Penang News



Penang axes Bayan Bay land reclamation project

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state government will not grant Boustead Holdings Sdn Bhd land reclamation rights to Bayan Bay, following protests from residents and Pantai Jerejak state assemblyperson Sim Tze Tzin. Boustead was at first allowed to reclaim 100 acres along the Bayan Bay shoreline a er the state government required it to scale down a hotel project in the George Town heritage enclave to fulfil a five-storey Unesco World Heritage Site requirement. Lim said that the hotel plans had been approved by the previous state government in spite of the Unesco requirement. The Bayan Bay Residents Action Commi ee, representing some 10,000 residents of the Putra Marine Resort, Gold Coast Resort, Putra Place, Villa Emas, Bay Star and Bay Garden Residence condominiums, had been strongly protesting the land reclamation, fearing severe environmental damage.

Boustead has filed a notice of defamation against Sim over remarks made regarding the land reclamation.

Gambling hotspots identified

State police say they have identified several hotspots for illegal gambling activities in the Northeast, Southwest and Seberang Perai Central districts. State police chief Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob says that 631 people have been arrested between January and August this year in gambling raids, and more than 6,000 computers seized.

Illegal logging comes to Penang

Illegal loggers have been sneaking into Penang’s permanent forest reserves to cut down the endangered Agarwood tree for its gaharu oil. Penang Forestry Department director Shah Rani A. Zailan said that the illegal logging syndicates have been opera- ting in the last three to four years, and have mostly targeted Cherok To’kun and Bukit Panchor on the mainland. Eight people, none of them from Penang, have so far been arrested, and state Environment, Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh has promised to act against anyone who illegally possesses forestry products. Agarwood sells for rm140 per 10mm.

100% repayment for microcredit scheme

The Micro Financing Project, a state microcredit initiative for Penang entrepreneurs, has a loan repayment rate of 100% since the Penang Development Corporation (pdc) took over operations from Universiti Sains Malaysia. The pdc deputy general manager Datuk Abdul Rahim Isahak a ributed the initiative’s success to a more stringent applica- tion and approval system. He added that the initiative had previously seen only 20% to 30% repayments before the pdc took over.

37 amendments for FOI Bill

Penang’s Freedom of Information (foi) Bill will be tabled at the next State Assembly sitting after 37 amendments have been made. FOI Bill Select Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh said that the amendments were needed to ensure that all information regarding Penang’s various state government departments were accessible to the public. Singh also said that the FOI appeals board will be able to function independently, and believes that the bill will be passed.

This comes months a er the FOI Bill was deferred by the state government following criticism by various non-governmental organisations for various reasons, including ambiguity in its passages and conditions.

Crane crashes on pre-war houses

A seven-storey crane tower crashed on a pre-war shophouse in George Town, killing one and injuring three others. The tower had toppled from a nearby construction site onto the house, burying 65-year-old Liang Yit Kwang under the debris. His family sustained injuries but otherwise survived. Two nearby shophouses were also damaged by the crash. The crane had been installed to construct a 20-storey hotel.

Police say they are investigating the case under Section 338 of the Penal Code, and the site has been sealed from the public pending an investigation, while the Department of Safety and Health (dsoh) will not rule out human error as a cause of the accident. State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said that aid has been distributed to the victims, and that the state government is ready to provide further assistance if need be.

Car-free Sundays coming soon?

The Penang state government is considering a plan to restrict cars from Church Street, Beach Street and Bishop Street in the George Town heritage zone every Sunday. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the move was done to encourage a greener, healthier lifestyle among the people. He added however that the state government is seeking the public’s views, and the plan will only be gazetted if they agree to it.

Boon Siew Honda to build RM200mil plant

Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd announced that it will build an RM200mil plant in Batu Kawan that will eventually replace its existing plant in Mak Mandin, Butterworth. Chief executive officer Satoshi Okada said that the plant, in addition to its present work- force of 1,000 locals, will employ an additional 100 people. The new plant will be five times larger and capable of producing 350,000 units annually, and will use new technologies including solar photovoltaic to make it more environmentally friendly. The plant will begin construction this month and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

New tariffs for Penang Port

The Penang Port plans to raise its tariffs for the first time since 2007. The proposal, which has been submitted for approval to the Penang Port Commission, will mostly affect cargo- handling and shipping charges. Chief operating officer Obaid Mansor said that rising oil prices and operating costs have been affecting the port’s profit margins, and the new tariffs will allow the port to remain competitive.

Najib rides on a high in Penang

On September 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak enlisted some 5,000 schoolchildren to ride their bicycles with him for up to seven kilometres, as part of his “1Malaysia Charity Ride for Education 2011” event. The charity event, which took place at Straits Quay, Penang, saw the Prime Minister greeted by 20,000 children. Also in a endance were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Penang United Malays National Organisation (Umno) Liaison Commi ee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman. RM16mil was raised at the event.

Axis Reit buys RM59mil worth of Penang land

Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) is buying leasehold land in the Bukit Tengah Industrial Park, Seberang Perai, from Apex Properties Sdn Bhd for RM59mil.

Axis Reit’s new acquisition will, according to chief executive officer Stewart LaBrooy, give the company a gross yield of 11% and a net yield of 10.2%. Its portfolio has also increased to 28 properties, with an asset size of more than RM1.33bil.

Penang pushes to retain food supplies in event of crisis

The Penang state government is negotiating to set up mechanisms that will allow it to retain control of food and water supplies during natural disasters. State Environment, Health, Welfare and Caring Society Commi ee chair- man Phee Boon Poh said that this will give everyone equal access to food stocks regardless of wealth or status, and a database can be set up to allow for the efficient delivery of rations to families. Negotiations are expected to conclude within one year.

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