report:

Property valuers say the price for that 23ha site could amount to between RM160 million and RM180 million.

It is understood that some 16ha are on a hill.

A valuer contacted by Business Times, who had said that the piece of hillside land in Penang could not be developed, quoted the price at between RM30 per sq ft and RM40 per sq ft.

The land below the hill has more value at about RM150 per sq ft.

The local government needs to clarify if such hilly land can be developed.

Civil society activists like Kanda Kumar maintain that a large portion of flat land must be reserved for public use. This excerpt from NST:

Kanda Kumar said this was because PTC’s land, which was previously zoned as an open space before it was re-zoned as a mixed development, was originally acquired from the state government at a nominal sum.

Since the land was given to PTC by the government for a nominal sum, the public should be compensated in some way and gain something from this development, he argued.

“The state government must impose the necessary restrictions in the interests of the people and not allow itself to be manipulated by developers.”

Penang Heritage Trust council member Loh-Lim Lin Lee urged the state government and the Penang Island Municipal Council to handle the development project and other future projects on PTC land transparently.

Loh-Lim said with the area being sensitive to development, the residents there should be properly informed of the permitted density, plot-ratio and building height and traffic dispersal plans.

“We do not want to be caught off guard again like the last time with the PGCC, so please tell us what is going on.

“The state might have stopped the PGCC, but we want to know if this will slowly progress into the same kind of development,” she said.

It would seem as if the ‘ghost of PGCC’ is now back to haunt us.

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Stephen

As a tourist attraction turn it into a zoo. Panang Zoo

Mutu

How to have green lung if you cannot plant and grow a healthy tree?

kee

1st of all, Zakaria, i like your joke…ha ha ha!!!

Secondly, to all Penang people, please dont be angry with me by saying that i deem all of you as orang bodoh.

How can you guys voted for BN/Gerakan for the past 2 decades??? Bodoh betul !!! I think everyone was under the charm of Dr M then. I never once believe in him.

Thirdly, Yang, are you buying one bungalow there?

Reflections

The 25 bungalows there are for rent or at least, that’s what the PTC originally intended.

But not to worry, Yang, SP Setia is building another 11 bungalows just next to it along Brook Road. All gated and guarded meaning that Anil and I probably won’t be allowed to go walkies inside.

You only need to fork out RM5m ( at least ), that’s all. Ha! Ha!

sarah

Given the choice, i dare say the “neighbours”. i.e. residents of Jesselton, Western Rd , Ayer Rajah etc would on anyday prefer to have the bungalows than 30 blocks of apartments.

Yang

Kee,
I would not be able to afford the bungalow there. The condo bought at 400k would now be worth 600-700k. With the 30 apartments (low & medium end) and shop lot planned by the previous government, the condo unit would have drop very drastically. But now with the 25 bungalows, at least the area would still be considered as high end and the value of my condo unit would at least be maintained even if it did not appreciate.

AlbertG

This (political) eunuch KTK is a puppet on a string controlled by corrupted UMNO. The … useless Gerekan sons … See no evil, hear no evil so long I have my share (of the spoils). All concern Penangites, let’s have 1 mind, vote out BN in the next GE. Then you will see the difference.

Pretty Obvious

All this postings really make my blood boil.

This political eunuch Koh Tsu Koon really is the greatest disaster to hit Penang in the last 20 years.

jamie

Lim KY finally confirmed that the ostrich KTK is the culprit, submiting to UMNO all these years at the expense of the people of Penang.

Let’s revive the Pearl of Orient under the leadership of LGE!!!

Zakaria

Turf Club land may be deemed ‘haram’ by our overzealous ustaz and ulama due to the activities it once had. Even if you turn it into a green lung, the UMNO fellows may not like it as the color green will be associated with PAS.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi Zakaria,

Who cares about what UMNO fellas like/dislike, especially Pg UMNOputras, like Azhar and co.? Optometrists would tell you greenery is best for your eyes to feast on!!

So, whatever is the outcome of the Turf Club land – given away at nominal rate as recreation land by Gerakan-led and UMNO-dictated former State GOvt. – the plan should not compromise the environment!!

We don’t want another so-called ‘natural disaster’ of the unprecedented scale of the Rajang river, precipated by heavy rains to occur with landslides, etc, on the Turf Club land in the not too distant future!!

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi Anil,

Thanks for the correction. My apologies!

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone, Like tunglang, many people would want to know the possible legal implications in undoing the former BN administration’s ‘betrayal’ of converting the land from recreation land to mixed development land! Is it possible to reconvert it back to recreation land, with minimal financial cost to present Govt and Penangites? If not, would it be possible to gazette part of the land back to recreation land, while the balance to be jointly developed by a State agency and the Turf Club, though the proposed realty development should synchronise with existing land use in the area. And ensure that the… Read more »

Yang

Its better to have 25 bungalows than 30 blocks of apartment planned by the previous admin

sarah

Totally agree. Imagine the traffic congestion 30 blocks of apartments would create.

Plain Truth

The state government should let us know the quantum of the compensation that will have to be paid to the PTC in the event of a state buyback.

This is yet another financial disaster the political eunuch KTK left us.

AlbertG

State Government should hold dialog/forum with interest groups/NGO’s to get their views. We have to look into both sides. You people out their are giving all sorts of stories, its so complicating.

tunglang

Anil, what will be the legal implication or obstacles to convert the PTC land zoned as ‘mixed development’ back to ‘recreational’ status?
Does the Penang Gomen have the legal rights to revert land use status?

Already, we are witnessing coveteous, indifferent greeds in the likes of ‘property hyenas’ waiting at PTC doorsteps to pounce on whatever precious green assets are left in Penang Island.

Or, should we form a ‘No To Killing of PTC Green Lung’ protest?
It’s high time for people’s power to act.

Kadir

To understand ‘greed’, please read the Barry Wain’s masterpiece ‘Maverick Mahathir’. A lot of revelation to make you think hard for the next election!!!!

tunglang

Already made up my mind, brother. To hell with them!

Ong Eu Soon

LGe should has the gut to convert the land to it’s original status. He should do so to prove that he does not carved in to big business in the name of development, especially after the Can’t Cari Makan Episode at Penang airport…

Ann Seng

Are you saying LGE has to clean the … from KTK?

DAP = UMNO

No, LGE has no gut to do anything

i told you so

LGE had already joined hand with the ppl of ptc..:D
my bro patrick lim is back….yeah……building from a new company from ipoh….hint for you ….kl bigggest mall…is patrick lim’s new company…yeahhhh baby…

moo_t

IMHO. The turf-land are too CHEAP if Penang government sell it to developer. While joint-development on the turf club location will NOT seen any return for Penang government in medium period.
As long as Penang state government didn’t sell the land, the bargains is always there.

All screw-up “developments” are difficult to undo. If Penang state government make the location for public use, a meet up place for Penang people, do it correctly, it will help strengthen the current state government.

MyBlog

And so, what is new. Hasn’t it always been the case, the politicians and the businessman always win and we the rakyat always end up paying for it. Can someone check how was this land acquired by the turf club, I do know that in the old days, the government used to give away land for recreational purposes. If yes then, it is land held in trust and should be taken back by the gormen and converted into parks and there should be some way to make this change permanent. The turf club should be banished to the mainland which… Read more »

Maniam

Use it to build low-cost housing (5% discount for bumi) and everyone will be happy?