A few days ago, I was amused to read on Malaysiakini that Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng said

Penang may see a different Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng come 2009.

The Pakatan Rakyat leader aims to control his sharp tongue and inject more diplomacy into his dealings with the federal government.

“I do not want to start the new year by criticising anyone, especially the federal government,” he told journalists at his final press conference for 2008 in his office in Georgetown today.

But today, I just read that he has probably broken his resolution of telling people to go ask Teng Hock Nan, why, why, tell me why.

Our little island is under the mercies of those political leaders elected to office. Previously, I worked in one of the biggest public company in Penang and we have property development too. The two ex-MPPP chiefs, i.e. Tan Gim Hwa and Teng Hock Nan were known to us and how things operate up there, I guess all of us know. Usually, it is money talks, people’s welfare come second.

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I took a bunch of photos of the Macallum area yesterday evening when I went for seafood dinner. It was a very gloomy and cloudy evening and that add on to the sombre scene at this ‘poor man area’. Long time ago, when I was working in the jewellery factory, many of those jewellers came from these ‘thau teow lor, jee teow lor, sar teow lor’. Macallum is goh teow lor, I think. These roads called by their numbers have some of the lower income folks, mostly Chinese. That’s where I learn all my Hokkien bad words, btw. LOL ‘Cos these jewellery making craftsmen cursed all day long. “tiu nia mah, kanineh, macibai” Those words just rolled off their tongues.

Anyway, sometimes, when there are weddings or something, I had visited some of those low cost flats and I tell you, it gives me fainting spell because some of them have no ventilation, dark, smelly and very cramped.

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But would these developers care about the living conditions? No. They only care about making money building more homes. The houses you see above are from the same area. A unit costs over RM1 million. They just need to build some esplanade, name it some fanciful names and they can start building and sell. And these houses are often snapped up.

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(everywhere you turn, you see these pigeon hole flats)

If I am not mistaken, these are all reclaimed lands. There is a ruling that if a developer builds some luxurious homes, they have to provide some low cost flats. Luxurious homes make a lot of money, so they build and build. At the same time, they stuffs some pigeon holes flats to make up the number.

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Right now, all these new flats are not occupied yet. I shudder to think what this area will be like in another 10 years. Obviously, those town councillors (or whoever approve building plans) have never stayed in a cheap flats like Caunterhall, Kampung Melayu or Rifle Range. I have been to these places. And I know it is inhumane to subject humans to live in such cramp places. You cannot blame these areas for ‘producing’ criminals. Life is just too hard to be normal.

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(this is the real living condition where there are lots of crows. The above red cage is a crow trap. Once the crow went in, they cannot come out.)

So, what does this have to do with the Chief Minister? Well, the future of the island is in his hands. The question is are we Penangites, the lower income ones going to continue suffer in bad living conditions simply because developers are too blinded by money and MPPP are too generous in approving building plans? The CM said the previous Penang State Government approved many dubious things. But it is not good enough just to keep blaming the past. So, I hope the CM is brave enough to put a stop to this mushrooming of low costs flats which was the result of the greed of building more luxury homes. Mr. CM, tell them the island is full. Go live on the mainland or something?