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Penang Forum’s open letter to new Penang Island mayor

A high-rise project on a hill-slope in Penang

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Penang Forum has written a congratulatory letter to the new mayor of Penang Island which also outlines the group’s grave concerns over recent developments and trends.

Dear Datuk Patahiyah Ismail

It is with great pleasure that the Penang Forum Steering Committee greets the news of your appointment as the new mayor of the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

We wish to heartily congratulate you and we look forward to an open administration that will seek public feedback and consultation prior to the planning and approval of major projects affecting the daily lives of ordinary Penang islanders.

Penang Forum urges you to display, obtain feedback and gazette the much delayed Local Plans as an urgent priority. The City cannot be allowed to continue to grow in this current haphazard fashion where pressure groups, vested interests and politicking have drastically altered established housing patterns.

Our hills are being raped; land reclamation is altering our coastlines beyond recognition; there are proposals to eliminate critical sea grass beds; siltation is destroying our beaches; fishing grounds shrink by the day; and our waters are being polluted. There has been little regard for inadequate infrastructure and current residents’ needs and concerns.

Densities and plot ratios have been increased alarmingly, again with no regard whatsoever for the historicity of the area, the environmental concerns, or the ability of the area to support the new densities.

Penangites are growing more alarmed when every week brings a new high-rise block, and viable public transport remains a distant dream. We can no longer live with the traffic situation and the horrific demands on our daily lives brought about by this breakneck speed of unplanned development.

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Penang Forum would like to urge a moratorium on new development densities and further land reclamation and hill-cutting until the Local Plan is in place, until the people of Penang have had a voice in the planning of our city.

We look forward to a ‘Brave New World’ from you, Datuk Mayor, and wish you well. You have the ability and the power to make a difference in our lives and to improve the status of our island to one that will be the envy of others.

With best wishes

Penang Forum Steering Committee

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