Guan Eng’s announcement that he would direct the Penang Munical Council to immediately revoke the development order issued to Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd is a bold and decisive move.
He is finally using the powers of his office to act decisively in the interests of the villagers of Kg Buah Pala.
In this case, the Chief Minister has had to choose whose side the state government would be on come 2 Aug: the people’s or the developer’s. It must have been an agonising choice, as the state government risks being sued.
But if any developer sues the state government, it would effectively be taking on the people of Penang and as Guan Eng vowed, it would be a long and difficult suit.
He has effectively drawn a line in the sand, throwing the state government’s moral backing behind the people of Kampung Buah Pala.
It was a difficult choice but I think it is the wisest move under the circumstances.
For far too long, developers in Penang have ruled the roost and politicians, whether BN or Pakatan, appeared helpless to rein them in. Hopefully, Guan Eng’s decision will put the developers in their place.
For that to happen, the Pakatan government must keep the developers at arm’s length at all times and insist that they follow proper procedures. No lobbying should be allowed. Everything must follow clear guidelines and procedures that protect the interests of the people and the environment.
Much more is at stake than just Kampong Buah Pala. Will Guan Eng’s move usher in a new era in which the state government will put the people’s interest ahead of developers’ profits?
The other big test facing the state government is how it enforces the stop work orders it has issued for the Bolton Surin project in Tanjong Bunga.