Nothing wrong with Penang foreign workers’ hostel, says council

Residents gathering outside the foreign workers’ hostel off Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, Batu Maung, on Dec 19.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) today said a foreign workers’ hostel project in Batu Maung, which had faced objections from residents, had met all legal requirements.

In a statement, the council said the traffic concerns raised by the residents would be addressed through the widening of nearby roads by 11m and the free-flow turn-in lanes from the main road.

On Dec 19, a group of residents from Batu Maung picketed near the project site in Jalan Permatang Damar Laut. They raised concerns about the project and the lack of consultation with those residing in the area.

They were also concerned over the social impact the hostel would cause as 9,000 foreigners were expected to stay there once the project was completed.

The residents pointed out that the surrounding roads would not be able to cope with buses ferrying the workers.

MBPP said Batu Maung had been selected by the Penang government as one of the “strategic locations” to home foreign workers as the state’s economy relied on industries that employed them.

It said the building also met legal requirements and there was ample space for factory buses to fetch workers in two shifts. There is also sufficient parking space for the buses.

Residents had earlier complained that there was not enough space to park buses and the driveways ought to be kept clear at all times for emergency vehicles.

“As per the Penang state workers’ hostel guidelines, hostel/dormitories must fit 18 people a unit.

“As for residents’ claim that they were not consulted before, the council has held explanation sessions with neighbouring lots on Oct 11, 2016, and another meeting on Nov 29 last year.

“We have also responded to feedback sent by the complainants,” the statement reads. FMT has contacted the residents’ group for a response.