Today, the National Physical Planning Council meeting reportedly approved the massive 4,500-acre land reclamation project off the coast of southern Penang Island. This comes at around the same time as a large crowd of activists have shut down London in protest at the lack of action against climate change by British leaders.

Same over here. Climate change and sustainable development mean zilch to our leaders and planners who are merrily proposing and approving ecologically damaging projects left, right and centre – oh yes, with all those lovely “conditions”, “mitigation measures” and – here’s a new one – “18-point advice” – all of which are not worth the paper they are written on.

Make no mistake, today is a dark day for Penang – a day when politics and businesses triumphed over the concerns of civil society groups, fisher folks, people who enjoy the vistas from the beautiful southern coastline, and ordinary folks who eat local marine fish.

The project will create three artificial islands. Why three islands rather than reclaiming from the coastline outwards? Simply because with islands, developers can sell more high-end homes with the coveted “sea view” which command a higher price.

Look how the three islands are described in the press:

“Island A will be zoned as a new industrial park due to its proximity to the airport, while…

“…Island B will be specifically for high-end support services for the industrial park, such as financial services, business services and tourism.

“Finally, Island C will be for the creation of new tourism products for Penang.”

All fine and dandy.. except nothing mentioned about the tens of thousands of high-end homes that will be built.

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Indeed, that is precisely what is driving the project – the prospect of selling high-end homes – but to whom? This is camouflaged with rhetoric about “economic development”, “tourism products” and reduction of congestion (for just five to seven years). They don’t tell you that those islands, where 300,000 people will live, are going to be so densely populated. But where are the people coming from when the total fertility rate for Penang has dropped below population replacement level?

This is where I fail to understand Mahathir. If he is so against Forest City and the sale of large amounts of property to foreigners, how can the National Physical Planning Council he chairs approve the reclamation in Penang, which will cover an area larger than Forest City?

When I asked the Penang state executive council member for housing at a recent NGO-organised workshop on housing if it was true that only 20% of the homes on the three islands would be affordable, he did not seem entirely certain, but then he said it was probably the case. The 20% figure was mentioned by SRS Consortium at a Penang Transport Council meeting some time ago. At another workshop organised by the state government, one of the state planners agreed that a couple of the artificial islands would be islands for the wealthy.

So the question remains, where are the 80% of the buyers of the unaffordable homes going to come from? Why are we sacrificing so much of the Commons – which belongs to the public, including the fisherfolk – to build homes for the wealthy and superrich and to enrich a group of developers and contractors with fabulous profits. All for the sake of some of the most exorbitant transport infrastructure recommended by the very corporations who will profit from this outlandish scheme.

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Today is Thursday of Holy Week, the day we recall how Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Today too a sense of betrayal has enveloped Penang.

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Jordan
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Jordan

A ray of light in Penang – RM3 Wan Tan Mee by a 83-year old maestro, as featured in 8TV news:

Shriek
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83 years old still have to work and sell chip chip to make tung land happy. Tung land has been Ronda Ronda for chip one ton mee

Joseph
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Joseph

It is at Tanjung Bunga. Really a Maestro!

This uncle Really put to shame young people who refuse to work.

Wei
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Wei

what a bright day for Penang and Penang’s future generation ..this is indeed a popular decision and meet the aspiration of the majority of people in Penang ….Penang’s progress can not stop simply for the pleasure of a handful of selfish people….

Jordan
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Beng
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Beng

Not approved yet. Maybe there is still hope. Without the islands, there would not be enough fund for PIL. The NGOs need to appeal to Mahathir and Federal Government.
No need to appeal to DAP, they already sold their souls to the developers long time ago.

Shriek
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Not enough fund? Then contribute or like chip tung land looking for chip one ton mee.

tunglang
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tunglang

Judas betrayed Jesus.
Pakatan betrayed Penang Island.
CM Chow betrayed Penangites.
I never betrayed my parents & friends.
Shame on you Pakatan with all the STINKING BULL… of Environment Manifesto.

Anil, civil actions may be more effective against these recalcitrants of Arrogants in DAP (Developers Associated Party).
Hello, Karpal Singh’s son who fought for justice for Altantuya. Remember that day you went to Bukit Kukus to ‘see’ for yourself the environment carnage some time back? What say you? Can’t you fight environment crimes & recalcitrance as passionately?

Shriek
Guest

Your relative has very bright future. As developer, pipeline of jobs lining up for him. Now who betray who?

Shriek
Guest

Tung land is the new saviour

Shriek
Guest

Try to be yeshu to be the saviour and light of pengland. Better than Francis light?

Jordan
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Jordan

Darker days ahead for Pakatan Harapan.

Public approval for the new Pakatan Harapan government is now just 39%, according to independent pollster Merdeka Center.

Michael
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Michael

i am 100% penangkia and part of what is termed the silent majority. deeply distressed by planned changes to penang n how powers to be mis-used silent majority. the only #1 priority i see state govt should be doing is flood mitigation. full stop. get this done first. nothing else matters. i have some suggestion that active ngos in penang can take up: 1. mount legal.challenge for both approvals simce there are weakness eg berms etc 2. get a pubicly visible signature campaign canvassing going prioritizing affected residents in those zones.first. house to house. publicly repudiate n show CM silent… Read more »

Beng
Guest
Beng

DAP are going to make the flooding worst with over developemnt!

Shriek
Guest

Go and tell pg gomen to relocate airport to kedah or perak. Why small island needs an airport. Airport just bring in more people.

Shriek
Guest

Of course when pengland has been sleeping for decades under umnos and flooding kl and singland. More will go. See Robert kuok. He asked his staff the world is in Hong land. You want peng land to open back packers or wong fei hoong inns?

Jordan
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Jordan

GEORGE TOWN, April 27 — In conjunction with the launch of the Penang 2030 guidebook today, the Penang government hopes to generate attraction from stakeholders, private companies and social enterprises to be a part of the state’s future. According to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Penang 2030 is an action plan initiated by the state government since last August, which focused on improving Penang’s liveability, economy, civil participation and balanced development to achieve “a family-focused, green and smart state that inspires the nation”. Chow pointed out that the guidebook focused on four themes, liveability, economy, people and the built environment,… Read more »

Shriek
Guest

Why not petition to close the airport and free the land for other uses? Or you love the airport to bring rich ang mohs visitors or your convenience to visit overseas?

Jordan
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Jordan