Penang DAP government and its land sales to balance the books

 |Jan 1, 2017
DAP state government has been frequently rapped by critics for rampant public land sales to offset its annual deficit budgets.
DAP state government has been frequently rapped by critics for rampant public land sales to offset its annual deficit budgets.

For past eight years, the DAP-dominated Penang government has carried out many projects that had pleased, hurt and irk the people.

The DAP’s CAT rule has been synonymous with high-rise high-density buildings – apartments and condominiums, environmental disasters, forest hill destruction, floods, traffic congestion, surging land and property prices, lack of housing for lower income people, surging foreign ownership of properties, frequent overseas trips and dwindling foreign investments.

Condominiums and apartments are mushrooming all over the state, especially on the island, albeit without upgrading of roads, drains and other infrastructures.

There has been no new well-designed and constructed township development in Penang since DAP took over the state government.

What Penangites got were pockets of high-rise posh residential development scattered across the state to cater the housing needs of money men and women.

Somehow the DAP government realised that housing needs of the rich had to be prioritised at the expense of the lower income people.

Virtually all housing projects for lower income people, which are either completed or on-going, under the current DAP state government were initiative of the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

Even the state Town and Country Planning and Housing Executive Councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo admitted it during a state Assembly session a couple of years ago.

Some Penangites claim that most of these posh condominiums and apartments were bought by foreigners and Malaysians from other states.

Critics also claimed that many projects by the Penang government were against standard rules, procedures and conventions.

Some claim that the state government had circumvented the structure and local plans to approve projects.

Of course if one were to raise this, the state government will come up with a grand statistics that only its leaders can understand, to justify the projects.

Penang Success 2016

The two islands to be created in the southern part of the island near the Permatang Damar Laut coast will now be included in the structure plan.

The structure plan was approved by the previous BN government in 2007 but until today, the current DAP government is yet to gazette it.

So the question is how could the state government include the two artificial islands into an already approved structure plan?

Is it bordering criminality?

Someone perhaps should haul the state government to court.

When there are no new road and flood mitigation system in place to accommodate the mushrooming high-density condominiums and apartments, which means more people and more cars, traffic congestion and floods are inevitable.

The destruction of forested highlands not only is detrimental to environment but also reduce the natural capacity to absorb rain.

Natural forest lands are natural buffer zones to counter flooding.

No new drains neither new roads, but forest lands disappear.

One need not be a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen next – flooding, ‘teh tarik’ waterfalls, traffic congestion, property damage and public hardship.

The DAP Penang government has always been quick to show healthy accounts to the people to claim that it was a clean and efficient government.

One would frequently hear Guan Eng telling an event that his government managed to have surpluses annually because “we are not corrupted like the previous government.”

Isn’t Guan Eng now facing a corruption trial ala the convicted Khir Toyo?

Hill destruction is rampant in Penang.
Hill destruction is rampant in Penang.

On surface it is heartening to hear that the state government was managing the finances efficiently. Kudos.

But if one to study in details, one would realise that the state government cover up its deficits by selling state lands.

Every year, the state government tables deficit budgets but at year end it would show surplus.

How? Via land sales to turn deficits into surpluses?

No wonder why a top state government leader, who is also a graft accused, in Penang has been regarded by many social media users as the No.1 land broker in the country.

But still Penangites will vote for DAP in next general election (GE14) because it is their ‘Chinese’ government.

Just ask all those critics, who condemned the DAP government for all its wrongdoings, on whether they would vote for change of state government in GE14.

They would not give a firm ‘Yes’ for an answer even though they would admit the current DAP government had been worse than the previous BN administration.

Related links:
Lim Dynasty’s coup de CM to grab power in Penang in GE12
Kampung Buah Pala – Penang DAP’s CAT not a good guard of the house
Half-truths, half-lies hallmarks of Penang DAP government

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.