In 2016, we were told that the population on the three artificial islands in Penang to be created by land reclamation would be 300,000. The three islands would cover 4,500 acres, making it much larger than Forest City in Johor.
But in 2017, reports were saying that the population forecast for the three islands was 367,000. This was calculated by estimating that 111,327 houses would be built on the three islands, and the average household size in each house would be 3.3 by 2030
And now, in 2019, apparently in item No 6 of the 18-point “advice”, the projected population for those three islands is 446,300. Amazing.
Consider this, it took 200 years for the population of Penang Island to reach just over 700,000.
And now we are expected to believe that we are going to get over 400,000 additional people crammed into those three islands by 2030? Where are they are going to come from, especially when only about 20% (has it gone up to 30% now?) of those 111,000 homes on those three islands would be supposedly “affordable”. What’s so special in those three artificial islands?
Let’s look at the three components of population growth: births, deaths and net inward migration.
Births – The Total Fertility Rate in Penang has dropped to 1.391 in Penang. The rate has been well below the population replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman since 2001. So the natural population growth is negative (see chart below).
Deaths – This has remained relatively static since the 1980s; so increases in longevity will not contribute significantly to population growth (see chart below)
Net inward migration – This is the main contributor to population growth but it has averaged just over 9,000 per year since 1992 (see chart below).
So how is Penang going to get over 400,000 additional people on those three islands? You tell me.
SRS Consortium is projecting an average of 6,000-7,000 people per year moving into those three islands over the next 50 years. But why would three quarters of the annual net inward migration focus on the dense three islands, especially when lots more high-end development is sprouting up in reclaimed land at Tanjung Tokong, Gurney Drive, along the Jelutong Expressway, Bayan Mutiara and along the Queensbay waterfront – not to mention all the property development on the mainland, especially in Batu Kawan.
So where are those 400,000 going to come from? Are they going to be foreign buyers?
It just doesn’t compute. So who are they building for?