Monday, July 02, 2012

Update for TBRA – 1 July 2012

Things are happening in Penang. Change is in the air. One of our members recently suggested a rate-payers strike to show discontent with the way MPPP listens more to developers than to local residents. And there is more, much more!
Housing.  A report by the Consumers’ Association of Penang: “CAP: Only the rich can afford Penang homes” (Star, 6 June) led to many other articles debating whether there was shortage of housing or not? There are so many un-occupied units. Do foreigners buy condo’s to live or speculate? Do developers have no choice but to build on hillsides because there is a shortage of land and housing on Penang Island or are they only building there to sell to speculators?
The only elected (by NGOs) MPPP Council member spoke on 25 June to the full Council meeting about protests by a dozen or so residents' associations, including Sungai Ara, Lemba Permai, Pulau Tikus, etc. He said this was a signal to MPPP that something is NOT right; that there is a gap between planning and people. While developers have easy access to city planners, people do not. Traffic or environmental impact studies must be done by independent consultants and not depend on reports provided by developers (this affects density – height control- hillslope projects, etc.). For his full speech, check: ([ParticipantsofPenangForum] Read the Address to the Full Council Meeting of MPPP or get it on Aliran’s website: People, Planning and Development, by Dr Lim Mah Hui).
Our Tanjong Bunga ADUN took members of the press to witness for themselves the devastation caused by hillslope building (article and pictures in NST). Because of his persistent concern over ecology, he is in trouble with his own ruling party. Many in TBRA venture that if that party wants to get TB votes, it had better back ADUN Teh, not stop him from talking to the press. If he is blocked from standing, the whole township may abandon the State government in power.
Sore Thumb is sore again. After all the excitement and (hard work) of the gotong royong, nothing has happened, other than the vegetation closing in again. The “Coastal Park” still has no lot number and faces an uncertain future, while the latest high-rise right on the beach, Tanjong 1, is towering over it with almost half of its 39 storeys completed. The Cove residents have mobilized some resources to keep the beach clean but they are currently also allowing Tanjong 1 to spill its excess earth onto the beach area... The beach is public and should not be used by a private developer. TBRA is waiting for MPPP to level the outer part of the Thumb so that residents can proceed with another gotong royong and start using their “Coastal Park”.
Our Lemba Permai residents have filed 2 appeals against the highrises planned in their low-rise neighbourhood but sofar the Appeals Board has not set any date for review of the development. While the One-Stop-Centres (OSC) can make fast and final decisions (nearly always benefiting developers), residents have to follow a slow and onerous path to even be heard.
All is waiting for the elections, even the long overdue Local Plan has to sit down and wait. (Duduk but no Bersih?) TBRA calls on the local government to listen to the voters and ACT before the elections. And apply CAT…
Closer to home: TBRA has a new Chairperson. On 11 June, the TBRA Committee appointed Dato Leong Yueh Kwong to take over from George Aeria who wanted to step down after 3 years successfully leading our Association into State-wide recognition. In a 7 June interview with the Star, Dato Leong called for a moratorium on hillslope projects until the MPPP guidelines for approval have been revised.
STOP PRESS.  On 1 July, both George and Leong were quoted extensively in a full page illustrated article in the Star which featured YB Teh and most of TBRA’s grievances. It was very well written and must have hit a raw nerve as the CM himself replied that very same Sunday afternoon. So check them out and see who YOU believe. (

Car stickers: There are still some colourful TBRA stickers (see above), available to paid-up members who want to show their support for the Association. Pay up your miserly RM12/yr or become a life member. Send us an email and a volunteer will do a home delivery. Better than pizza.Best wishes from TBRA

Tanjong Bunga Residents Association "making our town better together

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