The Pakatan government is told to consult the public before drafting comprehensive new codes.
GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan today urged the Penang government to discard the real estate development guidelines it currently uses and replace them with a comprehensive set that protects the rights and interests of local residents.
“The current guidelines are affecting locals adversely,” said Teh Leong Meng, who heads Penang Gerakan’s local government bureau.
Speaking at a press conference here, he said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s administration should consult the local public before drafting the new guidelines.
In the meantime, he added, the construction of high rise buildings should stop.
Teh alleged that the guidelines that the Pakatan government adopted in June 2010 allowed high rise buildings “everywhere in the state without any control” and were among the chief reasons for the mushrooming of posh condominiums and apartments, which in turn had caused house prices in the state to skyrocket.
“Ordinary people cannot afford to buy homes in Penang today,” he said.
The “uncontrolled” development, he added, had also worsened traffic congestion and resulted in the destruction of hilly areas and degradation of the living environment.
He said the Pakatan guidelines allowed the density of high rise buildings to increase from 30 units per acre to 87 units and, in the case of low-cost houses, to 120 units.
“Height has increased three to four times from eight-storey to 32-storey buildings.”
He said the people of Penang cherished the natural beauty of their state and would not want to live in a crowded concrete jungle like Hong Kong, where “we can’t even see the sky”.
He criticised the state government for failing to upgrade roads and improve the traffic dispersal system and public transport services to accommodate the surge in population due to “unscrupulous” construction of high rise buildings.