Penang issues that need clarification

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An email landed in my email inbox and from the looks of it, the Penang state government needs to clarify a number of issues including land conversions: has the state government converted any land from leasehold to freehold so far?

In particular, was approval given in June to PDC Heritage (51 per cent owned by YTL) to convert its prime seafront land from leasehold to freehold status? Was the Penang State Assembly really misled, as the NST alleges (see here and here)?

You know there is a transparency or communications issue when even a church blog is compelled to ask for full clarification on various issues.

On land reclamation, developers are probably making a lot of money from prime land reclamation work. The question is, what does the Penang public get in return for allowing these developers to reap huge profits from such work? Was there a concession agreement and how was it awarded? What’s in it (financially) for the people of Penang?

Could we have this information – even if the approvals were granted during the BN era? Were there detailed EIAs, reviewed by expert panels, complete with modelling for the impact on the coastline (including those stretches further away) and the change in sedimentation patterns?

This issue is of more than passing interest. It has been reported that the Penang Port and the northern channel needs to be deepened now and this may cost a tidy sum, which could be borne by the public. That’s why we need to know if any proper sedimentation study was ever been done around the Penang coastline to gauge the impact of land reclamation work due to property development on the island and the construction of the North Butterworth Container Terminal on the mainland.

Finally, what is the status of the proposed housing development board, which reportedly may end up as a public-private initiative, to look into affordable housing for Penangites? (In contrast, Singapore’s HDB is a statutory board, a public housing authority under the Singapore Ministry of National Development. The same goes for the The Hong Kong Housing Authority, which is a statutory body established in April 1973 under the Housing Ordinance. Its role is to “develop and implement a public housing programme which seeks to achieve the Government’s policy objective of meeting the housing needs of people who cannot afford private rental housing.”)

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LimBC

Ong Eu Soon,
Good luck to you if you manage to raise enough fund to bring this case to court. It seems to me that you are a person that do not beleive in whatever explaination other people gave. You tend to have you own interpretion and your own doing, be it LGE or KSK government. Previously, you says that you have the chance to bring KSK down and now you are in the mist of bring LGE down. To you, you yourself and your thinking is only one that can make one a perfect CM. Good luck

LimBC

“All the Projects which was initialy approved under BN thought delayed n hampered is now proceeding on the FAST TRACK under Lim Guan ENG!!!!!” How? I don’t understand how a person can this type of statement. Ok, the projects was approved by the previous government, now under the new government, how the new governement FAST TRACK the project? Did the new government these developer dateline to finish off the project or else there will be a pernalty? If not, How to FAST TRACK? When making comment, please use a bit of your brain. Don’t simple hamper aas you like. You… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Some of the projects were submitted pending approval while KTK is in power. A good example is the PDC Heritage Hotel project. The delay by KTK probably because he knew that it is obviously against the NLC proviso. But why LGE gave the approval for the conversion from leasehold to freehold. If you guts still think many people are still with LGE, you better wake up now. I am starting to canvass for supports. So far the response is very encouraging, seem like a lot of people have grievances against LGE administration. We will meet on coming Friday nite. Anyone… Read more »

KINGKONG

Don’t waste time and being granny. Go ahead and sue the government. Be LKS of Gerakan parti. we will cheer you and don’t be a coward after all the canonning here. Hope to hear the news in tomorrow’s paper to sue the Government. if not you talk without facts.

Ong Eu Soon

Press Statement by Penang Chief Minister YAB Lim Guan Eng In Georgetown, Penang On 15.10.2008. The New Penang State Government Has No Plans To Follow The Previous BN State Government’s Policy Of Circumventing The National Land Code (NLC) By Converting All Reclaimed Land From Leasehold To Freehold Status. The new Penang state government has no plans to follow the previous state government’s policy of circumventing the NLC by converting all reclaimed land from leasehold to freehold status. Under Section 76 of the NLC a state authority cannot dispose of “any part of the foreshore or sea-bed for a period exceeding… Read more »

Sunny

Lets come up with a list we can send to LGE.
Feel free to add:
1. Squatters [Yes]
2. Development [No]
3. Free hold property [No]

K

Lineclear This is an absolutely shocking piece of information ! Thanks for sharing with us such crucial information that every right thinking Penangites must be aware of. I think LGE must come forward and explain each and every of these issues in accordance with the CAT principle. If we Penangites don’t stand up and demand full explanation from the Cheap Minister now, it will only enbolden him to continue… At this rate I think Penang is surely transforming from Silicon Island to Concrete Island. KTK was often called as Penang’s top salesman for his efforts in selling Penang to bring… Read more »

wira

Basically no business man wants to see the government going back on its words even though the approval was given by a previous administration. To re-decide otherwise based on a questionable (ie. interpretable) provision in the NLC will invite legal action by the aggrieved party for a sum that the state may find hard to pay if she loses.

So please judge the state government by her new decisions and not by what it did not do to stop approvals which were given by the previous administration.

Ong Eu Soon

This new conversion status of PDC heritage project is not done by KTK, it is done recently! Why go against the the very own law that protect the public interest? Stop being LGE apologist by twisting the fact!

Ong Eu Soon

The PDC heritage is a joint venture of the state government, there is no way it will sue the state government for compensation. In the first place, the decision is against the law. Why can the state government be a law abiding government?

rich

What ever the deal was,purcheser.i.e the people is always at the loose end,whereby the law made such a way that we can’t protest our asset financialy nor legally…

Gerakan K

Dear all,

no hope for people in penang under LGE. Even the lost of billions of investment is nothing for its supporters. Yes, Penang soon to be a concrete state. If someone earning something when there is development approval, I believe that person will be a billionaie in within 5 years.

KINGKONG

Gerakan is like UMNO mentality. With MACC how can opposition be thousandaire let alone billionaire? Even MACC question one spendind 2K. But your Toyo has millions right in front of us., It is us who will die and Gerakan K hopes to strike lottery

Lineclear

Dear Penangnites Aint it clear that Lim Guan Eng n DAP have reneged on the PROMISES made to Penangnites to save the natural environment on Penang???? All the Projects which was initialy approved under BN thought delayed n hampered is now proceeding on the FAST TRACK under Lim Guan ENG!!!!! Lim Guan Eng can easily blame ” Koh Tsu Koon ” for everthing as though Lim Guan Eng is INNOCENT n BLAMELESS!!! (These are some questionable projects): 1. Queensbay Land at Pantai Jerejak( Seaside): 2. IJM Reclamation at Pantai Jelutong ( Seaside) 3. EO/YTl- Seaside- Land Conversion 4. Penang Botanic… Read more »

K

While the NST is hardly the paragon of impartial reporting, they generally report responsibility if compared to almost all of the pro-Pakatan alternative media. Again, we must allow data and facts to speak for themselves and guide our opinion. As such, we must give the opportunity for LGE to rebut/clarify this issue as it of a very serious nature. From we have seen so far, the Cheap Minister’s reign has been anything but CAT. His cozy relationship with the Big Business and a disdain for the environment & heritage in the pursuit of “development” has been well documented. If LGE… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Many may have thought that LGE may has overlook the crucial provisio in the NLC when he defended KTK on the Queenbay land conversion controversy. The truth is being revealed now! LGE has since wanted to convert the 1.4ha seafront site, adjacent to the 124-year-old Eastern and Oriental (E&O) Hotel along Lebuh Farqhuar, from leasehold to freehold. Even this means he is going to flout the NLC and betray the voters who voted for change. I can promise him and the developer, this issue will not go by unchallenged. If needed, I will start canvassing for supports to bring this… Read more »

kingkong

Ong

Go ahead and let us see the big fireworks otherwise you are another big cannon like MP Wee accuse LKS about using the APS to buy car and make big bucks.

Ong Eu Soon

Crucial clause overlooked Guan Eng missed proviso when defending land conversion Himanshu Bhatt(Sun) GEORGE TOWN (Oct 8, 2008) : Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had defended the controversial conversion of land housing the Queensbay project, reportedly worth RM3 billion to freehold, at the Penang state assembly in July, but had overlooked a vital clause in the National Land Code (NLC) 1965. It is learnt that Lim (who is currently away in the United Arab Emirates on an investment mission) had in a written reply reasoned that the NLC allowed the state to convert the land from leasehold to freehold. He… Read more »

Morning Dew

I think LGE has again made a mistake. Let’s wait to see what his reply will be. If it is another round of ignoble silence then it would really be a shame.

Ong Eu Soon

On the Queenbay land conversion issue, LGE said that he is not quite agrree to the land conversion decision, but he has to comply as he has no choice. In this land conversion issue, is he really want us to believe that he really has no choice again? Is LGE now referred to section 76(aa)(iii) of the NLC which says land could be converted “where the State Authority is satisfied that there are special circumstances which render it appropriate to do so”? What circumstances is that? The NLC proviso prohibit the state from re-alienating or converting any part of the… Read more »

amoker

Oh sure. NST would like to poke Penang government at an issue that is to enrage Penangnites. Wonder why UMNO is investing so much money to work out the KBP and this issue.

Having said and done, I think that is the ideal that we want.. transparency. I do however not confident that the civil service would respond fast to these requirement. At least Penang is compact and more manageable.

Ong Eu Soon

Can we trust a CM who use the loophole of the law, to (deprive) Penangites of a prime seafront land? Is it because the land is a state land, LGE can use his discretion…?

A foreshore is a foreshore no matter whether it is a state land or not! LGE has the moral obligation to protect public interest …

Ong Eu Soon

LGE (may have chosen) not to reveal the truth. The truth will prevail unless the project really did not exist at all. We should remember the controversy of Queensbay land conversion from leasehold to freehold which go against the NLC. LGE blamed KTK for the fiasco, now he has no excuse not to know the rule. If the land conversion issue is real, LGE should explain why he chose to go against the NLC and convert the land at the expense of the public interest. LGE should explain is the Queenbay land conversion a good example for he to follow?… Read more »

mut

The issues brought up here are absolutely crucial to the state government. NST has basically carried a story accusing LGE of misleading the House; but does not say what documents and who produced them for readers’ discussion. We’ll see whether there will be a reply and NST will carry it. HDB in Singapore would be similar to our own PNSB, wouldn’t it? It was under EPF last I heard and had generous access to funds (although I saw it as a longstanding stunt to (grab) our money and build substandard housing while reaping the publicity). What does Penang have to… Read more »

looes74

Frankly I don’t much issues with Anil concern on this matters. Yup, Penang state government must have clarification

However, like it or not, some policies might not be well received by the public. Hence, the ability of disseminating information important.

Singapore HDB flats success lies on the CPF funding provided by Singaporeans, PRs & in the early days, Malaysian work permit holders

LGE must use funds effective. If necessary, raise taxes. Provident Fund or Set up Trust fund

Scotland & Northern Ireland are allowed to raise 3% above national taxes for state development

Can Penang government given the free play?