Something big is happening in southern Penang Island

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Note: This satellite image of the area is about a year old.

“If there’s something strange
In your neighbourhood
Who you gonna call?”*

The murmurs are growing louder in southern Penang Island – and still we haven’t been told exactly what to expect there.

A few years ago, well before the the land-for-highways/tunnel swap deal, a source told me confidentially that certain groups were mulling over a 3,000-acre land reclamation project, perhaps somewhere in the south of Penang. I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. 3,000 acres? You had to be kidding. At that time, 750 acres was considered huge; 3,000 acres unthinkable – or so I thought.

Now comes news that fisher folk in Permatang Damar Laut are worried about work being carried out by a group or company in the area which has been surveying, measuring and marking the coast and digging the seabed. Check out the CAP statement here.

I can guess what is in store: major land reclamation work to finance the RM30bn Penang transport masterplan (which includes the controversial construction of highways on the island).

Bloomberg TV Malaysia earlier reported:

As payment-in-kind for incurring the cost to build the infrastructure, the Penang state government will grant land reclamation rights to the PDP (Gamuda). It was reported in local media that the PDP could be allowed to reclaim 607ha of land in the Middle Banks area … or 1,618ha of land south of the island for property development.

Now, 1,618ha is about 4,000 acres. Bearing in mind that the artificial island off the coast of Tanjung Tokong under the massive Sri Tanjung Pinang land reclamation project (STP2, for high end property development) covers about 750 acres, how many artificial islands are we talking about along the southern coast? Where exactly are they going to find this 4,000 acres?

And why are many of the fisher folk apparently in the dark?

If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call…*

The state government appears to be proud of the rapid expansion of aquaculture in the state. But there is nothing to be proud of aquaculture (fish farms or fish in large cages, which have their own problems) in a state surrounded by sea.

I think it reflects a failure. The sea water around the state, if managed properly, could have been teeming with healthier ‘free range’ marine life for the fisheries sector. Instead, much of the fish in our wet markets is imported from Thailand and elsewhere in the region while the original ‘free range’ fisher folk in the state have had to cope with declining catches, sedimentation and siltation, probably caused by some of the earlier land reclamation.

The fisher folk are the main stakeholders (to use corporate parlance) immediately affected by any major land reclamation project. But in southern Penang Island, they don’t appear to have been told what is happening.

If you’re seeing things
Running through your head
Who can you call…*

In Tanjung Tokong, when faced with the the massive STP2 project in an area where a fishing village was close by, the fisher folk were told during a public consultation to try their hand at setting up seafood restaurants! Some of those present were flabbergasted to hear that.

Now, don’t give us that worn-out line that nothing has been approved so far in southern Penang Island or wait for EIA or other approval before commenting. We have gone down that road before. If we wait for approvals before wide-ranging consultations (as opposed to selective consultation in small focus groups, mostly for public relations purposes) are carried out, it would be too late. It would be a done deal.

We saw how the EIA approval for STP2 was given in a matter of only a few weeks after the ‘public display’ of the plans. This speedy approval came despite a lengthy list of concerns expressed by Penang Forum, a civil society network of Penang-based NGOs. These concerns were totally ignored by the DOE; no reply given. This does not inspire confidence in the EIA process.

Moreover, these projects are under swap deals. So what happens to the other part of the deal if at all the DOE rejects the EIA report. That is why swap deals are a bad idea.

So out with it now: in the name of transparency, tell us exactly what is happening in the southern coast of Penang Island, how big the area of land reclamation planned along the coast is, and how many acres of this will ultimately land up with developers to make huge profits.

The public has a right to know – now.

When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call…

and ask them what’s going on now.

* Courtesy: Ray Parker, Jr, Ghostbusters

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james k
benny

Press Statement by the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng in George Town on 13.11.2015 Barisan Nasional should concede the fact that their rule in Penang died and ended because of failed governance and lack of transparency, accountability and competency in running the Penang state administration. In terms of reclamation projects, I had revealed in the Penang State Assembly during my 2016 Penang State Budget presentation on 6 November 2015 that the Penang State Government had so far approved 60 acres of land for reclamation. In comparison, the previous Barisan Nasional state government had reclaimed 3241 acres of… Read more »

Hooray

Penangites so happy with IJM providing the Jelutong Highway, until they see The Light (offshore reclamation lifestyle commercial condo projects) that whole stretch off the 1st Bridge now off limits to general folks like you and me…….IJM laughing spent a bit then rewarded. Likewise, current favourite like Ideal Properties or SP Setia may give some to get long term more rewarding incentives later on?

LGE tak boleh

Do you think Penang State Government will make the concession agreement for Penang Undersea Tunnel and Penang Transport Master Plan public?

Penangites should press for it

jojo

I heard that Penang to have air-conditioned bus stops soon. Also George Town to have a Pasar Malam on 22 November.

Letchumi

Check with Parisign.

JJ

Now, LGE is envying Malacca lah !
Just compare the US10b investment from China to “fully” transform Pulau Malacca to the minute Penang projects !?

james k
Hooray

If land swapping to create more lifestyle environment friendly amenities affordable to majority while creating high paying jobs to the locals to combat high inflation, then we can applaud such strategy. Otherwise, be prepared for public outcry.

gk ong

Maybe because the Botanical Garden in Penang is under utilised as people prefer to spend leisure time in shopping malls, or the fitness centres within the malls?

Hooray

People’s Park at SPICE Arena formerly PISA still not visible. What we can see is multi-storey structures in front if indoor stadium for convention halls etc to accommodate at least 500 banquet tables. Question is if the green park portrayed in billboard for the public is on top of such high structures, how would the seniors can walk up easily to the top unless escalators provided?

Also we are waiting SP Setia folks to set up proper public bus stands at least 2 around SPICE Arena, currently none at all for RapidPenang passengers otherwise no CSR being practised!

rajraman666

Who is the local? Is the common ordinary Malaysian benefits from overdevelopment or the scratch my back and i scratch your back businessman? rajraman. Why in hurry to develop a new place.Market and buying power dropping day by day.Only selected fews can spend,speculate and make money.The sea and nature can’t bring back what is destroy by people’s .Plenty of land just across the Island.Develop it if really need the space.Leave nature alone.Leave some for the next generation to appriciate mother nature. However greed and showing off how successful one man with well Organized Power going to destroy living things where… Read more »

james k

Land swapping is also to fund the transport plan. Fed gov “generosity” can be seen in Budget 2016

The question is: Are there really no other ways to source for funding?

zoro

You can ask umno federal gomen for more $€£¥ since you and penangites pay more taxes. More so with gst

rajraman666

There is many ways to skin a cat. This famous “Tokong” barter trade future for $$$ for the sake of development. No different than Kelantan who sell Nature Timber to cover expenses. No difference than UMNO who sells locks,stock and barrel our Country. This Tokong sell lands to shows development. No Harm done? Politician – Is a carrier and will be rewarded … and most hardcore supporters don’t bother about future. They don’t question the well Organized Political Trader. I can’t post or question in … dead Pakatan online media.”BLOCK” Tunglang and glissantia already get each thump down. Who voted… Read more »

Letchumi

666 is insidious in the Book of Revelation. Anil please beware.

benny

Meanwhile, CNN reported this about Malaysia:

(CNN)Sandwiched between swanky Singapore, tourism-friendly Thailand and island filled Indonesia, Malaysia is a mishmash of both jungle and futuristic metropolis.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/12/asia/malaysia-overview/

tunglang

Let the CAT out of the bag, pls.
The Gelakan Ostrich head was buried deep in the mud.
We don’t need another buried truth, neither do we want to hear anymore blame game.
Surely a cat can point its paw at something, which we have got used to in Penang.
Q: Is structural development of this type the only way to develop a state?

tunglang

Go on. Give me more thumb downs. I will be more than happy. It shows one thing: I hit the CAT’s tail. Call it Political Trader or Swap Dealer, they are both the same. Selling away Penang in the name of Cosmopolitan Penang (for the rich & famous & greedy). Selling for fast track development which I suspect is more for political portfolio to showcase Niao Kong leadership, which I suspect has more interest in immediate self-aggrandisement than longer term social caring agenda for all strata of society. If money matter or the lack of it is the crux of… Read more »

tunglang

Great to know somebody got hurt on behalf of Niao Kong.

glissantia

Just trust us. We know what is actually good for you.

Does that sound familiar?

zoro

Certainly. 3 choice. Move back live in tree tops. No growth and your children develop and mske more lands in sinkapore or burnt trees in kalimantan or majullah sinkapore oops penang

rajraman666

The era living in tree house is gone.Modern days Malaysian no longer have the previllage to stay in tree house free since even tree will be no longer available. One day the rate of over development your future your children had to pay to see a man made jungle. rajraman. Plenty of choice.Just count how many people’s actually own a property and how many people’s renting. Some people’s have more houses who don’t need.Even they have bought for their next few generation or pure speculation.The selected fews make more $$$ since they have the $$$.The conclusion – Price already beyond… Read more »

Nad

Just say we are screwed by weak Ringgit!