CAP alarmed by ‘decision’ to raise housing density

SM Mohamed Idris

PETALING JAYA: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has called on Penangites to raise objections to an alleged state decision to increase residential density on the island.

In a media statement today, CAP President SM Mohamed Idris said it was now up to citizens to save Penang from what he described as a “high-density catastrophe.”

He said state approval of high-rise and high-density buildings without due consideration to the natural environment and the carrying capacity of those residences would have adverse effects on the quality of life not only of the occupants but also of people living in surrounding areas.

He criticised the state government for introducing a policy in 2012 that enabled the density of residential projects to be increased from 30 units to 87 units per acre and expressed outrage that there appeared to be a move towards a further increase.

He cited recent media reports that said the Penang Island City Council was formulating a policy to raise the density to 122 units per acre following a directive from the State Planning Committee.

“Are these higher density projects to fulfil demand for affordable housing or the demand of developers?” he asked.

Referring to a development project in Sungai Ara, he urged the city council to act on objections by residents of Taman Siara 81 and owners of neighbouring lands against a proposed high-rise and high-density development on Lots 586 and 675.

He said the developer was proposing to build 750 housing units, a seven-storey parking lot, a two-storey shopping complex and other amenities.

He said the current pace of development in Penang was “beyond comprehension” and claimed that citizens were concerned over the “potential catastrophe.”

“Is the idea of the government to destroy or save Penang for posterity?” he asked. “It is prudent for the state government to ponder about the direction that Penang is heading toward and about the effects these changes will have on the environment and people of Penang.”