A developer is threatening to sue the Penang state government for tens of millions of ringgit.
The developer is one of four that was compelled to scale down its project to abide by Unesco guidelines for the preservation of George Town’s world heritage site listing.
Instead of timidly conceding the possibility of paying compensation (as it has in the past, thus possibly having the opposite effect of emboldening developers to sue the government), the Penang state government should publicly name the developer concerned and challenge it all the way.
A few Penangites already know who the developer is, but I will leave it to the Penang state government to come out and formally identify the developer.
I don’t think the people of Penang – and even those outside – are going to be impressed with the developer’s move for it is public money that is at stake.
I am sure the state government will receive the full support of fair-minded people and civil society groups alike if it were to contest the developer’s action. I am sure the public will rally behind the government in this instance if it takes a principled stand. After all, the Penang state government was complying with Unesco guidelines on a matter of public interest (preservation of George Town’s world heritage status).
So could we have the name of the developer in the interests of transparency and then let’s see what the public thinks of the developer’s move.