Penang developers “big financiers of certain political parties”?

“The developers are the most organised lobby group and they are big financiers of certain political parties. What role are they playing in government?” — Question raised at the Penang Forum on Sunday

My earlier posting on Friday urged MPPP councillor Dr Lim Mah Hui to speak up in the public interest on Penang’s sPICE project.

A latest related development has another MPPP councillor Lim Boo Chang – who resigned his post a few days ago – threatening to file a libel suit against Ng Wei Aik who is the political secretary to Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng.

The two councillors were the only conscientious objectors (among 24 appointed council members) who protested the way the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (sPICE) mega project had been bulldozed through without adequate consultation.

Boo Chang maintains that the councillors were not given any copy of the sPICE contract to scrutinize. His claim is yet to be refuted by the Penang state government.

This keeping councillors in the dark begs the question of how the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) could approve a RM50 million budget for sPICE without the councillors being notified of its terms and conditions much less debate the lopsided provisions.

Assuming the claim by Boo Chang is valid, the seeming irregularity – which is seen as deliberate obfuscation – on the part of MPPP gives the lie to the persistent boast by Guan Eng’s state administration that his Pakatan government practices CAT (competency, accountability, transparency).

Instead of addressing the critical issues raised by Boo Chang, a key aide to the chief minister has instead chosen to launch a personal attack in a local Chinese paper on the character of the ex-councillor.

Wei Aik’s remarks have prompted Boo Chang to go ahead with action for defamation should a retraction and apology not be forthcoming from the former within 24 hours.

The screenshot above is taken from a draft jotted in freelance journalist Anil Netto’s blog.

Anil covered live the proceedings of the 4th Penang Forum on Dec 18 where various NGOs got together to discuss sustainable development issues.

Dr Lim Mah Hui was one of the speakers.

Mah Hui talked about Penang’s inflated property bubble where there is a mismatch of supply and needs, i.e. an over-abundance of high-end condos and property targeted at the rich and foreign buyers.

[A speaker from the floor raises the plight of the urban poor who are forced to live in ‘”chicken coops”.]

It is an open secret that “The developers’ lobby is influential”. — see Anil’s posting.

A concern raised at the forum was how property prices in Penang island are “10 times local income“. The inability of the working class to afford homes is compounded by property speculation.

Anil quoted Mah Hui as saying “we cannot put the internationalisation of Penang above local needs”.

Among the concerns of the NGO representatives expressed at the Penang Forum were:

  • the hills being raped for profit and how condo projects on steep slopes in Tanjung Bungah pose a safety risk
  • the proliferation of high-rise projects with 7,305 new units in the pipeline alone in Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi (tourist beach area)
  • the demolishment of a bungalow to make way for construction project with high Gross Development Value (GDV)
  • a factory built within a residential area where the owner is alleged to have tried to enlist the help of a Yang Berhormat
  • lack of open green spaces and parks
  • poor maintenance of low-cost housing especially on the mainland
  • query if the 30 per cent low-cost housing requirement is being fulfilled
  • the lack of implementation of Department of Environment (DOE) guidelines for land reclamation and the non-application of the National Land Code on Penang’s reclaimed foreshores

With the “development frenzy” that is going on at breakneck speed in Penang as well as the influence that developers appear to exert on state policies, it is no surprise that someone should whisper to Anil:

“We won’t be an island anymore. Soon we will be able to walk to the mainland!”

Among the terms of the sPICE contract is one allowing the developer to build other projects which exceed the maximum density of housing units per acre vis-a-vis the local plan.

Mah Hui in his presentation at the forum touched on the “drivers of development mania”.

Those who doubt the accountability and transparency of the Penang state government in this matter are troubled by the following factors:

Therefore we’re left to ponder whether the chief minister Lim Guan Eng is a chief source of the problems.

The allegation raised at the Penang Forum that the developers are big financiers of certain political parties is a most serious one.

Another observation made at the forum is how influential the developers’ lobby is.

Hence the public needs to know what is the real extent of influence that these developers have on the Penang Pakatan government.

What happened in Kg Buah Pala is a grim reminder to us all.

Again it is imperative that Dr Lim Mah Hui speaks up if he is any way able to clarify and allay the pressing public concerns.


These postings might interest you:

Robocop-robocop DAP menggiatkan kempen fitnah mereka

Ciri dan naluri DAP (the nature of the beast)

Watergate: Koreklah sampai ke lubang cacing!


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10 thoughts on “Penang developers “big financiers of certain political parties”?

  1. Hallo…Hallo….this is is Junior Emperor’s dynastylah. Apa komen2 pasa gua punya potfolio? Ini Penang orang Melaka punya. Saya punya nama melayu HANG REMBAT….
    Lu kacau2 saya…saya panggil bodyguard saya Benggali Putih Karpal dan bapak saya EmpeTerror Kit Siang.

  2. Thanks Helen,

    In light of this, the promises of Buku Jingga jointly signed by DAP, PKR and PAS looks like they are becoming a bit of a joke.

  3. Kekadang saya terfikir apalah dosa rakyat Malaysia sehingga Tuhan menurunkan politikus durjana seperti pemimpin-pemimpin tamak dan cetek fikiran yang ada dalam DAP. Mereka ibarat tikus membaiki labu. Malaysia yang sedang bergerak pantas menjadi negara maju mungkin beralih menjadi sebuah negara seperti Mexico di mana penjenayah amat berkuasa dan puak yang kaya sewenang-wenangnya menindas golongan miskin. Tarikan Pulau Pinang ialah cara hidup penduduknya yang sempoi, tidak memilih bulu tetapi budaya mengutamakan golongan elit yang diamalkan sekarang lambat laun akan menghakis tarikan pulau itu kepada pelancong, baik dari dalam dan luar negara. Satu ketika nanti, kondo-kondo di Penang akan menjadi gajah putih, yang akan dihuni oleh penagih dan pengedar dadah. Tengok sahaja apa yang berlaku dengan Komtar. Dulunya amat megah berdiri sebagai mercu tanda tetapi semakin nampak sebagai eye-sore, terutama dari tanah besar. Kebetulan pula, di Komtar lah terletaknya pejabat LGE.

  4. Helen
    If you want to know how the whole things operates, ask Kok Ping. Kok Ping who? ala you kenai dia kan!!

    A lot of coincidences between the two’s moves.Must be telepathy

  5. “Boo Chang maintains that the councillors were not given any copy of the sPICE contract to scrutinize.”

    I thought anyone can get this information under the FIA. How come noone thought of it?

    This blog has previously published some details of the contract. See here and here.

    (1) But what Freedom of Information [Act] is the Pg state govt practising? The sPICE agreement could only be viewed by appointment at the MPPP office for 2 hrs & then also no photostating allowed.

    (2) As a councillor who needs to approve the MPPP budget, it is clearly the correct procedure for LBC to be given a copy. The issue is not that LBC could have resorted to method (1) above – which applies to the layman & NGOs – to get a 2-hr appointment @ MPPJ office so that he could scribble notes of the contract’s T&C.

  6. Hi Helen,

    This is my maiden post. Hope it is not the last.

    Excellent article BTW ! Many of the Pakatan /DAP cheerleaders deafeningly silent and blind on the unholy nexus between LGE and the developers. I have discussed this concern in my recent article (see the link below).

    LGE has been on a single-minded crusade to concretize Penang right from the moment he became the CM. His trail of destruction started with Kg Buah Pala and shows no sign of slowing down.

    We have to respect Penang Forum and Anil for standing up and question the wisdom of the mighty Emperor Lim. I am sure had this been the case during KSK’s reign, we would have seen a bunch of NGOs taking the streets and Mkini/MI/MC/MT lamenting endlessly about how Penang being sold off to foreigners and how BN/UMNO destroying the state.

    Curiously most of the NGOs who were so loud in their protests in any form of development during Gerakan’s rule are completely silent now despite the mindless and reckless pace of development.

    It is not so difficult to understand why LGE’s so focused on development.
    1. Bring in investment to jack up the GDP and FDI numbers
    2. Fill the coffers of the party
    3. Build a network of powerful backers to support DAP
    4. Enrich his cronies via sub-contracts from these developments

    The same guy who speaks so passionately about freedom of speech has sued UM, planning to sue the NST and banned a number of newspapers. In fact a few years ago threatened to sue the NST for carrying my letter (which questioned on the opaque process of awarding contract for monorail to a Rm2 company without open tender or public disclosure).


  7. Please remeer that Lim Guan Eng and his wife have been thrown out of Melaka DAP state Committee and yet his father Lim Kit Siang helicoptered to be secretary general of DAP and then chief Minister. Just a clear case of nepotism.

    *** ### @@@

    Please take note.

    MACC should should look into this.

    Edited. — Helen

  8. How competent, accountable or simply transparent is it the DAP adminstration of Penang State since 8 Mar 2008?
    Could it be that it is basically a desperate party which “hitch-a-ride” on the right car at the right time and suddenly found itself the government of the state with insufficient mental preparation? Thus explains their “every-shadow-in-the-woods-is-an-enemy” mentality?
    I think it has yet to recover from its 90s internal purge.

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