Scene No 1 (before the March 2008 general elections) – We will hear out the people’s problems and are all ears on the predicament of the rakyat.
Scene Today (after 3 years of ruling the Penang state government) – We will approve as many development projects as possible. Uncontrolled development is alright so long that we make our businessmen friends happy.
The hell with the people. We need financial support for the general election so that we can continue to have a job. Our motto now is “Our own priority first, people last.”
This contrasting scene is perhaps very evident of late. This blog may be accused of being politically biased for highlighting them but it is better to be factual. And the truth hurts.
And it has always been the case that heap of praises will follow when you praise the Opposition.
Insults and brickbats will follow suit if it is otherwise. This is the democracy in the context of the Opposition.
A case of contention is the recent case of the protest by 100 over residents in Changkat Kenari over the hillslope development at Sungai Ara in Penang.
They had protested against a huge hill development project involving the construction of 14 blocks of condominiums, 92 bungalows and two clubhouses on the 32.7ha land behind their houses.
They had also protested against a smaller 22-storey condominium project by a different developer on an adjacent hill slope.
The residents argued that the developments were against guidelines which prohibited housing on hills over 76m above sea level and with slope gradients over 25 degrees.
Despite the many objections raised by the residents and municipal councillor Dr Lim Mah Hui, the project was approved, disregarding the voices of the people who expressed fear over the safety aspect of having such a development so near to their homes.
Stopthelies understands that the project approval was via special project status. What is so special of the project on a hillslope that needs to be granted such privilege?
Why the special status?
Perhaps the state government owes Penangites an explanation. Guan Eng has been unusually quiet on the matter.
Its like a free for all in Penang now. So long you have the right connection, you will get the projects approved.
Inconsideration to the ecological functions of the hill and allowing frenzy hill cutting is now carried out at the expense of the safety of the people.
We don’t see the rationale of giving approvals via special project status to enrich the pockets of the rich developers who do not give a damn to the welfare of the people. Their bank account only matters to them, not the people.
It is no point for the state government to introduce supposedly green initiatives like no plastic day, closing roads for cycling activities, when you are allowing hills to be cut down for development.
A load of crap and so hypocritical.
Already Penang is confronted with the daily horrendous traffic and the problem is compounded during school holidays and festive breaks.
The absence of a road dispersal master plan and continued approvals with disregard to the impact to the environment and bottlenecks on the road has exacerbated the problem.The last thing Penang needs is more traffic jams which come with more development.
Keep the unspoilt Penang charm as it is.