Penang blueprint still a no-show - Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

Penang blueprint still a no-show

GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan has demanded that the Pakatan Rakyat state government explain the status of its Penang socio-economic development blueprint.

Penang Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong recalled that the PR government once announced it would table a bill at the Penang Legislative Assembly in 2011 to pass the blueprint.

“The bill has yet to be tabled at the assembly to become law and act as guidelines on development and to safeguard the environment.”

“But four years on, we are yet to see the bill.”

“What has happened to the Penang blueprint?” asked Oh here today.

Without blueprint guidelines, he said any development work could be carried out at the whims and fancies of industry players as long as the state government and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) were agreeable to it.

Currently, he said uncontrolled projects were mushrooming and causing massive problems in the city due to the lack of a blueprint.

He said the height density of buildings and traffic congestion had already become a major issue to affected neighbourhood residents and the lay public.

He pointed out that high rise projects would drastically increase the housing density in an area.

Since 2009, he said developers had proposed to MBPP to develop parcels of land next to The Croft and Leader Garden, and nearby TAR College in Tanjung Bungah, and two more in Batu Ferringhi.

He said the projects, if approved, would create five 50-storey buildings, as stated by DAP’s Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu.

He said that developing an area should also involve providing infrastructure and amenities including a fire station, clinic, schools and recreation parks, and “certainly not just tall buildings and houses.”

“The higher the population density, the more local issues, especially traffic congestion, will crop up,” said Oh.

He said Gerakan had repeatedly asked the state government to reveal the Penang Blueprint because “it is our hope to limit high-density development, especially on our beautiful island.”

He also cited a recent press report quoting DAP’s Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi as saying that the completion date for the U-turn road project near the Udini Roundabout was extended five times without any punishment.

“A project which is supposed to be finished in 517 days was only completed after 1,075 days.

“Is this called efficiency? Why would MBPP be so lenient to the contractor?” Oh asked.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Executive Councillor Chow Kon Yeow has reportedly said that a 10-month extension was given to save and relocate surrounding trees.

Oh said MBPP could take more effective action if the blueprint bill had been gazetted, such as in disapproving high-density projects.

He said the city council could prevent or deter developers from using loopholes to tear-down heritage buildings without approval.

“But it will be too late and disastrous to start talking about the Penang Blueprint when our environment had already been destroyed,” warned Oh.





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