Housing in Penang: Development for whom?


One of the worrying things about Penang is the rising prices of houses, even as communities in certain areas are displaced.

Some of these problems are probably inherited. But where are the displaced residents going to move to? Can they afford to buy new homes?

Penang needs to have a housing policy that caters to the needs of its own residents. At the moment it seems like developers are building for foreign and outside speculators/’investors’ even as home ownership and property prices soar across the island.

One reason for the property investment or speculation is that bank interests rates are low, and the other is that regional investors still find Penang prices fairly cheap compared to say, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

But for many Penangites, home ownership prices have shot way beyond their budgets. And not just for working class Penangites.

Some time ago, there was talk about a housing body run or overseen by the state. In the past, the Penang Development Corporation used to play a decent role in providing affordable housing for the people. Are they as effective as they were in say, the 1970s and 80s?

With the wages that factory and even desk workers earn, coupled with the rising cost of living, how are they going to buy a home of their own?

This report from theSun:

Penang’s eight big headaches
By: By Himanshu Bhatt (Sun, 11 Jul 2010)

GEORGE TOWN (July 11, 2010): Eight urban kampungs facing eviction by new development projects in the Jelutong area here have been labelled as the “eight big headaches” of the state government.

While they all highlight the pressures faced by communities amid the rapid development on the island, Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi today decried certain quarters for using them to incite residents to go against the state.

He said all of the cases were in fact long-drawn affairs that had begun under the previous state administration.

“Many of these development issues were inherited. I hate to make reference to this matter but it is a fact,” he told a press conference at his service centre here.

Referring to a recent protest in which the state leadership was accused of not looking after interests of Malay communities, Ooi said the racial slant of the allegation was unwarranted.

“Of the eight cases, only two are Malay-majority villages. The rest are mostly Chinese,” he said.

He also noted that several of the cases had been taken to court, and as such, it would not be proper for the state to interfere at this juncture.

Ooi also pointed out that that he had helped residents facing a court ordered eviction notice obtain a three-month reprieve.

“The residents contacted me to negotiate for a reprieve of three months until after the fasting month and Hari Raya, and the developer agreed,” he said.

“We do not treat these cases as Malay, Chinese or Indian, but as Penang and Malaysian issues,” he stressed.

“It is very contentious by certain politicians to make this up to be a racial issue,” he added.

The communities include 36 families affected by expansion plans for Heng Ee school; more than 40 families asked to move due to a housing project at Yew Kongsi; more than 50 families behind the Perak Road market; 17 families beside Sri Wonder centre; 17 households at Jalan Pokok Asam; and 12 opposite Jalan Pokok Asam.

In addition, 70 households will be affected by land acquisition for a road to link Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim to the Jelutong Expressway, while compensation for another eight houses for project at Jalan Madrasah has been resolved amicably. — theSun

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Ong Eu Soon

LGE always has a strange idea of his own about almost anything in Penang. Lately he claimed that the state government can’t do anything to stop the illegal sand mining in Balik Pulau. WE all hate BN. Now is the opportunity to get evn. LGE has all the opportunity to punish all those involved in the illegal sand mining operation. We all know those involved are (probably) BN cronies. Just wonder why LGE chose to protect BN cronies when he has the opportunity.


Maybe LGE is trying to recruit those cronies(?)

Ong Eu Soon

The fact that there are a lot of mess left by KTK, does not give LGE the right to continue mess up everything in Penang. When we voted him, we expect him to be different, to clean up the mess, not to continue the policies of BN or KTK. Because of the 8 big headaches, the Penang state government decided that the residents have no legal right or what so ever in negotiating with the developers. The Penang state government also stated it’s stand not to get involve in the compensation issues. This is first time in Malaysia history a… Read more »


CAT? What CAT? Where is the Transparency, for instance?

DAP better stop accusing BN for “blackbox operation”, for Lim Guan Eng himself deeply involved in … “backroom” operation ever since he is on the helm of the Chief-Minister-ship of Penang.


Pearl, Please give some facts first before you talk otherwise just shut up


Ask Lim Guan Eng for the evidences. He knows what I am talking about.


Pearl, are you a moron or what. Its just like the police asking a criminal like (a certain party), please give me some evidence


See machai calling names?

Whenever they lose an argument they will definitely start calling names.


We do not know what you are mumbling. Pearl of oRIENT – you must be a very frustrated man with LGE. We understand you want to throw your ‘punches’ but how can a gentleman like you using someone’s blog as a punching bag.


Boy, the comments here really show how insipid, small-minded, and childish some Malaysians are. Or are they just BN bootlickers in disguise? Not that there’s much difference there, I guess.


Bootlicking is in order. Not bootlicking BN but bootlicking Lim Guan Eng.

Machais from Lim Guan Eng’s camp are in full force in Mr. Anil’s blog.

Smallmindedness? You bet. Machais are all small-minded, including those from DAP.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi Anil, The housing problem on Pg Island is more of a current ‘supply and demand’ situation. It would be good to have statistics on the available landbank size on the island, not including land area in hilly areas on the island. Of the buildable landbank size, how much is it privately owned? And what is the balance that is State-owned or Federal lands? For the State-owned landbank on the island, which portion have been earmarked for certain development, e.g. those set-aside for schools, open recreation land, factories and industries. After factoring all these in, together with other factors that… Read more »


Unlike other states, Penang Govt own only 15% of the land, much of it cannot or should not be develop such as gardens, hills, reserves etc. There really is no chance in hell for Penang Govt to have a good program for equitable housing. Those who have even a reservation of the Kampung Buah Pala resolution have no clue what the challenge of just fair housing much less equitable housing. Even if PR takes over the Federal Govt, solutions like KBP can’t get much better. Guerilla-socialist idea about land and housing have no freaking ideas of the complexity and issues… Read more »


Prices of property in good location, with economic prospects and growth seldom dip or decline. Hence it is fairly normal for property prices to move upwards, minus some corrections of ‘demand-supply’ cycles along with economic recessions.

Up-market prices are for certain segment of society, but the scary part is that even ‘mid-range’ housing is becoming so ‘expensive’. Most city or state in an open democratic society do not control much.


UMNO machais demand others to shut up.

DAP machais also demand others to shut up.

See any difference?

Machais are machais.

They are nothing but machais and they can never do anything but sucking up to their masters.

One question –

* How come DAP likes to behave so much like UMNO?


Is there truly any real plan by the Lim Guan Eng administration? So far I have not see any. The only thing I have seen so far is that Lim Guan Eng has been busy arguing against the whole world. This is a short list of people Lim Guan Eng has argued with, since he took over the CM-ship from 309. Lim Guan Eng argued against the then Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat. Lim Guan Eng argued against Tan Cheng Liang. Lim Guan Eng argued against Koh Tsu Koon. And now the latest chapter is that Lim Guan Eng is… Read more »

Human Race

It is good that you realized that you cannot see anything. How can you see when your mentality is so low and your reasoning beyond the comprehension of most commenters? Your comments are exactly like those freshie political science students! I had been observing your comments the last two weeks, and I gather that sometimes it is better for you to keep your mouth shut, instead of intruding into excellent comments by fellow commenters! Is it that that you are too free and have nothing to do? If so, you can continue with your circus and let the fellow commenters… Read more »


Pearl, Why did LGE argue against all the people you mentioned. Well well, because they are all so incompetent. Why LGE did not plan ahead for Penang better like you said. Here again like an incompetent fool, you are also too blind to see thing through. After this you will have nothing more else to say except to call us machai again. Thats only what you are good at, isn`t it nothing else. try again



Are you saying that in this world only Lim Guan Eng is competent, the rest of the human race is incompetent?


I, too, hate it when the doctor said,’The problem is inherited.’ Sigh…it ain’t fault of mine but it it still true and nothing to hate. It is insane for future generation to perpetuate the problem by not choosing a right partner. It is just an applied wisdom for both cases. Anyway, I heard that Penang is now the choice real estate property to buy since Pakatan took over. A 70s type Penang Development Corporation must be resurrected if Penangites are to be ensured with affordable housing in the future. Aye to that!


Gerakan K, That is simply an incredibly shallow reasoning and, pardon my language, one of the stupidest thing I’ve heard for a very long time. Yes, it is indeed unfortunate to hear the state government replaying the same line over and over again that it is an inherited problem. But at least, given time, there would be no such further abuses of power at least so long as Lim Guan Eng is running Penang. But letting the previous government run the show again? Then it is just continuining to let these problems fester and continue. Heck, if Gerakan was still… Read more »


Sorry to divert, Anil, the question now is will the DAP succumb or give in to the courting by UMNO? PAS has refused UMNO, now, will DAP do the same? The shameless courting by UMNO of DAP is indeed shocking. It is reported that Najib had forgotten MCA, MIC and had forgotten how to spell Gerakan. It is now courting the DAP! How desperate and shameless UMNO! Just how low can they go? Let us see the mettle of the DAP, whether they will betray their PR partners for power and riches? Najib is ready to dump the likes of… Read more »


Gerakan K:

“If so let the previous government run the show again.”
You must be dreaming indeed….


Gerakan K, so you want Gerakan & BN to run the show again. Please ask the people first and they will give you an answer `NAH`

Gerakan K

I hate this line of statement:

Some of these problems are probably inherited

Almost every time that the DAP State government being caught in trouble or any criticism to it being replied as inherited problem.

What a standard and irresponsible answer. If so let the previous government run the show again.


It is a fact that the previous government have make a mess of the Pearl of the Orient. Now the PR LGE government is clearing up that mess but their … partner from UMNO and their henchman and sycophant are trying to start the mess again by stirring racial sentiment again. They thought they could succeed by enticing 5 MP but instead their act have failed miserably. Tan Tee Beng is hiding now … while the Zahrain is dancing and spewing … with nobody giving him a damn… What this Najib & UMNO don`t understand is that the more they… Read more »

Human Race

Fool of the first order, do you know that Najib cannot remember how to spell Gerakan now? Is it Gelakan? Still dreaming to be in power? Are you still unaware that UMNO is wooing DAP, dangling cabinet positions etc? What kind of political commenter is this? Is this just an UMNO/BN bootlicker?

Gerakan K

I know who you are. You can’t stop the urge to interact with me. Eeeeee. In case you don’t understand, in BN the Gerakan party is the big four.

Please take a bath before commenting. BN will never cooperate with DAP under any circumstances !!!


UMNO & Najib BN will always stoop to the lowest of lowest to do anything to stay in power. They tried to entice PAS, Now they try DAP. They could not get Anwar but use the most despicable way, that to (lure) PKR MP. They will do anything under any circumstances. Thats is their traits for 52 years. But DAP unlike some stooges will not stoop so low as to go for free lunches…


Gerakan K, To be more correct, it should be the 4 weaklings