We have heard it said quite a few times now: that if the Penang government or Municipal Council were to cancel of even review projects already approved by the previous administration, it could be sued by developers.
This has led to official inaction in a number of important cases ranging from the land rezoning of the Turf Club land, approved hill-slope projects and approved high-rise buildings in the heritage area.
What if urgent state action is required in the public interest? Can official inaction be justified by the fear of being sued or of being held liable to pay compensation?
Blog reader ashtanga, a lawyer, thinks not:
LGE keeps worrying about lawsuits, for this matter (hill-slope projects) as well as PGCC and the Turf Club land. Part of his problem might be the quality of the legal advice the bureaucrats in admin feed him. Remember he seeks legal counsel from a civil service inherited from Koh Tsu Koon’s time. I am from the legal profession, and I can safely say a good many of us bristle when he falls back on those anxieties at a time when we expect him to change things for Penang.
If he had the political will to restrict development on Class 3 slopes, even so far as to re-evaluate previous approvals, and if necessary, revoke them “in the public interest”, there are enough laws which will allow him to do just that. We aren’t talking frivolous reasons but serious considerations for public good.
What do you think?