GEORGE TOWN, March 10 ― The absence of a local plan for Seberang Perai is hampering development on the mainland side of the state, a developer said today.
Star Sanctuary Land Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Amos Ng said it is the first time he is undertaking a development project in Penang and the lack of a local plan has delayed his project.
“We need a local plan for development, in Selangor, they have a local plan and projects were not delayed but here, without a local plan, neighbours will file complaints with the Appeals Board and this delayed the project,” he told reporters at the Penang International Property (PIP) Conference here.
He said the local plan will have specified zones for commercial or residential developments and with it in place, residents can't file complaints to the Appeals Board.
Ng's company is building a 19-stores serviced apartment in Butterworth fronting the sea but he claimed his project had been delayed by six to eight months due to objections raised by neighbours at the Appeals Board.
“The case is still pending hearing and it has been more than six months because the appellants were postponing it with all sorts of excuses,” he said.
He said the local plan is important for any state as it provides for developments and with it in place, all developments process and procedures will be sped up and simplified.
“There is so much potential to Butterworth that I am certain it will see positive development once the local plan is in place,” he said.
Earlier, during a question and answer session, Ng had raised this issue and asked the state government to rectify this issue.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng replied that previously Seberang Perai had three separate local plans.
“We are in the process of combining it to have only one local plan because Seberang Perai only has one local council, the Seberang Perai Municipal Council,” he said.
He also said that without the local plan, it benefits the residents as it meant residents may submit objections and appeal to the Appeals Board against any project in their neighborhood.
“It gives people the democratic right to object and appeal but with the local plan, the residents cannot appeal but only the developers are allowed to appeal, this is the law,” he said.
He agreed that the local plan is important for development, saying that many developers have complained.
“We are working on it, we are working up a single local plan for Seberang Perai and we will implement it when the time comes but be careful what you ask for because by then, residents will be unhappy as they will have no more recourse to object to the Appeals Board,” he said.
Both the MPSP and Penang Island City Council are yet to complete and gazette local plans for the whole state.
The local plans determines the land use of various districts that the councils can refer to when approving projects.