Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks at the Penang Developement Corporation Office in George Town April 14, 2022. – Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
GEORGE TOWN, April 14 — The proposed redevelopment of Burmah Square, which is where former civil servants’ quarters off Burmah Road are located, is still at the planning stage and pending approval, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
The lawmaker said Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has submitted the application for planning permission to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for approval.
“The process is ongoing. It has not been approved by MBPP yet, and as required by law, neighbouring lots have been informed of the project,” he said.
He said a property owner near the project had filed a legal suit against the project, naming PDC, the state government and him as the defendants.
“PDC will manage this with its own legal representation, while the state legal adviser will represent the state government and I in this case,” he said.
He said the project is only expected to start in 2024 or 2025.
The tenants of the existing buildings have been given an extension and a discount in their rental fees, he said.
Chow, who is also PDC chairman, said PDC will consider all appeals by current tenants pertaining to the rental of properties in Burmah Square.
“In the meantime, we can still review the components and design of the project,” he added.
As for the fate of Category Two heritage buildings at the proposed redevelopment site, Chow said the state had obtained the necessary feedback on these buildings from the city council.
“Some buildings are listed as category two but this does not mean that they cannot be redeveloped,” he said.
He said the facade can be maintained while the rear of the buildings can be redeveloped.
“PDC will comply with whatever guidelines apply to the buildings,” he stressed.
Chow then denied accusations that the state is allowing haphazard developments without gazetted local plans to govern these projects and land use.
“It is not true that we can do anything on any piece of land. Even without local plans, we have the structure plan and guidelines, along with density and plot ratio to control the types of buildings and developments,” he said.
He said the drafting of the local plans for both the island and mainland is ongoing.
Earlier, Chow witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between PDC and Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited to develop a distribution park in Batu Maung, next to the Batu Maung Air Cargo Complex.
Cianiao, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, has earmarked a 30-acre piece of land to be studied for the development of a distribution park.
“This MoU will enable PDC and Cainiao to conduct viability and feasibility studies on the development of the distribution park and the studies will be completed within six months to one year,” he said.
He said the plan for a distribution park in Penang is timely, especially with a surge in e-commerce globally and locally.
Cainiao has a distribution centre in Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Penang will be its second distribution centre in Malaysia.