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Interview with CM: Will Penang mirror Singapore by 2030?

September 17th, 2019 No comments

Penang Island is sometimes known to have some resemblance to Singapore. Both Penang Island and Singapore are separated from the mainland by a narrow strait with a lack of land for development. The government in both Penang Island and Singapore generally encounters similar challenges whenever there is a need to have a balance between economic development and environmental protection; making many individuals often use Singapore as a reference in topics related to urbanization in Penang.

Let’s hear from Penang Chief Minister on his views whether will Penang mirror Singapore by 2030.

FIND OUT MORE:
Penang CM speaks to Penang Property Talk on Vision 2030

 

Penang needs to reclaim past glories

September 17th, 2019 No comments

fiz-penang

Land is a scarce resource on Penang island.

Luckily, in these modern times, we do not have to go to war to seek territorial expansion.

There is something called reclamation, which is common in the world nowadays.

For Penang, reclamation is nothing new as it was done in Bayan Lepas back in the 1970s.

The state’s economy was effectively transformed, with people getting jobs and enjoying a good life as a result of the existence of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) then.

Thanks to the late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, we were branded the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’.

Fast forward to 2019, I feel Penang is no longer a force to be reckoned with.

We have been left out in the race to be a major player in the technologically advanced industries, losing out to the likes of Singapore and Taiwan.

We have even lost to countries like Vietnam and China, which have adapted fast to new technologies and appealed more to international investors.

Yes, we still have the Bayan Lepas FIZ, and the Prai and Batu Kawan Industrial Estates.

But to put things into perspective, Penang never moved forward, and the ‘old’ free industrial zones and industrial estates are testimonies to this sorry state of affairs.

Just take a quick trip to the Prai Industrial Estate, and one can see how dilapidated the roads are, coupled with factories that barely have cutting-edge technology.

Penang should have embraced the Industrial Revolution 4.0 but according to Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin, who heads the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC), many companies have yet to tap into the RM2 billion allocated by the government towards achieving IR 4.0.

So when the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) was mooted, I was excited over this proposed development near Teluk Kumbar.

It is set to change the entire landscape of the island with development shifting to the south.

There will be three man-made islands measuring 1,800ha in total or the size of 3,600 football fields.

On July 5, the state government announced that the PSR had obtained Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval with 72 conditions to be fulfilled.

It is expected to generate RM70bil, of which RM46bil will be used to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan.

No doubt critics will say that land is abundant on the mainland and it is needless to reclaim more land that could harm the environment and marine life.

But those on Penang island will agree that the ‘action’ is always here and the PSR augurs well to push the state to become a global industrial player once again.

We have a lot of catching up to do but it is better late than never, as the entire project will only be realised in years to come.

The first island – known as Island A – is touted as a continuation and expansion of the Bayan Lepas FIZ while Island B will be ‘a playground for city planners and architects’ with a tram system and green spaces.

As for Island C, it is meant for a mixed development project.

As pointed out by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, the Bayan Lepas FIZ, in the past 50 years, had provided job opportunities, trained and produced small and medium enterprises to support multinational companies.

He said the state had moved from low-cost mass production to high-tech research development.

Such a continuity can help us grow with our neighbour Kedah, which has embarked on the development of the Special Border Economic Zone, a catalyst for the Kota Perdana development project near Bukit Kayu Hitam.

The Kota Perdana-Asean Industrial Metropolis is a joint project between Malaysia and Thailand, where 3,515ha of land is to be developed.

Upon completion, it will provide world-class facilities for manufacturing and commercial sectors, including free trade zones to encourage bilateral trade between Asean member countries.

The project has seven phases and is expected to be completed in 20 years.

I strongly believe the PSR can actually jump-start Penang’s advance into the industries of the future.

It will provide the much-needed transformation under the Penang 2030 vision.

It is not the time to ask ourselves whether the PSR is needed.

We should ask ourselves if we can afford not to have the PSR which is vital for the state’s economic progress in the next 30 years.

Source: TheStar.com.my

 

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Seberang Perai is now officially a city

September 16th, 2019 No comments 中文版

mbsp

Seberang Perai became the nation’s 14th city today, and its outgoing municipal council president, Datuk Rozali Mohamud, was appointed mayor.

The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) was officially declared the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) by Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas in conjunction with Malaysia Day.

The declaration was made during a historic ceremony at Dewan Millenium in Kepala Batas, near here.

The event kicked-off with the arrival of Abdul Rahman and his wife Toh Puan Majimor Shariff; and the singing of “Negaraku” followed by the state anthem, “Untuk Negeri Kita”.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin then handed over the declaration letter by Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Seberang Perai’s new city council status, to the Penang Governor.

“It has been granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who declared, established and directed the MPSP, which… from Sept 16, 2019, will become a city called MBSP and not MPSP, with all the rights of a city,” Abdul Rahman said in reading out the declaration.

Next, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow read out the letter of appointment of MPSP President Datuk Rozali Mohamud as Seberang Perai Mayor before the Governor.

This was followed by Rozali taking his oath as the first mayor of Seberang Perai, before being presented with the Chain of the Office and the Official Mace (Cokmar).

Speaking after the ceremony, Rozali thanked and congratulated the residents of Seberang Perai on the milestone event.

He said without the residents’ cooperation, it would not have been possible for Seberang Perai to achieve its new-found city status.

“That’s why I am going to announce a few goodies for the people, which includes 18 programmes and six guidelines that would give (Seberang Perai) the feel of an upgraded city.

“I am sure the incentives and programmes will fulfil the wishes of the people, as they are (the result of) townhall sessions and discussions with the people,” he added.

Talk of Seberang Perai being upgraded to a city began right after the Penang Island City Council obtained its city status in 2015.

The state government’s formal application for MPSP to be upgraded to a city was approved by Cabinet in May this year.

MPSP was the largest municipality in the country, administering three districts with 54 localities.

Its elevation to city status now makes Seberang Perai the country’s largest city council, covering 747.8 sq km, with a population of 946,200.

With today’s declaration, both local authorities in Penang are city councils.

They join 12 other cities in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Alor Star, Johor Baru, Melaka City, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Kuching North and Kuching South.

Source: NST Online

 

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Oct 14 deadline for Penang property owners to appeal against assessment rate hike

September 16th, 2019 5 comments

view-from-komtarPenang property owners have to be prepared to pay higher assessment rates next year as the state’s two local councils review the rates to counter increased expenditures.

All property owners will receive the notices on the increase this month, and they have up to October 14 to send in appeals against the new rates, reported the Malay Mail today.

“It has been 15 years since we reviewed the assessment rates and we are reviewing it now in accordance with the provisions of the law,” state local government, housing development and town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said in a press conference today,

He revealed that higher spending costs have led to an annual deficit budget since 2016 for the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).

Jagdeep refused to reveal the rate of the raise, but merely said it would depend on the property type, location and size.

However, Sin Chew Daily had earlier reported an expected hike of up to 30%.

A total of 322,549 properties on the island and 327,401 on the mainland will fall under the review.

The increase has been calculated to bring in an additional revenue of RM54,338,822 for MBPP and RM39,743,077.02 for MPSP next year, but Jagdeep said “the extra revenue will barely be able to cover the expenditure of both councils”.

“MBPP will be implementing 31 infrastructure projects between 2020 and 2022 at a cost of RM179.03 million so the extra RM54 million from the assessment rate increase does not cover this full sum,” he explained.

MPSP will also be carrying out 46 projects between 2020 and 2022, costing RM169.74 million.

Compared to 2005, MBPP’s and MPSP’s 2019 overall expenditures shot up by 291% (RM196.391 million) and 784% (RM107 million) respectively.

Jagdeep pointed out the state’s property assessment rates are still the lowest in Malaysia compared to Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and even Kota Kinabalu.

Source: EdegeProp.my

 

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Interview with CM: The status of Undersea Tunnel and Sky Cab projects

September 15th, 2019 No comments

The proposed Penang undersea tunnel project report submitted for review by the technical consultant is over 90% complete and there’s no plan to stop the projects. We have also touched on the Penang Sky Cab cable car project, which will link Seberang Prai to the island.

In the interview below, Penang Chief Minister shares with us the latest status of the undersea tunnel and sky cab projects.

FIND OUT MORE:
Penang CM speaks to Penang Property Talk on Vision 2030