Sunday, April 1, 2012

Penang Island: A place for mass low costs housing?

How do you plan an island densely populated, only 293 sq kilometres with more than three quarters of the area unbuildable? The question is do you want to plan it like Hong Kong Island, Singapore and Gold Coast Australia or do you want to turn it into a Port Dickson, a place with much potential but due to poor planning has turned itself into a property nightmare for investors.

The opponents of the Bayan Mutiara project have many ideas.

Some groups call for this sea-front prime land situated north of Queensbay and east of Pulau Jerejak be allocated enough portion for low costs housing. What do you expect, when a piece of prime land with a right minded government doing the right thing (by selling to the highest bidder) - and, only later announced that the piece of land which you have to partly reclaim can only be used largely for low costs housing? Would any developers be interested for any bid in future - anymore? They have been taken for a ride, before remember!
Some other feels that Penang Development Corporation (PDC), the state owned developer should have taken up the project itself rather than selling the tract of land valued at RM1.1 billion. Between PDC and a private developer, who do you trust to build a private property better? Who has more clout, ideas and brand presence to make full use of the land value better? Compare between Tropicana and PDC? Would you buy a high or medium end property from PDC or Tropicana?

Penang Island is 293 sq km while the mainland in 753 sq km. Much part of the island is hilly.

Thanks to Francis Light, Penang has enough land in the mainland area of the state. Probably the best thing to do is to develop mass housing projects over in mainland Penang where land size is 2 and half times larger than the island - and more buildable. Turn the island into a tourist hotspot and the sea front premium land into holiday homes for the rich. Aren't we trying to attract high income society? Then tell me what is it that the current federal government promoting Malaysia My Second Home project for? Why are they creating Talent Corp? Are we luring these people by showing your best piece of property - Bayan Mutiara - you can now buy a nice apartment (RM1100/sq ft) surrounded by 50% low costs apartments within a 103 acre development?

Not all things are a duel between the rich and the poor. The rich will only buy properties which are attractive to them when there are investment values. The poor, for the first thing in their mind is to have a shelter above their head. You do not turn a premium sea front property into a place for low costs housing.

An economy needs and will have a mixed type of development. And for Penang, the entire state is a mixed development. Beyond the 2nd bridge, create more links between the mainland and the island.
103 acres is not large but large enough for it to be turned into a nice piece of premium tourist spot.

The current state government is doing the right thing. You do not see the Malaysian government turning surrounding KLCC with low cost housing either. If there are any, I want!

The writer is a born and bred Penangite and would love to go back there to work one day. The writer also feels that Penang island, surrounded by sea and with large part of the island covered by hills - it is a really nice place for tourists.


富升 said...

me too love Penang island so much!

I been working there for 7 months.

谭振聪 said...

indeed, u dun wn staying in a semi-d, but surrounding u is high density flats, it is like thousand pairs of eyes spying on u everyday.