PENANG — The whole 400 pages of Malay language translation on the Special Area Plan for George Town was completed a year ago. However, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has on 8/12/2015 told the media that the Malay language translation is still ongoing.
Earlier on October 2014, a similar reason given by him for not being able to gazette the blueprint of the Special Area Plan (SAP) was because the Malay language translation is yet to be completed.
Now with the surface of the fact that the said translation work was in fact completed one year ago, we wonder why this particular document is yet to be passed at the State EXCO meeting and let it be gazetted.
Penang Gerakan Youth Industrial Development & International Trade Bureau Chief Dave Tang Ching Sern pointed out that Penang Gerakan had received a mail together with the document from the public revealing facts that the Malay language translation on the Special Area Plan for George Town was completed a year ago. The whole document comprises about 400 pages.
We have conducted a random check with reference to the English version and have found out that the contents for the Malay and English versions are the same, drawing conclusion that the Malay language translation on the said document has already been completed.
Tang is baffled as to why the Special Area Plan for George Town is yet to be gazetted since the Malay language translation on this document has already been done. The delay in executing the gazette is contrary to the policy of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) as proudly proclaimed by Pakatan Harapan led Penang government.
In a press conference held on Thursday, Tang produced previous media reports in a chronological order on the project to prepare the blueprint of Special Area Plan for George Town.
The project to draft the Special Area Plan for George Town started on 24 August 2010. Then, on 22 March 2013, State Exco member Chow Kon Yeow disclosed that the said document would be submitted to UNESCO by end of May 2013. On 12 July the same year Lim Chooi Ping, the General Manager of George Town World Heritage Incorporated, pointed out that the Town & Country Planning Department was embarking on the Malay language translation on the blueprint for the Special Area Plan. Until 8/12/2015, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng still repeated the same story that the Malay language translation is still ongoing.
Tang said the reason given by the CM on October 2014 for the delay in the gazette of the blueprint was because the Malay language translation was not completed.
By delaying in the gazette of the blueprint of Special Area Plan, does the state government have anything to hide? Is there any reason to stop the gazette of the blueprint?
He hoped the Penang government will account for this matter and let the people know why they are reluctant to gazette the plan. Definitely this Special Area Plan has far reaching impacts on the overall current and future development for the whole Penang.
Tang also questioned the rationale behind the repeated lies made by Lim on the issue of Special Area Plan.
He pointed out that from media reports, the inference is that both the CM and Chow have reaffirmed that the blueprint of Special Area Plan for George Town has yet to be submitted to UNESCO.
Tang also elaborated that according to the media reports published in year 2012, 2013 & 2015, both Chow and Lim have made it clear that Special Area Plan is not ready yet.
However, on March 2013, Chow told the press that the completed Special Area Plan will be submitted to UNESCO by end of May 2013. But what baffled us is another narration released by Lim to the news portal Malaysia Insider on 19 January 2015.
According to Lim, the completion of the Local Structural Plan for Penang has to be delayed because of the condition imposed by UNESCO that it has to incorporate the Special Area Plan for George Town which is yet to be completed.
But, according to “Penang Monthly” magazine published on September 2015 by Penang Institute, the Special Area Plan has already been submitted to UNESCO by Penang Government as early as in 2011.
Tang stressed that Penang Institute is a “policies think tank” for Penang government on public administration. Therefore, their publications should be reliable. Now, who is actually telling lies? Chow and Lim, or “Penang Monthly”?
Tang said the state government has the responsibility to explain and account for this matter. This is a very important matter to be viewed seriously because it is very messy when a state does not have any structural plan for current & future development. It will jumble up all structural development without proper planning leading to chaotic lives for people of Penang.