Sitting on a landbank goldmine in Penang hill$

July 11, 2012 at 7:48 am 29 comments

Yesterday, Monyet King blogged about hillslope development in Penang.

In ‘Planet of the Monyets’ (his blog), MK discusses the Monkey Business actively going on.

“People in Penang are having sex frequently.”

Which leads to pregnancies. Which result in babies being born. Population increase is therefore inevitable.

Monyet King notes that the population of Penang is now 1.5 million and will reach 2.5 million by 2030. In over just the next 18 years, there will be an additional one million people in Penang.

Unless we tell all the Penangites to stop having sex, says Monyet King, the population will definitely grow and grow.

So like it or not, we have to deal with the consequences of the Monkey Business that is going on.

Writes Monyet King:
.
“How and where do we build houses for these additional 1 million people in Penang? [assuming 4 persons per household, this translates to 250,000 houses that have to be built between now and 2030].”
.

The demand for housing – greatest on the island – is made where land is scarce and there is very little flat land left. Going by MK’s data projection, Penang needs to build at least a quarter of a million new homes (predominantly condos) over the next 18 years, or time period equivalent to 3-and-1/2 electoral terms.

And we cannot say ‘don’t build’ on the hills because all the people living in Penang still need a roof over their heads, regardless. And ultimately where else is there to build?

Many of the hills in Penang are near the city centres, notes Monkey King. Yup, Penang is small so it would be. Recall similarly Singapore and Hong Kong.

Needless to say, most of the new homes will have to be high-rise apartments, and developers can only build houses on land which they have.

Since there is little or no more flat land for the developers to build on, the bald fact stares us in the face that they will go on cutting the hills.

And since there is little or no more flat land left in Penang, the developers have no choice but to reclaim the sea or build on the hills.

Ordinary people do not own the hills, inasmuch as the greenies may like to delude themselves with their Mother Nature rhetoric.

The state owns the hills. The hills are owned by the state.

Even the sea is owned by the state.

The 6.5km-long undersea tunnel to connect Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam will be funded through land title exchange between the state government and the developer. Bernama

Reportedly some of the land exchanges undertaken over the last few years are land sitting in the sea.

Penang state is now run by the DAP-led government headed by this man (see photo) who said the tunnel and expressway infrastructure will cost between RM5 billion and RM8 billion.

His estimate range is rather cavalier considering that the difference between 5 and 8 billion is RM3,000,000,000.00 (written the American way) or otherwise RM3,000,000,000,000.00 (written the British way) — see how to count a trillion here.

It’s not like saying that I’m going out to bungkus nasi and I expect my lunch to cost between RM5 and RM8.

Every time Kim Guan Eng or his developer BFFs (best friends forever) talk about projects, the money involved runs into the numbers as big and bigger than that. Oh, give and take RM3 billion (plus-minus) or so.

Kim Guan Eng is the chairman of Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI), the agency involved in the selling of Penang land to the developers. This happened with Bayan Mutiara.

He is the chairman of Penang Development Incorporated (PDC), the agency which sold that parcel of Penang land to the developers. Two Chinese tycoons (one of them Vincent Tan’s brother) will be developing Bayan Mutiara.

Guan Eng holds the state exco portfolio on land. Guan Eng holds the state exco portfolio on planning.

In his hands are concentrated all the power and control for the planning of the building of the projected (at least) a quarter million units of new homes as well as other development, infrastructure and whatever else to be undertaken by construction industry Big Business over the next 3-and-half electoral terms.

Now think of how much money will be generated and how much money will be changing hands (errr, between ordinary happy home owners and their friendly neighbourhood developers) when these property magnates buy the hills of Penang to build highrises for maximum profit.

Bottomline: There are all the hills in Penang waiting to be ‘developed’.

Now think of what is at stake for DAP and the Beloved Chief Minister especially to continue keeping their hold on Penang.

Hence, the need to maintain their control over the minds of their taksub vote bank … errr, in view of these aggressive politicians’ greatest desire and ambition — which is, urm, to “serve the people” (berkhidmat untuk rakyat).

You might be interested in these other postings:

Yesterday’s postings:

Apprehensive of hacking

Ong Kian Ming mendakwa pencerobohan rumahnya ‘bermotifkan politik’

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Apprehensive of hacking Perihal Kim kata Cina paling banyak membayar cukai

29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. calvinsankaran  |  July 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Helen,

    MK’s an independent minded blogger and a very smart person, someone whom I have a lot of respect.

    However, missed some pertinent info in his analysis. One is that there is already an over-supply of houses in the state. Second, there are still plenty of land in the state, mainly in the mainland. Third, the Penangites are very different from KLities in several ways in the ways. For some reasons they want to retain their environment and heritage while having all the modern amenities and support the growing population.

    The former Gerakan govt had a tough time to manage the Penangite’s expectations for what they want are mutually exclusive. They want to improve the traffic flow but refuse to accept new roads and highways. They demand better public transport but nobody but pensioners and foreigners use Rapid Penang. They also refused to accept LRT/MRT.

    The Penangites want nice homes in the island but oppose new housing projects. They also refuse to move to the mainland, considering it “ulu”.

    To me, Penangites need to be realistic and grow up. They need to accept the reality that the island will lose its green and open spaces unless they are willing to make sacrifices like in Singapore and live in apartments or move to the mainland.

    At the same time.the issue of hills development is also the fault of the government, both previous and present. However, if you compare the pace of development, DAP has approved 19 projects in 4 years compared to BN’s approval of 39 projects between 1985 to 2008. This shows DAP has fast-tracked the entire pace of development to the speed of a rocket.

    However, to mislead the public, the Cheap Minister keep diverting the issue by refering to a 250 feet limit. This is highly misleading for 2 reasons. One, MPPP and the developers have been very devious in defining the 250 feet. Second, it does matter if the hills are 250 or 100 feet. What is more important is the environment factor as well as the gradient.

    I wrote a letter to the Star on this but their Guntings canned that. So you might see a spiced-up version in FMT soon.

    Reply
    • 2. Helen Ang  |  July 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

      To clarify, MK did say that the development is going on in the island b’cos that’s where the home buyers prefer to live plus they want to buy homes near where they work, and the island compared to mainland is still the more active commercial hub.

      Thanks for the reminder, Calvin, about the mismatch of housing supply & demand. To recap, too few (or none) low-cost houses are built that are affordable to the working class whereas developers prefer building luxury condos beyond the means of the average local resident, particularly non-Chinese.

      Penang islanders or those of Pg island origin have a certain kind of outlook on/attitude to the mainlanders. Anyone hailing from the state knows this. It’s their island mentality and you can see it in the behaviour of DAPsters.

      About transportation in Pg, I’ve always wondered why they drive so inconsiderately as if they’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and where can they go after all — just driving round and round the island mostly.

      Do give us a buzz when your article is out in FMT and I think MCA has a real problem with Gunting.

      Reply
      • 3. calvinsankaran  |  July 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        Helen,

        You are right in stating that the over-supply and mismatch of the houses. Most of the houses that were/are being built are high or super-high end properties that most Penangites cannot afford. These are mainly built for super rich foreigners and foreign-based Malaysians.

        The below link is an excellent analysis of the situation.

        http://penangmonthly.com/housing-in-penang/
        http://anilnetto.com/economy/malaysian-financebusiness/penang-property-oversupply-in-the-making/

        The govt of LGE is at fault for several reasons.One, they have forged a very cosy working relationship with the Big Developers. Sometimes looks like DAP govt and REHDA are Siamese twins. People in Penang are stunned to see such public display of close relationship between these 2 groups. None of the previous CMs had enjoyed such relations and in fact you might recall some prominent developers attacking KTK in the media for not being business friendly at all.

        The leaders of these development companies are so close that they donate millions to DAP and Pakatan and can be seen accompanying the CM for many of the local functions and even overseas trip. It is known that CM and his family and even other DAP leaders are entertained by these developers overseas. Recently it was reported that CM and his family plus some local DAP leaders was treated to a trip to Europe in First Class by one of these developers.

        2nd reason is the change in the policy by LGE. They have changed the plot ratio, increase development density and allowed the developers to get away without having to comply with low-medium cost housing. To me this is criminal !

        Reply
    • 4. Dave  |  July 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      calvin, the monorail project was proposed by federal government in 2008 but it was cancelled the year after last election. the reason for killing the plan is obvious. 4 years later, the traffic situation has gotten worse with more penang people owning cars and more people moving here.

      i also object that only ‘pensioners or foreigners’ use bas rapid penang. lots of locals use it also, they are not able to own their own car or motorcycle. i am also a regular user. my opinion is the bus service needs improvment example there is no info posted on the nice new bus stops, bus routes that circle around & take you a long time to get from here to there, lack of express routes, late bus, etc.

      the problem is because public transport planning is controled top down by federal government who has an agenda to make the national car policy a success.. which has mostly failed so far. state governments in malaysia have little control in transport planning.

      Reply
  • 5. Joe  |  July 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

    CMI, PDC, final sign-off on land and planning matters… Kumbhakarna will certainly not let go so readily.

    Reply
  • 6. Monyet King  |  July 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Calvin,
    I am flattered but must warn you that I am not a smart person. I ramble a lot, especially when the Parliament is in session.

    You are right. There is already an over-supply of houses in the state and these are mostly high-end units. Despite this, there is still a robust demand for high-end units – people are buying for “investment”. Past attempts at the state and federal levels to regulate between the so-called demand and the so-called supply have not been successful. It doubt it can really be fully regulated.

    On your third point about Penangites wanting to retain their environment and heritage while having all the modern amenities. Don’t we all, regardless where we live, want these?

    Helen,
    Thanks for featuring “Monkey Business” on your blog. I am honoured.

    Reply
    • 7. Helen Ang  |  July 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

      It is me who has to thank you for the material. Cheers.

      Reply
    • 8. calvinsankaran  |  July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Hahahaha…MK, we prefer you ramble than the nonsensical babble coming from our lawmakers. Funnily many of our “lawmakers” seemed to do more “breaking” rather than “making” laws.

      I agree with your point on sustainable development with balancing developmental needs of population increase with protection of environmental and heritage assets. However, sustainable development comes with a cost, both monetary and non-monetary.

      Firstly we cannot expect to live in landed properties or terrace houses if we happened to live in a land scarce area.

      Secondly, it also means more money needed as protection of heritage and environmental often reduces resources/space available for development. Funding for activities to safeguard and maintain these assets can be costly too.

      I used to live in Singapore for a number of years and I must say that Penang can learn a lot from them in this regards. Instead of getting involved in political activities, LGE should have spent some time understanding the town planning policies and HDB policies.

      Reply
  • 9. calvinsankaran  |  July 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Continued.

    3rd reason : LGE might hate BN and their policies. He has the deepest contempt for Yen yen. But there is one policy that he’s particularly fond of : MM2H. There is no leader, at state or Federal who does more selling of MM2H than the Dear Leader. In fact much more than Yen Yen herself.

    Another pet fav of Comrade Lim is the property sales. He has been the property developers’ BFF by being the self elected Malaysian Global Property Ambassador. All these contributed to create a demand for high-end property which typically located along the ecologically and environmentally sensitive coastal areas (along northeast mainly).

    As such, to say the housing needs of Penangites has contributed to the environmental degradation is inaacurate. Not yet anyway.

    BTW, I fully support your observation on the driving habits of the Penangites. They are the worst driver in the country. In fact they drive the same way even outta state. So be careful with cars with Penang plates even in the Klang Valley.

    I live on the mainland as I can’t stand the highbrow island mentality. When you tell these islanders that you live at the mainland, they look shocked as though you had just mentioned Rwanda or Pontianak Kalimantan.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Dear Leader’s speech at the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association anniversary dinner can be read here. — Helen

    Reply
  • 10. Sally  |  July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Dear calvinsankaran

    “It is known that CM and his family and even other DAP leaders are entertained by these developers overseas. Recently it was reported that CM and his family plus some local DAP leaders was treated to a trip to Europe in First Class by one of these developers.”

    Please report to MACC if you have the facts eg. airtickets/hotel rooms and such info. MACC would certainly be most pleased to investigate. And they did the Milan trip. We can’t have such corruption either in BN or DAP, can’t we?

    Report, please do.

    Reply
    • 11. JuliusNarayanan  |  July 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      yes, please report. don’t forget to report. but if these are only rumours, then i think you should shut your mouth and stop making accusations, and stop being silly, shelly.

      Reply
      • 12. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

        It’s Sally, not shelly, silly. Nope, I am not shutting my mouth if there’s really corruption by LGE as alleged by calvinsankaran. I am doing my part as a responsible Penangnite, that’s all. Our friend here says there is hankypanky. There was truth in Pakatan’s accusation of a side Milan trip (shame on BN (Nazri) for pulling the wool over our eyes on side trackking in Parliment) so if there is truth in LGE’s trip, we have a right to know also lah. Am I asking too much?

        Reply
    • 13. calvinsankaran  |  July 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Sally I apologise that I forget the fundamental rule of Malaysian politics. That you can accuse BN any wrongdoings without a shred of evidence or logic and it will be accepted as the Bibical truth. But to make any charge against Pakatan one needs to provide detailed documentary / video / audio evidence that might or might not be accepted.

      Reply
      • 14. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

        No no , don’t apologise. We can’t make accusations either against BN or Pakatan based on hearsay. That would be grossly unfair to both sides. LGE and his gang of merry men shouldn’t be accepting FOC luxury trips and such benefits. For the second time, please make a report.

        Reply
      • 15. Ajay  |  July 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm

        You are right. Even if video and CCTV recording are produced, they would still deny it. Remember when LGE bad-mouthed Johor and he denied it, only to be shamed by an audio recording of his speech in Australia. Even that also, he said he was misunderstood.

        Same for Anwar for his “that guy has bigger tummy than me remark”

        How can you trust your life with these scumbags? LGE is not even close in leadership style to Lee Kuan Yew.

        Reply
      • 16. Sally  |  July 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

        Ajay, you are right. Nope, we shouldn’t trust these “scumbags” (all politicians literally) and LGE was caught fibbing that time.

        Nope, I don’t trust them with my life but love or hate them, we should try to keep them on the right track at least. That’s why I am asking for proof here lah – not to hide under a bush but to show Penangites the true face of LGE if the allegation is true. Not too much to ask for, yes?

        Reply
  • 17. gratitude  |  July 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    It is simple

    The govt is working for the developers, in an silent and efficient manner
    and not for the rakyat (mid to low income voters)

    The land bank is just another piece of pawn in the game

    Hence just vote them out, the coming election

    As their weapon of hype and rhetorics are just that, hype and rhetorics, despite many years in power.

    Reply
    • 18. Joe  |  July 12, 2012 at 12:50 am

      I support this totally – DAP has been ruling Penang for more than 4 years now. Far too long judging by the behaviour of LGE.

      Vote DAP out!

      Reply
      • 19. mohd aziz  |  July 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

        4 years as to compare with 55 years?
        Give people chance la. Anyway, i think LGE has done better than KTK.

        Reply
      • 20. Joe  |  July 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        mohd aziz: what kind of meritocracy is based on “give people chance la”?

        Reply
  • 21. MalaysianinNewYork  |  July 12, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Dear En Aziz, I am sure you are not an Aziz. However giving you the benefit of the doubt, please list down rather than what you think of LGE has done, can you please elaborate with facts and figures without the typical melodrama how it had enhanced common folks besides the affluent ones.

    Here is an example, http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/10/513518/wall-street-illegal-survey/?mobile=nc. So LGE wants Penang to be westernized so we need to kick out those Kg Buah Pala folks for material development. Corporate capitalism aided by any government whether BN/PR if left unchecked will kill the future of Malaysians.

    Reply
    • 22. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Sorry but Kg Buah Pala folks were played out and kicked out by previous govt but Pakatan assemblyman didn’t keep his promise of keeping it intact.

      Reply
  • 24. MalaysianinNewYork  |  July 12, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Sally, since you brought this up, “It is known that CM and his family and even other DAP leaders are entertained by these developers overseas. Recently it was reported that CM and his family plus some local DAP leaders was treated to a trip to Europe in First Class by one of these developers.”

    It appears you have first hand information on this, so why should anyone else be bothered to dig and find out what you have stated. Please don’t be another Kopi Kedai Malaysians unless you can back up your assertion. I know that is an effort, but that is what we need from you for Malaysians like us rather than relying on our favourite past time, gossip only.

    Reply
    • 25. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      No, it wasn’t me. It was calvinsankaran who “had first hand info”. You should also ask him not to be another Kopi Kedai, ok? I was merely aking for proof. Any wrong in that?

      Reply
      • 26. Henrietta  |  July 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

        Sally, is this information re the trips really ‘known’ i.e. common knowledge? I am a Penangite and I haven’t heard of it. I’m not trying to support LGE or the DAP; but I think that information claimed to be known should be supported by facts/evidence.

        Reply
    • 27. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Who or what is the Federal Court ruling? Should the ruling be obeyed by all? Penangnites not stupid mah!

      Reply
  • 28. Sally  |  July 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Henrietta, yeah lah, this is news to me too as a Penangnite. I don’t follow LGE blindly too so I need verification. Our source is calvinsankaran so we need him to confirm. Hope he will.

    Reply
  • 29. Solaris  |  July 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I don’t think LGE and other DAP leaders are dumb enough to accept paid vacations by developers. V.K. Lingam and former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin photographed holidaying in NZ would have been warning enough for any PR politician. It’s not LGE’s style anyway.

    I would be more suspicious if someone told me a rumor that big-boy developers like S.P Setia, Mah Sing, Ivory etc were contributing to party coffers for the party machinery to rev up towards GE13 and also to maintain their stranglehold on Penang.

    This is simply how large corporations work. LGE too is very fond of PPP (Public-Private Partnerships). Quid pro quo. See: Penang developers “big financiers of certain political parties” (https://helenang.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/penang-developers-big-financiers-of-certain-political-parties/).

    Reply

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