Thank you for all your comments, I would firstly point out the editor neglected to include the 1st line of my letter:
I would point out that my letter was not motivated by any form of political or religious views held in Malaysia or elsewhere, nor to offend any person. Also, my reference to PR (Permanent Resident) was clearly taken out of context. But with such a multi-cultural country I should not expect most readers to fully understand the nuances of the English language or expect me to do the same for Malay, Chinese etc.
But it has started an interesting discussion. So I will try and leave out the politics and the blame game, focussing purely on what I have
observed and heard on my many visits.
As I read a cross-section of your press on the net, I noticed that it is so often reported that one Sultan or the other from other states had stepped in to calm things down over one matter or the other. And it seemed to calm things down, so perhaps it might work for Penang? Guess not.
I included details of my father, hoping that the reader would understand where I was coming from and his position back in the 50's. Yes, then the subject of the sovereignty of Kedah was a political hot potato due to the Tunku's connection with Kedah. But my father was the first to admit the British had made too many bitter mistakes in the past when returning sovereignty to many countries. History has seen most collapse into civil war in days of hand over. So the question was whether to do what the civil servants never did - (a) Return the country to how they 1st found it, returning all territories they had annexed. (b) Or the usual choice, carve it up between ethnic groups.
Thankfully they chose a watered down option (a) rather than (b) the civil servants usual choice and the subsequent explosion.
Someone said "Our leaders visited this issue in the 50s and decided against it. When sovereignty changes hands, it changes permanently and irreversibly". But they have quite rightly changed that stance and fully support the Palestinians right to sovereignty. That was another British mess 60 years ago.
Another writes "I clearly doesn't understand the administrative mechanism of the government." Correct, but I will not live that long, but then again would most Malaysians? But I live for the day when a voting booth has the alternative box to tick saying "no suitable candidate". I did hint at Melaka's history, being Penang born and educated but did not want dwell on the point too much.
As for the Singapore analogy, the people made their choice and opted for what they wanted: good governance, built around solid clean infrastructure. Singapore is now 3 times the size of Penang with its highest point of 500ft, unlike Penang that is dominated by the Hill that is 4 times higher and much wider. Singapore also capitalised on its port, whilst Penang went into reverse, without a fight.
This is the main problem I see with Penang, it lacks the infrastructure to cope with all the development.
I do not object to change, but Penang's basic infrastructure from sewers, storm drains, roads and water supplies are built around its 19th and early 20th century buildings. Putting a 30 story condo on the same footprint as an old town house and garden or in the foothills keeps overloading an already fragile system. So change has to be slow and considered.
Yet no matter who is in charge, every year you hear we will fix it. Well 7 years on, the towers go up and the promises re-issued. There is
mainland Penang with plenty of room to build the city of the future on a clean slate. Not this apparent build, build and hang the future consequences. Tourists want the brochure view of the beach and sea, not we will fix it next time.
Yesterday, the CM announced he would de-classify the previous incumbents' planning minutes. Hello, since when were town planning meetings considered so top secret and not a matter of public record? Ah! "I clearly don't understand the administrative mechanism of the government."
BN dog? What next, shoes? If so make sure they are by Choo Yeang Keat. I did not attack the CM or the Governor. Perhaps I worded it too strongly for your tastes. Would the CM proffer the minimum respect required and no more to a man in the Governor's position and gets away with it and the Governor is too well mannered not to press it further?
You cannot deny that the CM is not a master of the media, Facebook and Twitter etc, when it comes to blowing his own trumpet or equally quick to use it if anyone questions him, usually with the words misquoted and sue high on the list, but does he give an answer? No.
But as someone who has in this very paper and by e-mail tried to enter into a dialogue or prompt comment from him over his much publicised Crag/Uplands restoration (more like millionaires retreats) eluded complete silence from him. But much support from Penangites. From that I deduced that anybody who questions is ignored. "I clearly don't understand the administrative mechanism of the government." EVER HEARD THE TALE OF THE PIED PIPER?
Answer this, someone, please.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside Malacca. It is officially recognised as having "a unique architectural and cultural townscape
without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. This means tourism and M2H potential, yes? Why have the government raised minimum purchase price for foreigners to RM1 million? I can understand it for big investors buying up 20 units at a time and leaving them empty, but individual M2H'ers? Apart from the very rich, after downsizing in the UK most might have a little over RM1million capital to spend and live off. So they bought small to suit their means, leaving 2/3 at least to live off. The remaining money then would flow into your local economy over the years, not all to some fat cat. With Europe in recession and sometimes learning from their mistakes buying in say Spain, people will always look elsewhere, like Thailand.
And yes perhaps I appear to live in the past. But it has taught me to try and not to make the same mistake twice.
If I meet anyone of you in the street tomorrow and say, "Look out don't cross the road there will be a crash", would you ignore me because I am ................ or stop and take a second look?