PENANG — Penang Gerakan Secretary Oh Tong Keong urged Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to clarify and confirm on the recent announcement made by State Exco member Chow Kon Yeow that Penang will increase a few thousand acres of land bank through reclamation projects and that the said reclamation projects will give future Penang a newand modern city outlook.
In a statement, Oh said there were contradicting statements between Lim and Chow on the reclamation projects.
Oh said that earlier, Lim had made denials about the projects and had even threatened to sue the mass media on “the mysterious proposed reclamation projects to reclaim 6,000 acres of land in the Penang sea.
“One wonders the so called reclamation projects mentioned by Chow refer to those along Gurney Drive or the much talked about 6,000 acres of land reclaimed in the sea at the vicinity of Batu Maung?” Oh asked.
“There is inconsistency and contradiction in the two senior leaders’ statement. They owe the Penang people an explanation,” Oh added.
Oh wants to know whether Lim would take legal action against Chow on this matter like what he has threatened to sue the media over the contradictory statement publicly made by the latter against his earlier denial.
He said the people are confused over such an important issue and the state’s policy.
He said it could be a case when somebody would like to hide certain policy on certain unpopular & embarrassed projects from being made publicly. But unfortunately Chow might have inadvertently “let the cat out of the bag”, and overstep the land mines buried under the battle field, and blew up the hidden truth?
Oh stressed that whether it is the reclamation projects along the seafront of Gurney Drive or the much rumored few thousand acres of land reclaimed in the sea at Batu Maung, it only goes to show the contradictory policies of the DAP led Penang government where on one hand they are seen advocating to create a greener Penang, on the other hand, they are seen to bring more harm to the environment.
“It is either turning the green hill into “botak hill” or turning the sea into reclaimed lands. What they do is painting a beautiful homeland full of fantasy in front of the people, but on the contrary they are manoeuvring the people towards a homeland full of destructive and non-vibrant environment, making the rich becomes richer, the poor becomes poorer.”
Oh said the original concept of CAT government as advocated by Lim is dead. After talking over the helm of Penang for years, other than making people feel good by their slogans, making fools of the people, they were never seen to upkeep their motto of CAT, i.e. competency, accountability & transparency. Most of the policies as announced by the CAT government seem to be empty talk without much substance, and their feet are not on the ground.
He reiterated that excessive reclamation of lands would seriously destroy the environment, and have far reaching implications on the survival of the ocean creatures. Humanity will eventually pay very high price on these implications. A typical example is the sediments of the thick mud dumped along the seafront of Gurney Drive, where sea creatures are diminishing, causing the seafront to lose its vitality.
What really worries us is the narration by Chow that Penang faces the constraints in further development at the hilly lands and in the City Heritage areas. They have to source for new and alternative revenue to sustain the costs of the administration and development in Penang by way of increasing few thousand acres of reclaimed land.
But, don’t tell us that Penang depends only on reclamation projects to sustain development?
Don’t tell us that Penang government cannot generate enough income without reclamation projects. Apparently, the state government is only concerned with how to make money by either reclamation projects or selling off state lands at the expense of the rights and benefits of the people in Penang? Don’t tell us that they do not know that the best revenue and avenue to make Penang a rich state is by wooing more foreign investments?
Oh recalled an earlier incident when the federal Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that he had received complaints that Penang state government would reclaim 6,000 acres of lands in the sea of Penang. Shockingly, this statement by the federal minister received rigorous response from Lim Guan Eng who threatened to sue the media on this issue, without directly answering to the question raised by the minister concerned.