Address to the Full Council Meeting of MPPP, June 25, 2012

By Dr Lim Mah Hui

People, Planning and Development

Selamat pagi and selamat sejahtera. Yg Bahagia YDP Ar Puan Patahiyah dan Ir Ang Eng Thye, Pengarah2 and Ketua2 Jabatan, Ahli2 Majlis, Para wartan, tuan2 dan puan2. Saya harap membincang tentang proses masyrakat, perancangan dan pembangunan. Saya minta izin untuk memberi pembentangan dalam bahasa Inggeris.

In recent years and more so in recent months, there has been a spate of protests from angry residents in various parts of Penang island over what is happening in their communities. This is not an isolated incident. It is quite widespread and has become a societal problem and issue.

To mention a few examples, residents in Pykett Avenue, Moulmein Road in Pulau Tikus, Lembah Permai and Mount Pleasure in Tanjong Bunga, Savoy Garden in Ayer Itam, 3 residents association in Taman Desaria in Sungai Ara are protesting against projects in their neighbourhood that are threatening to degrade or destroy their living environment. Suddenly a 30 storey high rise apartment is approved in a low rise residential area where individual house owners have difficulty getting permission to build three storey houses. Or suddenly a high retaining wall appears a few feet from their backyard threatening their safety; or a steep hill slope is cut causing erosion and flooding to their houses as happened in parts of Tanjong Bunga. If such incidents were limited to one or two, it would be bad enough. But when they appear in increasing frequency, these incidents should serve as a signal for MPPP that something is not quite right.

As public officials and servants, we should start asking, why would people, especially people from the middle class who have a comfortable life, want to come out to protest? What is it that is causing them to take such actions?

To read the full speech, please download this PDF > People, Planning an Development.