Saturday, June 07, 2008


How many of us have heard about the Structure Plan? Not many I would bet. Considering the huge importance this document has over our lives, it is amazing that not many people pay attention to it.
The State Structure plan or "Rancangan Struktur Negeri" in Bahasa is a broad policy plan according to the Town And Country Planning Act, "a written statement- among other things-
(a) formulating the policy and general proposals of the State Authority in respect of the development and use of land, in that State, including measures for the improvement of the physical living environment, the improvement of communications, the management of traffic, the improvement of socio-economic well-being and the promotion of economic growth, and for facilitating sustainable development;

The Act also states that the policy and general proposals in the Structure Plan must be justified by the results of survey that has been carried out by the State Director of Town and Country Planning.

In May 2005, TBRA (then protem-committee) and a number of NGOs participated in the publicity of the Report of Survey exhibited by the State Director Of Town And Country Planning. TBRA then highlighted the fact that there was insufficient publicity given to the Report of Survey. Other than the required notification in two newspapers, there were no public posters put in community centres and other public places informing the public of their rights to give their comments.

Nevertheless, TBRA submitted a three-page memorandum and attended a hearing chaired by the then State Economic Planning Unit Director.

TBRA points out several inconsistencies in the Report of Survey and the Structure Plan.

1. the assumptions that were used in making population projections were not stated. The North East district in which Tanjong Bunga is situated has the highest density. The area for committed developments reported was 1856 hectares, not including the reclaimation areas in Tanjong Tokong which will add another 500 hectares. Added to this, the high development densities allowed in the North East district will further add to the population imbalance in the State highlighted by the survey.

2. There was no explicit distribution of population growth by districts.

3. Environmentally sensitive areas: we proposed that developments on hill slopes should be limited only to detached houses with plinth area not exceeding 30% of the lot.

4. Although Tanjong Bunga has been designated within the beach tourism zone, there is no plan to improve public access, beach activities and natural environment. Instead more and more high-rise high density developments have been allowed. The construction of high-rise apartments on the beach is in conflict with the beach tourism strategy.

5. The survey projected that 20,000 rooms are needed by the year 2020. If the beach tourism zones, like those in Tanjong Bunga continue to be allowed to build high-rise apartments, there will be no suitable land left to build hotels, tourist resorts and other tourism facilities.

6. There is an excess housing stock in North East District by 46, 348 units up to year 2020. Therefore housing densities should be maintained as in existing terrace housing developments of 12 units per acre.

7. There is a shortage of community facilities and public recreational open space in Tanjong Bunga. Although the survey includes private facilities like the Penang Swimming Club and Chinese Swimming Club, these are private clubs and cater to populations outside of the Tanjong Tokong - Tanjong Bunga - Batu Ferringi and Telok Bahang areas.

TBRA has already pointed out the discrepancy in the Structure Plan's illustration map which does not show that Tanjong Bunga is in the secondary development corridor.

TBRA calls upon the Chief Minister who is the Chairman of the State Planning Committee to address these issues. TBRA as an organisation that looks after the public interest of Tanjong Bunga residents in particular should be consulted in the drafting of the local plan as is required by law.

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