Visiting US activist shocked by Penang’s outlandish transport plans

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Katherine Egland

These powerful remarks were made by Katherine Egland, chairperson of the environmental and climate justice committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who was visiting Penang over the last few days. She was speaking at a Penang Forum talk for the tourism industry discussing SRS Consortium’s RM46bn mega transport proposal, in particular the six-lane Pan Island Link highway:

I am a retired business owner who supports economic development.

My husband and I are also survivors of Hurricane Katrina. We rebuilt our home; we couldn’t replace the loss of lives of two of our dearest friends.

Five years later, we had to contend with the horrific BP oil spill- just a few blocks from my home.

We also had a failing coal plant less than four miles from our home. But we banded together and they ceased the coal-burning function of the plant.

The NAACP is involved in environmental and climate issues from a social justice, human and civil rights perspective – everyone has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. I travel the globe on behalf of the NAACP’s policy agenda and participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

But I first want to talk to you from a tourism perspective. Penang is a rare priceless jewel. It was named the number two spot in CNN’s 2017 ‘must see’ places.

But I see this proposal as allowing yourselves to put a price on your identity. It appears that this natural treasure is going to be turned into a pile of concrete – littering and spoiling the natural beauty. This has no appeal to tourists; so there will certainly be a decline in this industry.

This project threatens to turn your city from being the treasured pearl of the Pacific into a shell of its former self – and for what? It is a trade off for unknown proprietors of unbuilt skyscrapers – more concrete, more riches for the already extremely wealthy.

And what is even more perplexing is, why would Penang want to become a cheap imitation of other less desirable cities? Why would anyone promote trading this uniqueness and rarity to imitate something far from the treasure that you have.

Environmental perspective – Unlike the BP oil spill, this is a deliberately planned environmental catastrophe.

This highway project s going to create a lethal cocktail by compounding existing climate change degradation, which is causing historical flooding and landslides, with this proposed environmental monstrosity.

Where is the climate smart planning? The government should be focused on strengthening, adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change on your fragile ecology, not compounding it. This is what most cities and countries are around the world are doing, preparing for climate change – not propagating it with unnecessary road developments.

As it relates to noise pollution, people do not realise the adverse impacts on the mental and physical health of individuals who are exposed to continuous high decibels of noise.

The biggest winners of this proposal are the wealthy developers, who will get wealthier. Residents think that they will save 15 minutes of time – and trust me, that will be only temporary.

I travelled for almost 24 hours to get here covering a distance of over 10,0000 miles just to experience the beauty of Penang – and people want to save 15 minutes and destroy it?

But what is the true cost? Possible loss of lives – not only during the construction phase, but long-term health and wellness impacts … and the inevitable decline in quality of life. This effectively means devaluing human lives through this project.

Paradise-about-to-be-lost: Katherine Egland chatting with local activists at the Sungai Ara Linear Park, which will be marred and degraded by the support pillars of the elevated six-lane Pan Island Link highway.

Toxic exposures, compromised air quality, contaminated water water supply, loss of fishing industry, disruption in the education of children – 10 schools, 10,000 students, destruction of family recreational parks, not to mention the sanctity of the places of worship?

It may be dramatic to say these are crimes against humanity or sins against humanity, but it certainly shows an utter disregard for humanity.

Don’t let name-calling stop you from pursuing justice. Being called “anti-government”, “anti- progress”, “a bunch of chronic complaining troublemakers who will never be satisfied” are all words to dissuade you.

You must not be discouraged by those claims. You must stay the course; you must continue to speak truth to power; you must protect your identity; you must protect your children; you must come together, organise.

Don’t be intimidated by political officials; don’t be intimidated by the media; don’t be discouraged by people who criticise you for staying true to who you are and what you stand for.

You deserve better from your government. You have entrusted them with your destiny and they must be held accountable. It doesn’t mean that you are opposed to them. It means that you want them to provide responsible and transparent governance for the people, of the people and by the people – not for the wealthy developers or non-existent, yet-to-be-identified people, who may or may not populate the three islands, which have yet to be built.

The government has a unique opportunity to demonstrate what true change looks like. They have an opportunity to set themselves apart from other politicians around the world and be responsive to the people who elected them.

I had been so depressed and confused about this development plan. But seeing you here raising your hands in support of a just solution and hearing the presentations have given me tremendous optimism that you are willing to stand up for your identity, stand up for you safety, stand up for your health, stand up for your property, stand up for your children, stay up for the preservation of your city, stand up for the future and stand up for what is right and just.

So please keep speaking out and keep standing up! Peace and power!

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Xiong Yee The Anchor Boy
Xiong Yee The Anchor Boy
14 Sep 2018 11.48am

May not shock you if one day Anwar collaborate with Umno BaruBaru?

https://m.malaysiakini.com/news/443054

Rahman prophecy realized and over.
Now Mahathir prophecy, with M realized. Next in line PM starts with A and if it’s Admin then may be Anwar returns to UMNO to regroup?

Cuba pikir pikir sambil minimum kopi o

Serene
Serene
14 Sep 2018 2.24pm

Be careful with Anwar who has malay and Islam agenda can join force with Umno (via Nazri) and PAS if he could not wait 2 years to PM. I trust Mahathir more.

Norman
Norman
15 Sep 2018 7.24pm
Reply to  Serene

“Future case, que sera era (whatever will be, will be). But for now, it is certainly not in the equation,” Anwar said when asked about future possibilities of tie-up with Umno.

https://m.malaysiakini.com/news/443290

Many are getting ‘worried’ with Anwar’s word ” whatever will be – will be ” = ” apa nak jadi – jadi lah ” ! >> PKR + UMNO = Umno 3.0 ?

Here is that Doris Day’s classic song to entertain you on September 16 Hari Malaysia: Que Sera Sera!

Ista
Ista
16 Sep 2018 3.36pm
Reply to  Norman

Future Malay alliance of PAS and Umno (and possibly PKR or Bersatu) is GUMI – Gabungan Sumatra Melanie Islam, likely before GE15. That leaves MIC and MCA in wilderness.

Norman
Norman
17 Sep 2018 11.16am
Reply to  Ista

This cartoon tells it all:
http://www.chinapress.com.my/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/20180917comic01.jpg

Umno singing ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’.

Bernie
Bernie
19 Sep 2018 2.07pm
Reply to  Norman

Less than 24 hours after Jeli MP Mustapha Mohamed quit Umno, former foreign minister Anifah Aman has thrown in the towel as well.

This brings Umno’s number of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat to 49, behind PKR’s 50. PKR is now the largest party in Parliament.

New alliance coming up? MCA + Khairy/Mustapha?

Malay votes will be further fragmented.

Meanwhile Hishamuddin is said to be meeting up with Tun M, to join Bersatu, else sink with Umno?

Bernie
Bernie
19 Sep 2018 2.01pm
Reply to  Norman

Anwar is hinting Que Sera Sera as InsyaAllah God’s Willing ie. collaborating with PAS in the grand scheme for the sake of Islam?

shriek
shriek
17 Sep 2018 6.28pm
Reply to  Serene

Ha2. You mean play behind our back??

Jailbreak
Jailbreak
16 Sep 2018 7.36pm

Gerakan new boss after May to seek alliance with MCA, now that UMNO and PAS are buddies?
PKR team A and team B may break up Harlan before next GE15, so Malaysian should be alert of big scale typhoons sweeping many off guards whether you like Penang Transport Masterplan is now secondary.

shriek
shriek
17 Sep 2018 6.30pm
Reply to  Jailbreak

What happen to the original ideas of the founders? What about the party symbols?

Bernie
Bernie
19 Sep 2018 2.02pm
Reply to  Jailbreak

Who is Gerakan new boss after Mah has stepped down?

Thomas
Thomas
13 Sep 2018 12.31pm

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang has supported the implementation of the Pan-Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Highway and Penang South Reclamation (PSR) based on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). FMM noted that any delay in the execution of PTMP and PSR by the state government can cause prolonged productivity loss from worsening traffic congestion, and opportunity loss from constrained growth as Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) has no available land for future expansion. “With this, FMM Penang is strongly urging the authorities to place more investments in the State’s public transport and traffic dispersal system especially… Read more »

Long Xuan
Long Xuan
15 Sep 2018 7.48pm

“National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” is here to study our New Economic Policy?

I thought USA no longer make distinction against colored people? Black Americans are now politically corrected as African Americans, right?

Ginny
Ginny
19 Sep 2018 12.50pm
Reply to  Long Xuan

US are now on #MeToo movement.
It has spread to Malaysia, the doctor who harassed female trainees in a local hospital now suspended pending investigation.

Ho Wan Lai
Ho Wan Lai
13 Sep 2018 10.25am

MORE shocking is why Malaysians particularly Penangites can afford 2-3 cars per household contributing to traffic jam resulting in mega transport plan!
The solution is simple. Curb number of private cars on the road. Learning process is painful to go thru the change and adapt to new landscape. Put binchui and comercial profitability aside for the sake of environmental health to sustain the livelihoods for generations to come.

glissantia
glissantia
15 Sep 2018 1.28pm
Reply to  Ho Wan Lai

The explanation is capitalism and fascism:
(a) Propaganda/brainwashing on what success means, ignorance of truly successful cities elsewhere, and dogged evation of climate change.
(b) Deliberate undermining of public transport (except for outlandish options) and promotion of private cars, roads, new townships, car finance, debt, etc.
(c) Criminal collution in the housing industry making houses too expensive – some houses have 5 or more cars.

Yaz
Yaz
15 Sep 2018 2.21pm
Reply to  glissantia

How you exlkain Jack Ma’s Ali Baba capitslism of spend spend spend in communist China?

Norman
Norman
15 Sep 2018 3.05pm
Reply to  glissantia

Speaking of capitalism, today 14 Sep 2018 is 10 Years after Lehman Brothers’ Collapse.

Has enough been done to prevent a repeat of the global financial crisis? Experts assess the state of the global banking system.

Download & listen to this podcast:
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/podcasts/the-abf-podcast/14-sep-2018-10th-anniversary-of-lehman-brothers-collapse-10720294

Long Xuan
Long Xuan
15 Sep 2018 7.09pm
Reply to  glissantia

Capitalism and Socialism: Crash Course World History

Jailbreak
Jailbreak
15 Sep 2018 12.01pm

Anil is preparing his viewpoints from rakyat perspective on who is a better choice between Azmin and Rafizi? The consequence could have major impact on future direction of Bolehland.

Yaz
Yaz
15 Sep 2018 2.22pm
Reply to  Jailbreak

PKR will eventually split PH.
PAS will be the eventusl winner.

tunglang
16 Sep 2018 9.16am
Reply to  Yaz

PKR is a quarrelsome brother in a PH family.
It should learn from the patriarch Mahathir to be apologetic for the past mistakes (of splitting the races based on race + religion (R+R)) & move forward with other races. Otherwise, we may see the same old problems of R+R cropping up again just to gain political support at the expense of progress in unity. The global world doesn’t care for R+R.

Shriek
Shriek
16 Sep 2018 1.15pm
Reply to  tunglang

I remember ah pek still name Dr for previous woes

tunglang
16 Sep 2018 3.13pm
Reply to  Shriek

Mahathir apologised for past mistakes, param kah, ah ghee???

tunglang
16 Sep 2018 3.13pm
Reply to  Shriek

Mahathir apologised for past mistakes, paham kah, ah ghee???

Patrick Choy
Patrick Choy
17 Sep 2018 12.10pm
Reply to  tunglang

Now Tun M granted equal partner status to Sabah Sarawak to curb Umno and PAS gaining influence there. Good move.

shriek
shriek
17 Sep 2018 6.36pm
Reply to  tunglang

Now good in bodek and ah Jo.

shriek
shriek
19 Sep 2018 7.30pm
Reply to  tunglang

Ah pek must be dreaming. Always ah Jo and kau beh h kau bu

shriek
shriek
17 Sep 2018 6.34pm
Reply to  tunglang

Normal to have quarrels in a family. If no quarrel, it is not a family. We also quarel but in family, quarrel more and more intense

Patrick Choy
Patrick Choy
17 Sep 2018 12.11pm
Reply to  Yaz

Zahid desperate to court PAS as Umno is losing influence with little money left.

Norman
Norman
13 Sep 2018 3.44pm

AS civil society ramps up the campaign to get the Pan Island Link 1 highway cancelled, the Penang government today announced a town hall session on the project.

The public session on the PIL1’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) report, which the Environmental Department (DoE) had requested the state government to help organise, will be on September 20 at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre at 8pm.

Serene
Serene
14 Sep 2018 2.26pm
Reply to  Norman

Let’s be there to listen to what Chow has to say.
Penang Forum pls be there to pose question for Chow.

By the way, got free makan or not?

Shriek
Shriek
16 Sep 2018 1.17pm
Reply to  Serene

See tung lang in action otherwise just a key board din

M Pillay
M Pillay
13 Sep 2018 3.41pm

Penang CAT needs to undergo hot air dryer spinning treatment to get rid of environmental unfriendly ideas?

Long Xuan
Long Xuan
15 Sep 2018 7.07pm

Zahid Umumkan Sejarah Baru Kerjasama UMNO Dan PAS

MCA, still with BN?

Karamjit
Karamjit
16 Sep 2018 12.42pm
Reply to  Long Xuan

Sickeningly sick.

Ista
Ista
16 Sep 2018 3.38pm
Reply to  Long Xuan

Marriage of convenience for PAS and Umno, no need 18 years to mature.

tunglang
13 Sep 2018 7.17am

This article is re-empowering, reaffirming our sense of what is the right thing to do – relook & change the controversial PTMP of apparent property play for the already super wealthy developers. Develop Penang sensibly for Penangites, not for greedy richie developers otherwise we will perceive DAP as Developers Associated Party (of Arrogance). Pakatan Harapan, you claimed in your election manifesto as an environmental friendly political force for UBAH. That’s why we sincerely voted for you besides defeating kleptocracy of the thieves. Wasn’t it, PM Mahathir? This is an opportunity for you to prove your sincerity as opposed to BN.… Read more »

tunglang
15 Sep 2018 2.22pm

Another environmental disaster under the ‘blind watch’ of State Environment Committee? Seafood ‘gone to the pigs’ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/15/seafood-gone-to-the-pigs-marine-life-polluted-by-effluent-unsafe-for-consumption/ BALIK PULAU: Raw piggery waste has polluted the 1km beach of Gertak Sanggul, one of the most remote beaches on Penang island reachable by car. Because it is a sheltered bay, marine biologists warn that extreme bacterial blooms can infect Gertak Sanggul’s seafood with harmful pathogens, from the salmonella bacteria to E-Coli and even the Hepatitis A virus. Without strong tidal currents of the open sea, the grey sludge piles up on the sandy beach, while the bay’s water is turbid grey. Villagers… Read more »

shriek
shriek
15 Sep 2018 7.25pm
Reply to  tunglang

Ah pek, high way and hill slopes more important. Ah pek looking for best pg food. Without the meat and oil how to get best char now teow and one ton mee? When pg forum and ah pek going to ask the animal will fly away. Pg is too small for this type of farming?

Yaz
Yaz
15 Sep 2018 2.20pm

Any review on the new books on 1MDB?

Long Xuan
Long Xuan
15 Sep 2018 8.24pm
Reply to  Yaz

The Launching Of The “Sarawak Report: The Inside Story Of The 1MDB Expose”

Norman
Norman
16 Sep 2018 11.50am
Reply to  Yaz

Efforts by fugitive businessman Jho Low to prevent a book by two Wall Street Journal reporters on his role in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal from being published are stymied by the fact it is now spreading like wildfire on social media.

The Star reported the 306-page PDF version of the book Billion Dollar Whale has been circulating via social media and text messaging WhatsApp in both Malaysia and Singapore since Thursday.

Norman
Norman
18 Sep 2018 9.46am
Reply to  Norman

Najib knew that 1MDB was being used as a political slush fund but was disengaged from its day-to-day operations, news portal Coconuts reported citing Tom Wright, the author of the Billion Dollar Whale.

Wright said while he doesn’t think Najib is blameless, he believes fugitive businessman Jho Low, was running the show.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/17/najib-knew-1mdb-used-as-political-slush-fund-but-jho-loh-running-the-show-report/#bWilROpBz9UML5HK.99

Norman
Norman
14 Sep 2018 4.48pm

Pelakon dan pelawak terkenal, Acappan meninggal dunia semalam akibat kegagalan buah pinggang. RIP.

http://www.astroawani.com/video-malaysia/pelakon-dan-pelawak-acapan-meninggal-dunia-257474

Serene
Serene
14 Sep 2018 2.22pm

Ang Moh can better convince locals?

Norman
Norman
14 Sep 2018 9.20am

Any activist will be shocked to learn that fugitive businessman Jho Low allegedly purchased a white Ferrari for reality TV show star Kim Kardashian in 2011.

According to online portal Page Six, Kim and her ex-husband Kris Humphries, were given the sports car as a wedding gift in 2011.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/13/jho-low-allegedly-bought-white-ferrari-for-kim-kardashian/#MlQ2Y92x22YKPUQ6.99

Long Xuan
Long Xuan
15 Sep 2018 7.00pm
Reply to  Norman

Jho Low – lifestyle and biography

Karamjit
Karamjit
16 Sep 2018 12.42pm
Reply to  Long Xuan

Sickeningly sick.

Shriek
Shriek
13 Sep 2018 8.45pm

Watch the backyard. Why superhurriance Florence is hitting uncle Sam?

Norman
Norman
20 Sep 2018 4.33pm
Reply to  Shriek

No typhoon or hurricane in Malaysia, but we are swept by MO1 Sapuman, more terror!

Generations live to pay off the RM trillion debt.

glissantia
glissantia
13 Sep 2018 1.38pm

As always, what one Mat salleh says is worth what a crowd of locals say. I remember Mahathir saying decades ago that he would get “independent” foreign consultants. Most of them serve the very wealthiest businesses and funds, whether they are aware of it or not. They also allow the gomen to sustain apartheid and conceal the deadwood in authority. In connection with a by-election, Semi-Value advised Indians that even if you were tending to goats, they should be (East India) Company goats – meaning to vote for BN. This is the mentality that facilitated colonialism and now sustains neo-colonialism.

Yang
Yang
14 Sep 2018 10.22am
Reply to  glissantia

Mat Salleh not many like Chendol by roadside but locals do, so no impact on Chendol industry even if boycott by Foreigner’s 🙂