Friday, April 20, 2007

The Sell-out of Penang

Overdevelopment Is Permanently Destroying Penang’s Unique Mix of Forested Hills and Beach

While the rest of the world firmly embraces coastal preservation, Penang is in the midst of losing its remaining natural beauty to unconscionable speculative development. The beautiful Tanjong Bunga seafront that has existed for generations for all to enjoy is now rapidly disappearing to benefit a few developers and real estate speculators.

Tanjong Bunga residents have objected vehemently to the unsightly concrete high rises and devastating hill cutting but have been powerless to fight the big money behind it; much of this money comes from financial consortia that have no home base in Penang . Many long time residents are livid that these high rises are being marketed to absentee investors with no long term interest in Penang, its peoples or its environs – the sell-out of Penang ! The island’s best assets are not being preserved for the future common good of all Penangites. Greed has overruled public interest.

Every open space along the beachfront and the hillside facing the beachfront seems to have been approved for ‘development’. Once construction has been completed, in the very near future, Penang ’s seafront and beaches will have forever been SOLD OUT!

Public officials have been hounded by the Tanjong Bunga Residents’ Association (TBRA) to address this thoughtless and haphazard development. The State Government and MPPP have sent them from pillar to post without significant answers. The authorities have no plan, no vision. The common good and the preservation of the coast for public enjoyment have become ignored issues on the backburner of our officials, deferring to the more lucrative carving up of the beachfront to the highest bidder.

TBRA has taken this to all the right people, namely the Chief Minister, and the President of MPPP, all to no avail. It appears that our public officials have neither the desire nor the power to reverse this devastating trend. Penang ’s Chief Minister, who represents Tanjong Bunga, has let his constituency down and is moving on prematurely, leaving his home district in a mess. He owes Penang more than this as his legacy! When questions are asked, everybody points the finger to someone else, somewhere else, far away from anyone in high office whose job it is to take responsibility and do something to stop this egregious development.

When nobody in authority can give a straightforward answer to why the beachfront in a tourism zone can willy-nilly be reclaimed in such an unsightly and environmentally unsound manner, the matter should perhaps be investigated by the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency).

by Tanjong Bunga Residents’ Association (15-2-2007) Email :


Farez said...

What a relief to come across this blog!! I have been 'sore' about the destruction of my hometown of Penang and have had an idea of a blog on my to-do list for ages, but just never got round to it. So, I applaud you!

However, the key here is to open up communication amongst irate Penang residents so that we are heard as a single voice, rather than isolated whimpers.

Governments (some more than others ;) only understand political-speak: ratings, votes and money. We need to collectively show them that they stand to lose these if they continue allowing this island to be harmed.

TBRA Penang said...

hi Farez

it is good to hear from you. we are actually link with some NGO in Penang to fight against "rape" and "overdevelopment" in the island.

we are happy if you can help us in anyway. keep in touch.

Farez said...

Always happy to help - just let me know.