Environmentalist questions 740-acre land reclamation off Penang

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Ahead of a public consultation organised by the developer this Saturday as part of a detailed EIA process, environmentalist Dr Leong Yueh Kwong has raised several questions regarding the proposed Phase 2 of the Seri Tanjung Pinang land reclamation.

On its website, the developer says the 740-acre project “will create the largest masterplanned waterfront community in Penang’s history and propel Seri Tanjung Pinang into the world’s elite list of great waterfront developments. Offering a mix of luxury residences and even more world-class leisure and commercial facilities, Phase II promises the finest pleasures of seafront living to international investors, holiday-makers and luxury homeowners.”

Yueh Kwong’s questions:

1. Why was the original proposal for land reclamation for such a massive project approved after only a preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

The main difference between a review procedure of preliminary EIA and Detailed EIA is that the preliminary EIA is reviewed and approved internally by the DOE, usually by a small subcommittee of DOE officers who may not have the expertise to evaluate such a technical document. A detailed EIA would have an ad hoc review panel consisting of experts in various fields.

The preliminary EIA would have stated that there would be no adverse environmental impact that could not be mitigated against or else it would not have been approved. We know from observation of what happened in Gurney Drive that this is not true.

2. Why was there no monitoring of the environmental aspect of the project when it was clear over the years that the sedimentation on Gurney drive was the result of the land reclamation? The DOE had not done any monitoring as far as I know and neither had other agenencies such as the Jabatan Parit dan Saliran (DID), Marine Department or Chemistry Department.

How has the land reclamation affected the Penang port, which needs very expensive dredging (hundreds of milions of ringgit coming out of public funds) to deepen the port?

How has the reclamation affected the fishing of the local fisher folk?

Has the beach erosion (where the beach hotels are located) of the north coast been affected?

3. If the massive land reclamation has been approved by the state government based on an inadequate and misleading and wrong EIA, surely the State government has a responsibility to reject any further development based on a wrong approval?

4. As to the requirements of the scope of the detailed EIA, there is a requirement for a cost benefit analysis. Who benefits from the project and who pays for the environmental consequences? This should be highlighted.

A proper social impact analysis should be a key issue in view of the considerable adverse impact such as that arising from traffic, etc.

For me, I believe under normal circumstance, land reclamation should be carried out by the state to meet the real needs of the people. The state government, elected by the people, could have decided what it would do with reclaimed land – to ensure balanced use of the land for a whole spectrum of people. A large chunk of land could have been reserved for public amenities, a park, public schools and public hospitals etc while a certain section of this prime land could have been allocated for sales to private developers to fund the reclamation project.

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Yang

Its not land is so scare. Its land is so expensive

Club41 Oon

Seri Tanjung Pinang 2 received coverage in Singapore’s Business Times (21 August 2013).
http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/top-stories/seafront-project-penang-set-boost-eo-20130821

The project is attracting the interest of SingLanders?

The STP2’s gross development value (GDV) at RM18-20 billion.
A figure that will baffle many average Malaysian longing for their first home.

tunglang

Now we know what Cosmopolitan Penang is all about.
But there are some in perpetual denial after worshipping Datuk Kong with closed minds not realising their children will never be able to live in their parents’ state home, never be able to contribute to the state b’cos they will have to emigrate to earn better elsewhere in order to buy million ringgit homes in Penang.
And we have leaders wooing talents abroad to come home! What a contradiction of state strategic planning without a vision.
It’s like shooting one’s foot & telling the legs to walk straight ahead.

HSK

How can low-cost housing be built on Penang island now that the land is so scarce?
I think it is OK for retirees to live in Prai (the Non-cosmopolitan Penang) as there is no traffic congestion and the cost of living is lower.

tunglang should give it a try as there could be many unknown but equally exciting Ori-maestros there serving up the traditional hawker food without the ‘Kim-Gary’ price!

Batu Ferringhian

I met this guys a few years back who mentioned that he was one of the consultants overseeing this so called park in Gurney Drive. I can’t remember much of the conversation but it seems like it will most likely happen..they were even proposing to build a casino…not sure how that can work out. As for the effects of reclaimation to the environment…yes, it has effect on the beach and sea quality. Our seabed is muddy and this is one of the effects. It will definately have an effect on the fishing industry and it will have an effect on… Read more »

Kevin

Anil, like you I hope a large chunk of the reclaimed land will indeed be used to create a public park at Gney Drive. In fact the public park should be larger than the development. One or two hectares does not constitute a public park, it is more like a tiny garden. Just look at how big the parks in Sg are (and they are a land scarce state too). The state govt promised us that and I expect them to deliver on that promise. I will not be able to attend the public forum because I am not currently… Read more »

Smurf Smurf

Danny Kua could be the Danny Quah in LSE ? This professor of London School of Economics is posting economics issues that laymen like you and me can relate to to generate topic of discussion in famous & socially-conscious anilnetto.com platform ?

Likewise, Datuk YB Loh The Yang Berhomat Loh in Penang ???

Desmond Lee Chee Moon

As far as I know – sand dredging at Penang Port ….and pay high price etc will continue forever. Why…? An underwater current flow survey was done by USM and they found out that the moment you dredge the sand at Penang Port side of the sea….the underwater current from Adaman sea will automatically bring in the new sand to fill up the sand dredge out neat the Penang port side. So the more you dig the more sea sand will come in by underwater current from the Adaman sea. Heard the dredging company last time made double profit. ie… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit
Danny Kua

740 acre not auspicious to local feng sui.
scale down to 738 acre for ong heng huat prosperity, and leave 2 acre land for Tua Pek Kong’s residence.
No joking in 7th month !

Danny Kua

this reminds me of development of Pangkor Laut resort. It becomes exclusively accesible only to the rich n famous like opera singer Pavoratti. He may sing praises of it. However, general jones in Malaysia only able to witness the splendid scenery there on TV as the place has now being “reserved” for those with deep pockets.
The same at Langkawi. Most pristine beaches sold to developers who develop them as exclusive resort for those with developed pockets only. General jones only can frolic on less stunning Pantai Cenang – called it Truly Asia or Truly Rich & Famous !

Datuk YB Loh

This is true, but bear in mind that high end places like this and those in Singapore are designed for the rich. They are not designed for the Jones’. If you a have a few rich friends, just look at the facebook postings. One minute in Sydney, the next dining in Tokyo, then off to HK, etc. When we say rich, it is not those that works in factories from 8am to 5pm, and boasting to their co-workers how rich they are which in reality they are not. The rich ones in Penang, and there are plenty mind you, are… Read more »

Chiew Lei

Very true. I got many friends in Penang. Do not judge them by their simple dressing. They are frugal people but high in liquidity. Unfortunately, their children brought up in the new affluent Penang environment will likely squander away the money.

SSBSA

Yes, I fully agreed with Anil. Enough is enough, I think we have far too many luxurious houses/condos/super condos in Penang, How about affordable houses for the majority residents of Penang. We cannot depend on private developers, as business concerns their main objective is to make as much money as possible, not withstanding their so called CSR. I strongly believe the government, being the federal or the state, have to do something, and do it fast before it is too late.

Danny Kua

RE : we have far too many luxurious houses/condos/super condos in Penang
Those folks living in such places are supposed to be damm $ solid. They are supposed to spend spend spend at new shopping malls of equivalent standard accorded to their gained “status”. However I am surprised to see slow business crowds turnouts at shopping/dining places at Strait Quay, Gurney Paragon etc.
Tell me why ? How can they contribute to local economy if they are so shy to spend other than condos ?

YB Loh

OMG!!! What kind of world do you all lived in? All the rich ones do not walk around or eat or shop in Gurney Paragon or Straits Quay!!! And they don’t spend locally!!!! My goodnees, don’t you know that? They would go overseas shopping. One day they are in Singapore, then one week later in Japan, and perhaps now in Australia. In Penang, they keep a low profile (though some and very few don’t) because they do not want to attract the wrong crowd. Most of the luxury cars are idle in the car porch. How can those who live… Read more »

tunglang

If I am not wrong (& able to live past 100), fast forward to year 2063, the night panoramic view of Cosmopolitan Penang Island from mainland Prai River will make one’s soul shivers with fear & melancholy – few occupancy lights in high rise condos that look like joss sticks, empty streets (no richie would want to risk walking the slippery clean but dangerous streets), laser beam lights from security towers of gated communities, refurbished heritage houses that look more like museums than life-filled homes, & Weld Quay stilt houses no more but replaced with hitech floating homes of the… Read more »

Yang

Yes Anil and the spiral effect affect the low and medium income people very seriously.

MX Loke

Penang is fast becoming a playground for the rich?
Many older middle income folks dare not even step into Gurney Paragon except their kids for H&M.

Don Anamalai

SingLanders, driven by rising prices in the island republic, are increasingly looking into property in Iskandar, the main southern development corridor in Johor. Real estate agents say that prices have already reached highs at as much as RM500,000 over bank valuations. Buyers are speculating on further appreciations after the planned intercity rail link between Iskandar and Singapore as well as the high-speed rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore which will stop at the Johor economic hub. Iskandar’s rise is driven by top-notch developments by property giants such as CapitaLand and Temasek Holding as well as latest projects such as Motorsports… Read more »

sunnyooi

Anil, how do you propose to pay for all the public ****? Its a defeatist argument to just oppose development and at the same time request freebies.

bigjoe99

Do people honestly believe if LGE had a choice, he would NOT do reclamation on his own? Do people honestly believe that ANY govt that is short of funds can do development for the poor first rather than the rich? Its life.

tunglang

Anil, the problem with state development is mainly financing. Have you ever heard of proposals to state gomen for financing turned down b’cos of “NO MONEY, NO TALK”? We don’t even have to lament our emigrating talents to greener pastures, what’s there left to create (with local great ideas) a better & more equitable living space in Penang? Imagine, if one has no money perennially (in the coffer, notwithstanding the highly publicised annual surplus state fund) to start with (any Big Cosmopolitan Dream), to seek for contra-exchange of land or non-existent land for development put him in a loser position… Read more »

tunglang

Anil: But Unfortunately, once land is awarded/sold to the wealthy, chances are the poor and lower income group are going to be largely excluded from most of that land.

Anil, have you visited the Penang ESCAPE Theme Park?
Rm48 (13-60yrs), Rm36 (4 – 12yrs & above 60yrs), Free (below 4yrs) + no outside food allowed. And plus parking + petrol expenses.
How many Penangites can truly afford it?

Plain Truth

” the state got very little from the award of the land reclamation rights in the early 1990s.”

Spot on. This is one of the many unfortunate legacies of Koh Tsu Koon who until today has kept his trap shut.

bigjoe99

So what if the poor is excluded forever? Most Malaysian will never ever step into Beverly Hills, should something be done about that? The point is to stop looking at what “those others” have but rather what can “this side” have.. What is so wrong if Penang build a great town for the poor somewhere else even if it is on the mainland but after a long period eventually make it the best darn place to live, work and those people may never step foot into Penang Island? Its just a piece of real estate after all.. That UMNO/BN committed… Read more »

SSBSA

Dear Anil, The company I worked in, was involved in the original proposed project, way back in 1982. We were supposed to reclaim 980 acres of the sea ( if my memory is still ok ), from Tanjung Tokong to half of Gurney Drive. Originally the right to reclaim was given by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, the Prime Minister then to a Cooperative Society called Koperasi Gabungan Negeri, Pulau Pinang Berhad ( KGN ). The Chairman of the cooperative society at that time was Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, our former Prime Minister, who was then a Minister in Prime Minister’s… Read more »