Penang News

Lasting legacy-style development for Penang

After its acquisition of a majority stake in listed United Bintang Bhd (UBB), Penang-based Ideal Property Group has announced that it will be including property development into the company’s core portfolio of importing and exporting used and reconditioned heavy equipment and machinery.

With the acquisition, executive chairman Datuk Alex Ooi aims to offer more high-quality projects via UBB in order to create a lasting legacy in the state. “Ideal Property aims to become more than just a property developer,” Ooi said.

According to Ooi, this can be achieved by building properties that promote the appreciation of life, with great emphasis on wellness, practicality, as well as aspects of human care.

Its projects include a “Slow City” development concept, which will be equipped with a recreational park, bicycle lanes and dedicated walkways built throughout the entire development, aimed at promoting “slow” city life and low carbon consumption within the community, and “One Residence,” the first green community which incorporates both slow city life and sustainable lifestyle concepts. The company will be introducing its upcoming major development at the Queensbay coastal area soon.

Pollution scare in Penang

A huge patch of black water was seen in the waters off Batu Ferringhi in early February, sparking concerns from locals and tourists alike. The patch, nearby a spot of beach erosion on the tourist belt, spurred authorities into investigating the cause, which the state alleges came from a waste treatment plant operated by Indah Water Konsortium (IWK). “This is an environmental concern which has become an urgent international issue. It was decided in a meeting with the Department of Environment (DoE), the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, MPPP and a representative from IWK that IWK has to take certain steps to rectify the situation,” said Chow Kon Yeow, state executive councillor for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation. “IWK has to stop flushing during maintenance works or transport the waste in tanks to another sewage plant for treatment.”

IWK, on the other hand, has denied that it is responsible for the pollution. Senior communications manager Shahrul Nizam Sulaiman said that a loose valve from the aeration tank at the plant was believed to have been the cause of the earth-coloured water, not the black-coloured water. “The effluent released from our sewage treatment plant is safe. We urge everyone to allow the Environment Ministry to resolve this problem. However, we are willing to work with the state government,” he added.

Meanwhile, a river and marine pollution ad-hoc taskforce consisting of various agencies such as the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, MPPP, DOE and Public Works Department has been set up to carry out tasks such as monitoring the water quality and providing suggestions to overcome the pollution issue.

Free SMS service to keep Penangites up to date

A free SMS blasting service aimed at keeping Penangites up to date with the events and current affairs of the state government will be provided by mobile operator XOX Berhad (XOX) as part of its CSR drive.

According to group managing director Datuk Eddie Chai, this collaboration is the first state-level development initiative by the XOX brand and is aimed at getting across messages from the Penang state government to its people, bridging the communication gap between the two parties.

“As a mobile technology brand, we see distinct synergies in collaborating with the state of Penang to provide a costeffective mobile community created exclusively for Penang people,” Chai said. “There are other upcoming collaborations, which include free Penang tourism information for selected tourist packs, free mobile Internet and extended validity for selected segments such as youths and senior citizens, as well as special call and SMS rates exclusively for Penang people,” he added.

The one-year partnership has the capacity of reaching out to 200,000 users via SMS, with an estimated total of 2.27 million SMSes to be sent out during the period.

“This free service will enable the Penang state government to save an estimated RM180,000 a year in expenses,” said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. Those who do not wish to receive the free SMSes have the option to unsubscribe.

Penang hailed as top destination for medical tourism and retirement

Malaysia ranks as the third best place for medical tourism and retirement in International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index. The monthly newsletter reports that Malaysia, along with France and Uruguay, provides the best and most affordable healthcare in the world, and notes that “bohemian” Penang is one of the country’s medical centres of excellence.



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