Friday, May 19, 2017

The Cove: Why Considering Rejected 65 Storey Development Again?

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MANAGEMENT CORPORATION OF THE COVE CONDOMINIUM.


2017 May 19

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ERECTION OF A 65 STOREY BUILDING ON THE SITE OF THE COPTHORNE HOTEL IN TANJUNG BUNGAH, PENANG

Erecting a 65 storey mixed development of a 250 unit per acre density in a residential area would be preposterous. This was rejected by the MBPP in March 2017 why are we considering an identical application on the same site 6 weeks later?

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The Cove MC and the residents of Tanjung Bungah had earlier complemented and congratulated the councillors of MBPP for having civic conscience, civic conviction and the personal courage to reject the Development Proposals for the re-development of the Copthorne Orchid Hotel in Tanjung Bungah, Penang by:

(i) the demolition of the existing 2o storey hotel building;

(ii) replacing the existing hotel by erecting a 65 storey building on the site comprising 217 units of condominium and a hotel with 420 rooms together with all the other ancillary structures and facilities.

By all accounts the Development Proposals will be a concrete monstrosity which should not have even been considered, and much less, be permitted in an established township and community like Tanjung Bungah.

It was subsequently learnt to the surprise and utter dismay of the Cove Management Corporation (Cove MC) that the State Planning Committee (SPC) had in fact granted its approval for the erection of the building(s) and infrastructure comprised in the Development Proposals without any form of public consultation or engagement whatsoever with the residents of Tanjung Bungah.

After obtaining the approval of the SPC, the Development Proposals were subsequently submitted to MBPP for its approval as required by law. The Cove MC and some resident of Sea-homes presented their objections to the Proposed Development at a hearing before the MBPP.

The rejection of the Development Proposals by MBPP Councillors upon the reasoned objection of the Cove MC in the face of the approval granted by the SPC, encourages the belief that there is hope that the rights, interests and welfare of the people of Penang can and will be heard above the vociferous noise of the machinery of rampant development without regard for the due process of law, the heritage, the environment and the people.

To its dismay but not its surprise, the Cove MC has recently received a new notification following the rejection of the Development Proposals, that the proprietor of the Copthorne Orchid Hotel has re-submitted a revision of the Proposed Developments for the approval of MBPP.

The revised Development Proposals is for all intents and purposes identical to that previously rejected Development Proposals which proposes the erection of a g 65 stories building which include 420 hotel rooms and 217 commercial apartment units together with all the other ancillary infrastructures and facilities.

The appetite for the monstrous development is unabated.

The fight for the Tanjung Bungah Community continues.

In the disastrous event that the new Development Proposals are approved by MBPP, the heart and soul of the Tanjung Bungah and the island of Penang will be destroyed and forever changed. The people of Penang and the residents of Tanjung Bungah in particular, call upon:

(i) the good councillors of MBPP to abide by (i) the doctrine of the supremacy of the law (ii) the principles of good governance and (iii) the need for social justice;

(ii) The SPC to re-consider if the SPC’s existing approval granted for the Development proposal should be revoked as the terms of the approval appear to contradict the CAT principles of good governance.

Yours Sincerely 
Tan Sri Dato Gajaraj A/L Munusamy Dhanarajan 
For and on behalf of 
The Cove Management Committee

PDF copy: https://goo.gl/T8XccM

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

News from the New TBRA Committee

News from the TANJONG BUNGA RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
(20 March, 2017)


New Committee Elected

Kindly be informed that at the Annual General Meeting of the TBRA held on Saturday, 25 February 2017, a new Committee has been elected as follows:

Chairperson: Meenakshi (aka Meena) Raman.
Vice-Chairperson: Agnes James
Secretary: Peter Boyd
Assistant Secretary: Annelies Allain
Treasurer: Cheong Ah Hoo, Alice 

Ordinary Committee Members: Shirin Chan, Zulfikar Abdul Aziz, Dr. Rajeswary Raman, Murlidhar, and Jerry Lang.

The new Chair, Meena is associated with several NGOs in Penang such as the Consumers Association of Penang, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia) and the Third World Network, who are all based in Penang.

New Committee meets

The new committee held its first meeting on Saturday, 11 March 2017 and discussed several issues that were raised during the AGM, which included the Taman Komuniti Tanjong Bunga, (commonly referred to as the ‘Sore Thumb’), the North-Coast Pair Road, and trees being cut down near the Guillemard Reservoir.

The Committee resolved to follow-up actively on these matters to address the concerns of Tanjung Bunga residents in this regard.  

The Committee also discussed the need to recruit more members to join the TBRA and to also reach out to other residents’ associations on Penang Island.



Dr Lim Mah Hui’s resignation speech to Penang Island City Council

Excerpt from Dr. Lim Mah Hui's December 2016 speech of resignation as MBPP councillor after serving six years:

"One of the most serious threats facing the council is over building in the city. I will not call this development. Development is not about erecting more high-rise buildings in every imaginable plot of land all over the island, with scant regard to neighbourhood, street scape, traffic congestion and liveability. Buildings with heritage value, even if not yet designated as such, are torn down illegally, as with the Khaw Sim Bee mansion, or legally as in the dismantling of a heritage value building along Macalister Road, to make way for the Tropicana project.

Last month building guidelines on height control along Scotland Road, a designated protocol road, were changed to allow a developer to double the number of floors he can build from 12 to 22 on a small plot of one-acre land. In another case, submission for approval has been made for construction of a 38-storey hotel on a small plot of land measuring 29,000 sq ft in a residential area along Jln Tanjong Tokong and Pantai Molek. There is good development and there is bad development. Such practices, in my mind, do not constitute good or sustainable development.

Let me now touch on the running of the Council. The Council exists to serve ratepayers and the public. Section 23 of the Local Government Act 1976 states that all meetings of the local authority shall be open to the public and to representatives of the press unless the local authority by resolution at the meeting otherwise decides, although this clause does not apply to any committee unless such committee decides otherwise."

For full speech, see http://anilnetto.com/democracy/civil-society/dr-lim-mah-huis-resignation-speech-penang-island-city-council/

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Chairman’s Address at TBRA AGM, February 25, 2017

      
Good afternoon fellow members and welcome to the AGM of the Tanjung Bunga Residents Association. A special welcome to our new members!

Penang and Tanjung Bunga continue to be threatened with unrestrained and unplanned development. More and more high rise high density projects have been and are being built in Tanjung Bunga and Batu Feringghi greatly increasing traffic flows through our neighbourhood to and from the city. Density in Penang, once 30 units per acre, was increased to 87 a few years ago and will be increased by the authorities to 128 units per acre, quadrupling what it used to be. A 65 storey building will replace the Copthorne hotel, dwarfing its already giant neighbours at the Cove and One Tanjung.

The recently conducted Survey of the Structure Plan raises fresh concerns. The whole concept of primary and secondary corridors is under review and likely to be dropped. Instead there is the new concept of “optimization” of the available land in Penang. There are many flaws and contradictions in this hastily put together and belated review but the fundamental message is a good one for developers and a depressing one for people concerned about their quality of life and the environment. The TBRA has sent in its comments on the review to the planning authorities.

The hills, a key heritage of Penang, are in great danger. There is more construction of high rise buildings on sensitive hill slopes, some of which are clearly illegal. Our fellow residents’ association in Sungai Ara won a landmark appeal against one such development last year but now must contend with another. Similarly, the residents in Paya Terubong have appealed a hill development project which is currently being heard by the appeals board. From the air and from the drive into Penang on the bridge, one can clearly see the horrific damage done to our beautiful hills. Here in Tanjung Bunga, we have the Alilla 2 construction precariously situated on a sensitive hillside, believed to be illegal and other worrying developments in Chee Seng Gardens.

There is the issue of the paired roads that are already under construction. It is not clear how these roads to the Northeast and South of Tanjung Bunga will connect with each other. The idea is to improve traffic flows to and from Batu Feringghi and the city but we can only see more blockages resulting from this. Worse, the Northeastern road will cut through forested areas, endangering the little there is left of Tanjung Bunga’s green areas and the flora and fauna there

The TBRA is affiliated to the Penang Forum and supports its efforts to take up all these issues with the authorities. Together with the Penang Forum, we have set up the Residents Associations of Penang, now with 12 member associations, to support one another. Residents associations are a key element in the struggle to promote and protect peoples’ concerns.

Last year we supported the efforts of a group of residents in Tanjung Bunga to push for the disconnection and dismantlement of 2 Telco towers at schools in Tan Jit Seng and Lembah Permai. This well organized group finally succeeded after many years of frustration to get the State Exco to act. It was most satisfying to be there with them when YB Chow informed them of the decision.

The TBRA committee has been anxious to prevent a marina being built in Tanjung Bunga and was very keen to revive the idea of the Sore Thumb being made into a public park. The lack of public open spaces is a major issue in Penang and Tanjung Bunga is no exception. Encouragingly, the Chief Minister had agreed in December that we can put up a project for the park and the plans for this should be ready by early next month for presentation to him. The concept is for a self-sustainable park that will promote environmental awareness, highlighting water conservation, energy conservation, recycling, fauna and flora etc and catering for children, youth, and adults. There will be a special walkaway around the Sore Thumb with stunning sea views and “pit stops” which will highlight the subjects that I mentioned. There will be a football field and even an outdoor auditorium. If realized we will have something special for Tanjung Bungah and for Penang to enjoy.

With development happening so fast, with all the accompanying issues of environmental damage, traffic congestion and public concerns being ignored, it is important that we stand together as a community and do what we can to preserve the Tanjung Bunga that we love. The TBRA is the official body through which this can be done and we need your support to be effective. Help us broaden our membership and consider joining the committee to show your commitment to saving Tanjung Bunga. We have supported other RAs when they have had their issues but here, in our own community, support has sadly been lacking.

Finally, do check out our Facebook page, our WhatsApp group “Saving Tanjung Bunga” and our blog. Your feedback using this media will be much appreciated.

Farewell
Renji Sathiah

Friday, February 10, 2017

TBRA's AGM for 2017 on Feb 25, 230pm, Saturday

TANJONG BUNGA RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
Notification of Annual General Meeting
Dear Members and friends of TBRA,
Our Association will hold its 2017 Annual General Meeting on:
Date:    Saturday 25 February 2017
Venue: Meeting Room (Boardroom) Tanjong Bunga Market, 11200 Penang,
  1st floor
Time:  2:30 pm to pay annual membership fees, so you can vote !
             3:00 pm start AGM if quorum is reached
Agenda:
The business of the Annual General Meeting shall consist of:
a)    To receive the Chairman’s address;
b)    To confirm the minutes of the previous General Meeting;
c)    To receive and adopt the Annual Report by the Secretary;
d)    To receive and adopt the Audited Statement of Accounts by the Treasurer;
e)    To proceed with elections: Please let us know if you are willing to be on the Committee; that would be greatly appreciated;
f)      To consider any resolution of which written notice should be given to the Secretary at least seven (7) clear days prior to the meeting;
g)    To discuss matters of general interest;
Please do attend !

Monday, December 05, 2016

What’s to become of Penang’s Sore Thumb?

(A history and update of "Sore Thumb" of Tanjong Bungah)
Around 2005 - Some reclamation
A piece of prime seafront public land on the Tanjong Bungah coast has been progressively reclaimed since 2000.  In 2006 when the reclamation became monstrous, residents in Tanjong Bungah began describing this rocky promontory as the ‘Sore Thumb’ as it stood out like one, marring the coastline between The Cove and Penang Swimming Club. 
2006 January. Green roof is Tanjong Club.
Crane is The Cove. White roof is Penang Swimming Club.
The original plot of land measures 1.5 acres and is identified by its land title as Lot 4658.  In 1994 the state government granted a lease, over Lot 4658, of 60 years (1994 – 2055) to Purerich Realty Sdn BHd at a cost of RM1 million. This was in spite of the fact that the company did not own any adjoining land and thus did not have any legal right to apply for the lease.  
2006 January with activities
 While the State government at the time knew about the irregularity of the lease, and the subsequent land reclamation, nothing was done to rectify the lease or stop the extension of Lot 4658 by way of dumping rocks off the coast.
2006 January Close-up 1
Three commercial attempts have been made to transform the land to a marina with lay out plans increasing in grandiosity with each attempt.  Planning permission was in fact granted in 1996 to Purerich to construct a marina, but after six extensions the planning permission expired in 2007 without any engineered foundation being prepared for the reclaimed land (Sore Thumb). 
2006 January Close-up 2
The lease of the land was then transferred to Province Valley Sdn Bhd in 2009 and by the following year plans were prepared for a bigger marina with a 7.7 acre pontoon to berth 80 boats alongside a 5-story hotel and retail outlets, but again the proposal came to nothing.


2013 By Anil Netto (http://anilnetto.com)
  More 2013 images from Anil Netto at Flickr

2016 September. Sore Thumb and One Tanjong entrance
The third and most recent attempt was in April 2015 when the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) called for tenders for a massive marina that would berth 200 – 400 boats, including super yachts (24 m or longer). Total land reclamation would be allowed for a maximum of 20 acres and would be leased for 99 years. The entire “study area” would span from Tanjong Tokong to Batu Ferringhi and 5 km into the sea, possibly engulfing the iconic Pulau Tikus island; a minuscule island steeped in local legends.  Fortunately, by June this year, this massive marina plan was discontinued.  

2016 September. Sore Thumb, future Coastal Park entrance.
Nevertheless the ‘Sore Thumb’ remains.  This mound of raw earth and rocks has become overgrown with shrubs and grass.  The Tanjong Bunga Residents’ Association (TBRA) has repeatedly appealed to and requested the State authorities to give this public space to the people of Tanjong Bunga. 

2016 September. Future Tanjong Bunga Coastal Park entrance
Nine years ago in 2007, the TBRA collected 1500 signatures from residents to petition for the ‘Sore Thumb’ to be converted to a public coastal park.  In 2010 the proposal was formally submitted to the State authorities, detailing the creation of three levels of recreational space; sports fields as well as paths for joggers and walkers thus creating a natural environment devoid of permanent structures to keep costs down and avoid pollution.  


2016 September. Tanjong Bunga Coastal Park entrance
This piece of reclaimed land can easily be converted to a public coastal park for all to enjoy.  The local State assembly representative, YB Teh Yee Cheu in 2012 called for the Sore Thumb to be preserved as a green lung under the Local Agenda 21 and to be gazetted as the Tanjong Bunga Coastal Park. The last thing the public want to see happen here is an exclusive, sprawling marina, restricting public access to the beach.
Ruk Uman
Penang

For more info, search this blog for "sore thumb".
Or search Anil Netto's blog: http://anilnetto.com/?s=sore+thumb

Sunday, December 04, 2016

For Review NOW!!! Penang Structure Plan 2020

State Structure Plan 2020: Starting DECEMBER, you have your brief chance to review it and make comments!!!

Link to download docs: https://we.tl/7ETHQlROfR
Link to news story:
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/191291/penang-get-feedback-revised-state-structure-plan-2020-next-month
 
"The state government had drew flak from many quarters for delaying the gazetting and review of the SSP, which was overdue since 2012."

"The state government will be gathering public feedback for a revised State Structure Plan 2020 (SSP) beginning December. ... the feedback from two-months of public viewing would be used as a base for the 2030 SSP draft. ... displayed at the State Secretary’s Office, Komtar; Penang Island City Council and the Seberang Prai Municipal Council.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

One Page Summary: Objections against Copthorne re-development into 65 storeys

Objections against Copthorne re-development into 65 storeys

Imagine a KOMTAR in Tanjong Bunga !  A mixed development right on our beach !

A “travesty in the making”, says Michael Deeb, who leads the Cove residents’ opposition to the project. And indeed, there are monstrous plans now submitted to the Penang Council to destroy the current 22 storey Copthorne Hotel and replace it by a set of new buildings and car parks with a 65 storey tower close to the beach.

It would be a very high-density building with 217 apartments and 420 hotel rooms on a 2.5 acre site, translating into 254 units per acre.  That is almost double the allowed density in Kuala Lumpur (132) and way, way above the ideal maximum density in Tanjong Bunga which is 15 units per acre under the applicable rules of the Secondary Development Corridor.
By comparison, the 4 towers of the Cove only have 144 (admittedly huge) units, which translates into a density of 26 per acre, allowed under Primary Development Corridor rules, applicable to George Town.

The Cove would indeed be most affected by the towering ‘monster’ within 6 meters of its perimeter. At the MBPP hearing on 29 November, the Cove lawyers insisted on the need for preliminary studies (wind tunnel effect, traffic flow and setback rules), which were not provided or never done but necessary before the Council was to consider the project.

Another issue was zoning; currently the area is a tourist zone but it would have to be rezoned to allow for mixed development.  With all this pending it was hard to make precise objections to the proposed development.  Hence, for the Cove and Seahome residents, the hearing was considered premature. The Council will have to collect more information and then call for another hearing.

As direct neighbors, the Cove and Seahome residents are the only ones consulted by MBPP but it is clear that all of Tanjong Bunga will be affected. For at least 4 years if ever this plan is allowed to go ahead. Just imagine how many thousands of lorries will be crowding the service road and then the main road, first to cart off the debris of the old building and then to bring in the tons of concrete and what else it takes to construct Tanjong Bunga’s Komtar.

One of the plans is to build 5 storeys underground for car parks; but given that the hotel sits on a massive granite block, the digging can only be done by explosives; ergo, stop all traffic on Tanjong Bunga road ! The danger, noise, debris and dust will be unbearable for the people who live in Tingkat Laut, the now quiet Seahome street with just double storey bungalows within 4 to 6 meters of Copthorne land.  The explosions will shock and alarm people miles away, not least the Dalat School students, so close by.

At the press conference after the MBPP hearing, Michael Deeb, explained all this to reporters and showed them how close the new tower would be to the 4 Cove buildings. He also warned that it would harm investment. As an example, he noted that currently 71 of the 144 units of the Cove are owned by foreigners, the remaining 73 belong to locals, 50 of whom occupy their units, renting out the remainder to foreigners. He suspected that if Copthorne is given the green light, many of the owners will consider giving up on their investments and there will be more empty and low value apartments.   ENDS aa 30-11-16

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MBBB Objection Hearing - The Cove Press Release – Copthorne Redevelopment, 29th November 2016

THE COVE CONDOMINIUM
COVE MANAGEMENT CORPORATION
Perbadanan Pengurusan Cove (PTG/PB/STRATA/SPP/63)
Pejabat Pengurusan
521C-1-1, Jalan Tanjong Bungah, The Cove
11200 Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-8990799 Fax: 04-8990799
Email: thecove.management@gmail.com



UPDATE at 13:40 29th November 2016 after MBPP Objection Hearing 

This morning at 9:00 am Michal Deeb & Jin Tan together with their lawyers representing the 144 units ate the Cove Condominium attended the objection hearing called by the MBPP. Three owners from the adjacent Seahome were also present to register their objection.

The meeting was chaired by Datuk Patahiyah Ismail .

Facts Established:

  • The proposed building will be 65 stories high or 253.8 meters tall
  • It sits on 2.5 Acres of land
  • It will include a total of 637 habitable units made up of 217 residential units & 420 hotel rooms
  • It is a mixed development proposed on a plot which is currently zoned for tourism.
The Cove presented its objection on the basisthat the proposed building is of an unprecedented scale, height, size and type for the entire of Penang and if allowed to go ahead will represent a new precedent which will have dramatic and in our view serious negative impact on the low density residential local area and Penang as a whole. For this reason, it is imperative that the application for the proposed development is scrutinised with the outmost care by the council to ensure that priority is given to the long‐term impact and the wellbeing of the community rather than the profits of the developer.

More importantly it is our contention that the objection hearing was called prematurely based on the following grounds:

CRITICAL ASSESSMENT STUDIES PRESCRIBED BY CURRENT GUIDELINES

The guidelines require that certain studies are conducted and reports based on the same are submitted by the developer as part of their application. Those reports such as traffic impact assessment, social impact assessment, wind loading/ tunnelling etc.. are essential to allow the council and planners to properly evaluate the viability ad merit of the application. Guidelines also prescribe that such repots should be provided to the adjacent residents to allow them to submit an informed objection.

During the hearing, it was established that:

  1. The developer is said to have conducted some of those studies.
  2. The wind loading/ tunnelling and social impact assignments have not as of yet been conducted.
  3. The reports relating to the studies already conducted were not provided to the Council or to the residents.
Based on the above and in the absence of the said reports it is our contention that the council is missing information essential to assessing the viability and merit of the application and that in having not been given an opportunity to see or review the reports the residents do not have adequate basis to submit an informed objection.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Cove Press Release – Copthorne Redevelopment 29th November 2016

THE COVE CONDOMINIUM
COVE MANAGEMENT CORPORATION
Perbadanan Pengurusan Cove (PTG/PB/STRATA/SPP/63)
Pejabat Pengurusan
521C-1-1, Jalan Tanjong Bungah, The Cove
11200 Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-8990799 Fax: 04-8990799
Email: thecove.management@gmail.com

Tanjung Bungah is a low density residential area known for its natural beauty and serene coastline. The Cove Condominium is a low density residential development of 144 units built on around 5.5 acres. This equates to a density of 26 units per acre. The area surrounding the Cove is primarily a low density residential area made up predominantly of single / double storey residential homes. Some medium height buildings exist but they form the exception and minority.

The Copthorne Hotel situated in the heart of Tanjung Bungah is a 20‐storey building with a number of residential bungalows nestled directly adjacent on one side and the Cove on the other.

A mere 5.8m separates the walls of the Copthorne from the carpark walls of the Cove and 25 meters from its bedroom windows. On the other side, a few meters are the only separation between the Copthorne and the residential bungalows.

                            A TRAVESTY IN THE MAKING

The proposed redevelopment of the Copthorne will include a 60‐storey mixed development which includes 217 apartments and 420 hotel rooms on a 2.5‐acre site zoned for tourism.

Setting aside technicalities, if planning permission is granted this would without a doubtset a terrifying precedent for the future of Tanjug Bungah and the entire island.

The site is zoned for Tourism and the planning application describes a 60‐storey building however the actual height is commensurate with 63.5 stories. A building of this size, height and make up being a mixed development of residential units and hotel would be a first of its kind ever built on a site zoned for Tourism. Does this fit in the midst of a low density residential area?


Monday, August 01, 2016

Useful Resource Penang Property Development

To learn about property developments that you like and do not like, remember to make use of this active forum by property development enthusiasts:

SkyScraperCity Penang
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=336214

SkyScraperCity Malaysia

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/forumdisplay.php?f=164

 Or Google Site Search this site, for Penang + your search term
Eg, "Penang Copthorne"
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.skyscrapercity.com+penang+copthorne

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Better Cheaper Faster Penang" Transport Master Plan by Penang Forum





In July, the Penang Forum presented its alternative master transport plan for Penang, called "Better, Cheaper, Faster Penang."

Here is the main page for links: http://www.bettercheaperfaster.my/report

Here are links to the:

Friday, June 03, 2016

A Haunt in the Hills

The hills of Penang are dotted with “haunted houses” – bungalows built as retreats from the heat of the lowlands in the days before air conditioning was ubiquitous. They’ve since been abandoned, and are now slowly being reclaimed by the jungle.

One such bungalow is on the little-hiked Bukit Lang (also known as Bukit Zizai) in Tanjung Bungah. This haunted house – never particularly easy to reach – was made even more inaccessible when a construction project in Lembah Permai bulldozed through the lower reaches of the trail.

"Haunted" House
Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu, known for trying to get his constituents out of their cars and onto their bicycles, is a keen hiker himself. With support from Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kesihatan (JKKK) Tanjung Bungah and plenty of volunteers, the trail was recently re-routed and re-opened. The haunted house was given a coat of paint and a new roof; and with its availability of fresh water the trail has the potential to become a regular destination for local hikers and fitness enthusiasts, much like rest stops 5 and 46 on Penang Hill.

This haunted house was officially re-opened on April 17 this year. I joined the opening hiking party at the start of the new trail, which lies at the very end of Lorong Lembah Permai 3, past Tunku Abdul Rahman College. It is clearly marked between two large rocks with a signboard stating “Zizai Lodge, 1,650 kaki”. This 1,650 feet (about 500m) is the altitude of the haunted house. For comparison, Penang Hill is at 2,411 feet (734m). ...

... For full article, please read: http://penangmonthly.com/a-haunt-in-the-hills/

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Make public consultant report on Penang Transport Master Plan


 May 10, 2016. By Dr Lim Mah Hui

The Penang Government has been releasing information on a piecemeal basis, making it difficult for concerned NGOs to provide constructive criticisms on the viability of schemes under the plan.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/penang-1.jpg

NGOs initiated the idea of a Penang master transport plan

Civil society is not against the Penang state government’s idea for a transport master plan. In fact it was the NGOs that first suggested this idea in 2009 to the new Penang Government that just came into power.

Many professionals from civil society volunteered their time freely and served in the Penang Transport Council and helped prepare the documentation for commissioning the master transport plan that was then awarded to the Halcrow consultants in mid-2011.

So the state government cannot accuse us of opposing the idea of a master transport plan. What we are questioning is the content of the present Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) as proposed by SRS consultant (SRS Consortium) with its many flaws.

SRS is a joint venture between Gamuda Berhad, Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd and Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Release the SRS consultant report in full

The Penang Government invited public participation. It has organised many briefing sessions by the SRS consultants to members of public. We welcome that. But we say this is only a small, though positive, part of a consultative process.

However, for the consultation to be truly genuine, the first and foremost condition is for the Penang state government to release in full the report done by the SRS on the PTMP.

So far it has only provided very selective and superficial parts of the study to the public in public forums and on its website.

The public cannot be expected to give proper feedback when they are partially blindfolded. This is not acceptable for a state that professes to practise CAT (competence, accountability and transparency).

If the state has nothing to hide, as it claims, it must answer satisfactorily why the full report is not shared with the public. Which parts are confidential and why?

The state cannot hide behind legal excuses and the limitations in the freedom of information curtain for not releasing the report.

We have wasted six months of precious time since the report was given to the state in November 2015.

Members of the public have a right to know what is in the report so that they can engage more meaningfully with the state.

Go beyond top-down briefing sessions

Second, the public sessions conducted are mainly top-down briefing sessions by the consultants followed by question-and-answer sessions. There is little follow-up on how the questions and concerns raised are addressed.

When several NGOs provided written feedback, instead of getting together to professionally discuss the concerns raised and going through the objections and facts scientifically, a press conference is called to debunk the NGOs who are accused of not doing their homework. There is no positive engagement.

Among the fundamental issues raised are the population and ridership assumptions, the costs of the different public transport systems, and the lack of financial feasibility studies for each of the proposed public transport system.

If these details are in the report, they must be made public. They cannot be hidden and then selectively given piecemeal to the public.

Don’t put the cart before the horse and financially burden Penangites

It is easy to propose building an LRT, monorail or a tram system from an engineering point of view.

But it is more difficult to manage and run them efficiently and in a financially viable manner so as not to plunge the public into huge debt as has happened in many places, including the LRT system in Kuala Lumpur, that had to be bailed out by the government.

Hence, we have been asking that a detailed financial feasibility study be provided to the public for each of these proposed systems.

This includes not only the construction costs, but the operation and maintenance costs, the depreciation costs, the replacement cost, the ridership forecast, the projected revenue, the financial break even analysis, the expected profit or loss, how much the state would have to subsidise yearly, etc.

Such detailed analyses on each different system and options (e.g. an LRT versus tram line to the airport) must be done and considered before deciding which system is most suitable and financially viable

Among the answers we are getting is that after the project is built, the government will then call for tenders to manage and operate the project. This is putting the cart before the horse and is not international best practice. It puts too much financial risk on the people of Penang.

That is why we urgently call for a genuine and open consultative process and urge the state government not to rush into signing multi-billion tender awards that may end up financially unviable and burdening Penangites of this and future generations.

Dr Lim Mah Hui is a Penang city councillor

With a firm belief in freedom of expression and without prejudice, FMT tries its best to share reliable content from third parties. Such articles are strictly the writer’s personal opinion. FMT does not necessarily endorse the views or opinions given by any third party content provider.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

NGOs' 2-Minute Video Response to the Penang Transport Masterplan


The Penang Transport Masterplan

The NGOs' response to The Penang Transport Master Plan in less than 2 minutes.... please share the video! #‎PenangTransportMasterplan


槟城交通大蓝图 - 15 个NGO 的回应及建议

这个将会影响到每一个槟城人,长达50年,400亿的《交通大蓝图》所建议的公交系统
­采用会影响槟城市容的高架 LRT 及 Monorail ,兴建道路等。由“槟城论坛”及15个非政府组织所组成联署,道出这个计划中的隐忧,­并建议以轻轨车(新型电车)做替代方案,并列出其优点。

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Penang Heritage Trust: Impressions of Prangin Canal and the Penang Transport Master Plan



Impressions of how the proposed monorail, light rail transit (LRT) and the integrated transit hub in Prangin Canal area will look like from the Penang Transport Master Plan. These views will show the relative distance of the pylons, the height of the platforms, and the possible developments that may happen within and at the boundaries of the George Town World Heritage Site.

PHT is not against any form of development that will benefit the population. However, we question the need to propose 3 different lines (including the tram), at various elevations and with an inflated cost, as compared to modern day, integated ground level trams which cost a fraction of what is proposed here.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1101488409914162.1073741837.206250309437981&type=3

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Public response to Penang transport masterplan

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, wish to issue the following statement in response to the Penang Transport Master Plan.


We support the idea of a transport masterplan and the need to prioritise public transport over the present private car-centred transport system. We wish to commend the Penang State Government for this pro-active move. However there are very fundamental and critical issues that need to be addressed before the current proposals by SRS are acceptable.

1. Do our population projections warrant such a massive scheme at such tremendous costs, currently estimated at RM40bn? SRS projects 2.45m people by 2030 while the Malaysian Statistics Department projects 1.94m by 2040. Penang currently has negative population growth and the only way SRS’s projected figures can be achieved is if there is a massive net in-migration of over 50,000 people yearly – something that is unrealistic.

2. Following from the above, the financial viability of a public transport system is dependent on ridership and usage and its cost structure; otherwise, it ends up as a bleeding white elephant waiting to be bailed out by the people of Penang. Will our projected ridership be able to support such costly projects as the LRT and monorail, which are four to six times more expensive than new generation tram systems, which can equal the carrying capacity of LRT.

3. The success of a public transport system also hinges on its level of accessibility, connectivity and integration. As far as possible, there should a single integrated system. Why does SRS propose four different systems – LRT, monorail, tram and bus rapid transit – which will be difficult and more costly to coordinate, maintain & upgrade? Seamless connectivity will be difficult to achieve and KL’s failures should not be repeated.

4. The monorail is eminently unsuitable for the Penang landscape, being elevated, unsightly and intrusive. Even the present chief minister of Penang rejected the monorail system in 2013 as being unsuitable for the city. Transport experts tell us it is used for short sectors at theme parks and is hardly used anywhere in the world for public transportation. Furthermore, it is unsafe. If a breakdown or fire occurs midway, there is no safe route for passengers to escape. Sydney has dismantled its monorail, and Malacca’s monorail is non-functional and a visual and economic blight on its city. Do we need to go down this treacherous route?

5. Why is the tram system limited to the World Heritage Site? Modern generation trams are used in many cities. These modern trams are more manoeuverable, flexible and much less costly to build and operate. Trams require only an 11m turning radius compared to the LRT’s 135m, hence reducing the extent of land acquisition required if an LRT system is built. Their carrying capacity also matches LRT. A combination of a single integrated network of modern trams with BRT can adequately cater to both the island and the mainland’s needs.

6. The most worrying concern is that the PTMP lacks vision. It is touted as a plan for Penang for the next 50 years. Yet it is trapped in 20th century technology and approach in planning. It proposes obsolescent solutions to Penang’s transport problems, ignoring the latest developments in mass transit planning around the world. It neither anticipates nor plans for future sustainability and is still very car-centric. It will condemn the people of Penang to a system that does not resolve the state’s transportation woes and for a very high and unjustifiable cost.

7. Progressive cities throughout the world are now taking steps to reduce rather than cater to private vehicles entering into cities, greening and removing highways, and aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions. Yet, priority is given in the PTMP to building more roads and tunnels to cater to private vehicles. The purpose of building public transport is to reduce, not encourage, private vehicle usage. Even the new mayor of a car-centric city like Houston, Slyvester Turner, recently acknowledged that widening one of the city’s main highways to 26 lanes at a cost of RM10bn (US$2.6bn) only increased traffic and made congestion worse! Penang, which proudly declares it wants to lead, appears to demonstrate a total ignorance of current world concerns and trends.

8. The Halcrow Transport Master Plan recommended many cost-effective and short-term measures for reducing traffic that included better parking policies, city cycling, mobility improvement, high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, sharing vehicles etc. since 2012. Much time has been lost and this “better, faster, cheaper” strategy does not seem to be a focus of the PTMP.

9. For a government committed to CAT (competence, accountability and transparency), there is a lack of clarity with regard to the financing of the entire scheme. What are the people of Penang being committed to? How will payment via reclamation work? Will SRS implement roads first and public transport last? What happens if we run out of funds after the initial stages? Will the public be subjected to unaffordable fares, thereby making them return to their cars? No answers are provided in the PTMP.

For all these reasons, the people of Penang should not be rushed into signing this important agreement. More transparency, accountability and genuine engagement with the public are needed.
Signatories
  1. Penang Forum
  2. Penang Heritage Trust
  3. Aliran
  4. Sahabat Alam Malaysia
  5. Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
  6. Malaysian Nature Society
  7. Citizens for Public Transport Coalition (Cepat)
  8. Friends of Botanical Garden
  9. Pesticide Action Network Asia & Pacific
  10. Tanjong Bunga Residents Association
  11. Women’s Centre for Change
  12. Suara Rakat Malaysia (Suaram)
  13. PBTUSM Alumni Northern region
  14. Mama Bersih
  15. Ombak Arts Studio
  16. Persatuan Pendidikan Seni Pulau Pinang (Arts-Ed)
25 April 2016

https://penangforum.net/2016/04/25/public-response-to-penang-transport-masterplan/

Friday, April 15, 2016

Penang board chides council for appealing against condo project, orders it to pay RM35,000

GEORGE TOWN, April 13 — The Penang Appeals Board ordered the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) today to pay RM35,000 in total costs after telling it off for appealing against the board’s stay order over a high rise project in Tanjung Pinang off Tanjung Tokong.

The coast off the island in the background (where the high rises are) is marked for the proposed Sri Tanjung Pinang II reclamation project that will cover 760 acres. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
The board chairman Datuk Yeo Yang Poh ordered MBPP to pay costs of RM20,000 to the appellants and RM15,000 to the planning applicant.

“The board has powers to grant stay orders as provided under Section 23(3) and Section 36(10)(g) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976,” he said as he rejected MBPP’s submissions that the board did not have the power to order a stay.

The board had granted the appellants, consisting of residents of Seri Tanjung Pinang, a stay order on the planning permission for the project, City Of Dreams, which is made of two 39-storey condominium blocks.

MBPP, in its appeal against the stay order, submitted that the board did not have the power to grant stay orders.

It also argued that the board did not need to take public interest into account when making such decisions.

Yeo labelled the council’s submission that the board do not need to take public interest into account as “absurd”.

“It defies common sense as matters of public interest is certainly relevant in the function of the board,” he said.

He said all aspects of the planning law was in the interest of the public and that it was the board’s responsibility to take into account public interest.

He pointed out that the issue of the board not having the power to grant stay orders based on public interest has never been raised since its formation in 1989.

“I am surprised that the respondent as a public authority could take up such an issue and present such points without putting enough work in it,” he said.

Yeo criticised MPPP’s arguments, saying the council did not appear to have made any effort to understand the case before submitting an appeal against the stay order.

“It is worrying that the respondent doesn’t seem to understand what transpired in this case,” he said.

He said the council’s pursuit of the case does not sit well with its role as a public authority especially when it has a duty to safeguard public interest.

Yeo later extended the stay order against the planning permission until the next decision date to be fixed later.

The planning applicant, Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, is only allowed to do piling works and works necessary for piling for the project.

It had initially obtained planning approval for the project in March 2015 before the board granted the appellants a stay order against the project late last year.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-board-chides-council-for-appealing-against-condo-project-orders-it-t

Monday, April 11, 2016

Penang High Court rejects ‘Botak Hill’ defamation suit against DAP rep

DAP's Teh Yee Chew (right) shaking hands with his lawyer, Cheah Eng Soon, after the defamation suit against him was thrown out by the Penang high court, April 11, 2016. — Picture by KE Ooi
DAP's Teh Yee Chew (right) shaking hands with his lawyer, Cheah Eng Soon, after the defamation suit against him was thrown out by the Penang high court, April 11, 2016. — Picture by KE Ooi


Published: April 11, 2016 10:08 AM GMT+8
Published: April 11, 2016 10:08 AM GMT+8
GEORGE TOWN, April 11 — The Penang High Court today dismissed a private firm’s defamation suit against DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu over his remarks on the illegal hill clearing of the so-called “Botak Hill” here.

Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail ruled that Teh’s remarks on the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau by General Accomplishments Sdn Bhd (GASB) was not defamatory.

“I find that the published suggestions by Teh that provisions under the National Forestry Act 1984 and the Environmental Quality Act 1974 be looked at in the case against GASB is not defamatory against the plaintiff,” she said when delivering her judgement today.

She then dismissed GASB’s defamation suit against Teh and ordered GASB to pay costs of RM30,000 to Teh.

GASB and Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping had jointly filed a writ of summons against Teh for allegedly issuing slanderous statements to the press during his “hair shaving ceremony” on January 1, 2014.

In the suit filed in May 2014, they contended that Teh had maliciously issued statements that “inextricably imputed a disparaging, irreparably and falsified general perception of GASB”.

Today, Hadhariah also ruled that statements Teh had made against GASB and the hill clearing that was published by various media including The Malaysian Insider and Nanyang Siang Pau were not defamatory.

Teh’s counsel, Cheah Eng Soon, said the court has also agreed with his submissions that Teh’s remarks advising Tan to adhere to existing laws on hill clearing were not defamatory in nature.

On January 1, 2014, Teh shaved his head bald as a symbolic “protest” to what he deemed as insufficient action taken against GASB over the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau.

GASB was fined RM30,000 by the Penang Sessions Court in 2013 for failing to submit earthworks plan as required by Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 but Teh felt this was not enough.

Teh held the head-shaving ceremony to push for more actions to be taken against GASB and also to push the firm to start rehabilitation works on the hill immediately.

He had called on the Forestry Department, the Department of Environment (DOE) and also the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to visit the site and to also take legal action against the landowner in accordance to their respective acts.

http://m.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-high-court-rejects-botak-hill-defamation-suit-against-dap-rep
GEORGE TOWN, April 11 — The Penang High Court today dismissed a private firm’s defamation suit against DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu over his remarks on the illegal hill clearing of the so-called “Botak Hill” here.
Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail ruled that Teh’s remarks on the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau by General Accomplishments Sdn Bhd (GASB) was not defamatory.
“I find that the published suggestions by Teh that provisions under the National Forestry Act 1984 and the Environmental Quality Act 1974 be looked at in the case against GASB is not defamatory against the plaintiff,” she said when delivering her judgement today.
She then dismissed GASB’s defamation suit against Teh and ordered GASB to pay costs of RM30,000 to Teh.
GASB and Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping had jointly filed a writ of summons against Teh for allegedly issuing slanderous statements to the press during his “hair shaving ceremony” on January 1, 2014.
In the suit filed in May 2014, they contended that Teh had maliciously issued statements that “inextricably imputed a disparaging, irreparably and falsified general perception of GASB”.
Today, Hadhariah also ruled that statements Teh had made against GASB and the hill clearing that was published by various media including The Malaysian Insider and Nanyang Siang Pau were not defamatory.
Teh’s counsel, Cheah Eng Soon, said the court has also agreed with his submissions that Teh’s remarks advising Tan to adhere to existing laws on hill clearing were not defamatory in nature.
On January 1, 2014, Teh shaved his head bald as a symbolic “protest” to what he deemed as insufficient action taken against GASB over the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau.
GASB was fined RM30,000 by the Penang Sessions Court in 2013 for failing to submit earthworks plan as required by Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 but Teh felt this was not enough.
Teh held the head-shaving ceremony to push for more actions to be taken against GASB and also to push the firm to start rehabilitation works on the hill immediately.
He had called on the Forestry Department, the Department of Environment (DOE) and also the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to visit the site and to also take legal action against the landowner in accordance to their respective acts.
- See more at: http://m.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-high-court-rejects-botak-hill-defamation-suit-against-dap-rep#sthash.WRKK36Cu.dpuf
GEORGE TOWN, April 11 — The Penang High Court today dismissed a private firm’s defamation suit against DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu over his remarks on the illegal hill clearing of the so-called “Botak Hill” here.
Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail ruled that Teh’s remarks on the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau by General Accomplishments Sdn Bhd (GASB) was not defamatory.
“I find that the published suggestions by Teh that provisions under the National Forestry Act 1984 and the Environmental Quality Act 1974 be looked at in the case against GASB is not defamatory against the plaintiff,” she said when delivering her judgement today.
She then dismissed GASB’s defamation suit against Teh and ordered GASB to pay costs of RM30,000 to Teh.
GASB and Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping had jointly filed a writ of summons against Teh for allegedly issuing slanderous statements to the press during his “hair shaving ceremony” on January 1, 2014.
In the suit filed in May 2014, they contended that Teh had maliciously issued statements that “inextricably imputed a disparaging, irreparably and falsified general perception of GASB”.
Today, Hadhariah also ruled that statements Teh had made against GASB and the hill clearing that was published by various media including The Malaysian Insider and Nanyang Siang Pau were not defamatory.
Teh’s counsel, Cheah Eng Soon, said the court has also agreed with his submissions that Teh’s remarks advising Tan to adhere to existing laws on hill clearing were not defamatory in nature.
On January 1, 2014, Teh shaved his head bald as a symbolic “protest” to what he deemed as insufficient action taken against GASB over the illegal hill clearing of Bukit Relau.
GASB was fined RM30,000 by the Penang Sessions Court in 2013 for failing to submit earthworks plan as required by Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 but Teh felt this was not enough.
Teh held the head-shaving ceremony to push for more actions to be taken against GASB and also to push the firm to start rehabilitation works on the hill immediately.
He had called on the Forestry Department, the Department of Environment (DOE) and also the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to visit the site and to also take legal action against the landowner in accordance to their respective acts.
- See more at: http://m.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-high-court-rejects-botak-hill-defamation-suit-against-dap-rep#sthash.WRKK36Cu.dpuf