10 reasons why many oppose the 87 units/acre guidelines


Guest writer Tan Seng Hai explains why there is disquiet over the new 87 units/acre density guidelines.

  1. The objective of the Penang state government to allow developers to increase their density from 30 units/acre to 87 units/acre was to make housing more affordable. However, property data and market trends have shown that this is not happening. On the contrary, prices of properties on the island have skyrocketed since 2010.
  2. Developers and architects were consulted during the drafting of the density guidelines. Key stakeholders like residents and ratepayers who are directly affected were not consulted.
  3. The original intent of the increased density is only for projects near transit nodes. Why is this not in the guidelines?
  4. Approvals for increased density should be made on a holistic basis with integration of land use, infrastructure and transport/traffic planning as recommended by the Penang Master Transport Plan. Approvals cannot be made on an ad-hoc and random basis.
  5. The guideline requires developers to submit a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) study on an individual project basis. TIAs have been known to have failed to resolve and address traffic congestion issues. The results are evident everywhere.
  6. The 87 units/acre density is not allowed in selected posh areas and DUNs (constituencies). What is the reason for this exclusivity and not for other areas like Minden Heights, Sungai Ara or elsewhere?
  7. The 87 units/acre is not allowed in “established housing areas”. Where are the “established housing areas” on the island? There is a need to map out all the plots that are affected so that residents and ratepayers know whether they will be affected.
  8. The guideline allows 87 units/acre to be build 20 metres from the boundary of “established housing areas”. There is no height restriction to protect existing houses adjacent to these high rise projects.
  9. It was reported that 14 projects have been approved for 87 units/acre since June 2010. How many more projects are pending approval and where are they?
  10. The draft Local Plan which was approved by the MPPP in 2008 has been put on hold indefinitely. The absence of a gazetted Local Plan has resulted in uncontrolled and haphazard development all over the island. Residents have no control and no visibility of what will be built in or near their neighbourhood.
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max saw

MPPP President and Building Director Yew had came out with statements 87units per acre supports effort of creating more affordable housing. They had relied on the pricing control imposed on 25% of the units namely :- 1) 5% – RM200,000 2) 15% RM 300,000 3) 5% – RM400,000 Points for rebuttal :- 1) 87 units per acre policy by MPPP done without any evaluation based on carrying capasity of an area in terms of population, existing infrastructure and road network. Increasing from 30units/ac to 87 units/ac is a drastic jump for the purpose to control price of houses/residential units is… Read more »


After 53 years the BN UMNO with their sycophants could not even build affordable housing for the people. They are building units at 400K which they consider as affordable and cheap housing as revealed by the housing and local govt minister, Datuk Seri Chor. Minister of Housing. But the State govt under LGE has allotted land and instructed the developer to beside building high end housing, they must also build low cost, low medium and medium cost project. Example is the SP Chelliah which ranges from 72k to 200k up to the maximum of 300K. Beside that the PR LGE… Read more »

max saw

yang I think you are stupid and confused on Affordable Housing and low Medium Cost(LMC). LMC was built during Koh Tsu Koon time and this policy was follow through by the new govt. All the areas you identified were built during BN time. Change yes but don’t follow blindly ! new govt. only take care of big developers from KL, increase with no basis from 30unit/ac to 87 units/ac, don’t you think will bring more traffic jam ? No justifications at all ! Except they plan to cut all my GreenLane trees !


wira says:There are plenty of cheap lands available on the mainland for low cost housing. But the problems is many Penangite on the island would not want to go over to live in the mainland. Even without the govt intervention housing over there are still quite cheap compared to the island


Increase of apartment density on the island is NOT the correct way to solve housing problem on the island. At the existing density which is less than half of 87 units per acre, evidence of traffic congestion is there where apartments flourish. Perak road is virtually impassable during peak hours from the junctions of Jalan Taiping to Jalan Van Praagh. Whoever did the Traffic Impact Assessment and passed it must be unqualified amateurs. There are plenty of cheap lands available on the mainland for low cost housing. At a much lower price, residents can have better quality living. Put a… Read more »

king kong

Solutions are not easy as long as there are demand. Just look at Hongkies. Their properties are sky rocketing as there are demand even from Ah Chans across the borders. If HK SAR cannot solve the problems, we expect GOD to do it? The HK Government change their policy. Now the car parking spacing have shot up. People must stopping thinking of living in paradise island. Agree with Wira, one solution is new townships and centres on the mainland and link to Seberang by MRT. If people can come to Seberang within 1/2 hour why go and live on the… Read more »


Have you looked up at Times Square (Jalan Dato Kramat) at night? How many of the residential units are lit & you will know what is the true occupancy! Tis not the recent ‘joss sticks of prosperity’ on the island, brother. And whoever have invested (speculatively) & couldn’t rent out or sell are in big troubles. Q: So what is the over-demand in reality? But the damage is done, both for rainy-green-horned greedy speculators, surreal property price dizziness manipulated by greedy developers as well as opportunity spaces for affordable housing for many Penangites. But, please don’t blame ‘Lor-ket’ for the… Read more »


If the ANY govt says that increasing supply can increase affordability or lower prices, they are lying. NO govt can afford to lower prices of property too significantly after they rise. The purpose of increasing supply is at best slow or maintain AVERAGE prices or prices at the lower end (high end property sometimes behave on their own regardless of everything else). Otherwise, the banks would go down and most existing house owners will be in rage. So increasing prices is no indication the plan to “increase affordability” is not working. Its only the rate of increase over a longer… Read more »


If one goes to the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling on the eve of Chinese New Year, one can witness the over-filled bronze joss-sticks holders.
This is a metaphorical comparison of what Penang landscape is becoming. Plus the smoke-filled air (not incense) in once beautiful Penang island.
Happy Chinese New Year everyday for happy architects, developers, planners & (some) MPPP staffs!!!