GEORGETOWN, Oct 22 – Penang’s development, with new high-rise project sprouting around the island and flash floods in George Town earlier this month, has become political fodder against the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government. But local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said overdevelopment was not the cause, as only a fraction of the number of new projects approved have started work.
Since 2008 until this month, only 111 out of 1,323 new projects granted planning permission had permits to start work, he said. “That is less than 10% of the number of new proposed projects given planning approval. “How could it be that Penang saw more development under PR just over six years compared with Barisan Nasional that ruled the state for decades?”
On the other hand, from 2000 to 2007 during Barisan Nasional (BN) rule, work started on 441 projects out of 1,272 that got planning permission, he said. According to the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), the most number of projects that commenced construction were in 2001 (81), 2005 (70) and 2007 (68) under the BN administration.
Since PR took over the state in 2008, there were not more than 20 projects starting work each year, Chow said, except for 2009 when 38 projects began construction. The lowest numbers were in 2011 with only two projects, and four projects this year up until October. “While I cannot deny that hill-cutting can cause floods, singling out overdevelopment as the cause of floods does not reflect the actual situation,” Chow said on Monday.