Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Rape of Penang

Notice proximity of existing buildings
stop work order issued, blasting continues
protesters arguing their case

I suppose an apology is in order. Sorry for the extended inactivity on this blog. The hippie simply OD'd!

Well, a lot has happened over the last two months. There was Christmas, the New Year and recently, the Lunar New Year. In between all the celebration, there were also quite a bit of developments on the political front. Actually it was the political on goings that drove this hippie back to the commune, just to get away from it all. Things went so bad that I did not know how to get my message across without getting myself in trouble, so I decided to head back to the commune to re-live my youth!

The great Malaysian circus is on the road again, currently playing in Perak, with promotions being done in Kedah, Selangor and Penang. Never mind the circus, I shall not dwell on them. Today, I want to feature Gerakan's legacy of hill slope development to the people of Penang. After the 1991 Highland Towers debacle, the Federal government saw fit to introduce guidelines to all State governments to stop all development on Class IV hill slopes. The last State government, headed by this nerdy looking gentleman, ignored these guidelines and approved several such hill slope development projects. Not only that, he actually approved a couple of high rise developments in the city centre and thereby threatening our newly acquired Unesco Heritage status!

Repeated appeals by the Tanjung Bungah Residents Association seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. There was a ray of hope earlier when the current State government, headed by the DAP, actually issued a stop work order to one of these projects. Shortly after, probably a day or two later, work at site resumed. They continued their blasting of the hill slopes, which IS ongoing! Angry and frustrated, the members of the Residents Association organized a gathering to voice their displeasure. I am glad to inform readers that there were no incidents even though the PDRM was present! In fact the credit should actually go the PDRM because it was rare to see them so well behaved!

While the Tanjung Bungah residents gathered to protest, the Deputy Works Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd. Zin bin Mohamed, declared that in spite of controversies involving hill slope developments, there shall be no blanket ban on such projects. He offered a most bizarre explanation for the decision, claiming that a growing population and the scarcity of land has made it necessary!

Though many are blaming the past administration for approving these projects, I think the current administration's failure to effect the stop work order should be looked at! Was it lip service during the run up to the elections? The DAP assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah was present at the protest and he declared that as a backbencher there was only so much that he could do! Why do I find politicians from both sides of the divide more convincing before they are elected?

I hope something positive will come out of this exercise because there is a good chance that things might get ugly soon. I am saying so after speaking to an active member of the Residents Association. Apparently while putting up a banner to "SAVE THE HILLS" he was spotted by an employee of the contractor. The following day, all four of his car tires were punctured!


Anonymous said...

Send the rapists to BBQ PIT and get them grilled!!!!

twotoner said...

Sounds like a pretty good idea, but I believe even the rodents would shun them!