Today is the last day for submitting questions for the next Penang State Assembly session in November. Activist Tan Seng Hai approached a couple of elected reps to raise a question as a matter of urgent public interest.
When will the Penang Structure Plan and the (Penang Island) Local Plan be tabled for public review and consultation? The Structure Plan review has lapsed since June 2012 and the Local Plan which was approved by MPPP in 2008 has been put on hold indefinitely. The state government’s excuse that the Local Plan has to wait for the Special Area Plan (SAP) for the George Town Heritage Zone is not acceptable as this excuse has been used since 2008.
Penangites have been asking for the Local Plan in many public consultation meetings, dialogues and forums. Without a gazetted local plan, developers and builders are having a free-for-all to build anything and anywhere they want. There is no height control, density control and zoning requirements for the developers and builders. We see 30-storey apartments built next to established low-rise residential areas. We see established residential areas converted to commercial areas. We see access roads cut through established housing areas with no consultation with the residents. We see many more uncontrolled development projects sprouting up all over the island and MPPP and the OSC approved the development plans because “tiada rancangan tempatan”. It appears to many Penangites that the state government has no urgency to gazette the local plan.