THE state government has received a total of 462 inputs from various quarters in regards to its Penang Structure Plan 2030, according to state Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh.
He told reporters in Komtar today that a five-member evaluation committee, headed by the director of the Federal Development Office of the Penang State, Datuk Dr Mohamad Farazi Johari, had been set up to go through the feedback.
“They are expected to take about a month to deliberate (the issues). They will then make recommendations to the State Planning Committee which will consider their recommendations and decide how to incorporate them into the plan,” Jagdeep said.
“Let me state here very clearly that the Penang government is always open to receiving inputs and feedback that are constructive so as to better this draft.
“I know there have been calls especially from non-governmental organisations, like Penang Forum, but as long as they are constructive, we are here to listen because we want this plan to be a plan that will be for the good of Penangites. Let me stress that on behalf of the Penang government.”
Jagdeep said although by law, one month is only required for the public to give feedback on the structure plan draft, the state government gave a two-month period to receive any objections or feedback from Sept 18 to Nov 19.
Out of the 462 inputs, 415 were submitted via forms and 47 via online or email.
The most feedback came from the Agriculture Department with 272 inputs, followed by Facebook Post (109), individuals (41), corporations (22), NGOs (33, including three from Penang Forum), agencies (two from Universiti Sains Malaysia, and one each from Penang Island City Council, Seberang Prai Municipal Council and Penang Development Corporation.)
“Although there are 272 inputs from the Agriculture Department, they are not so much as objections but to say that certain areas in the local plan at the moment are under agriculture zone.
“But in the state Structure Plan it is not. So, we want to streamline it or regularise it. That’s why all these inputs from all the five districts to us. That is not too much an issue. It was necessary to do the necessary.”
Jagdeep said from the objections or inputs by the public and NGOs, there were questions raised firstly on the rate of increase of residents in Penang, secondly in relation to the implementation of Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), and thirdly on the concern by the state government to reclaim land, in particular on the southern part of Penang, and generally to all other reclamation projects.
He said that the current population in the state is 1.8 million and the state government expects the population to reach 2.3 to 2.4 million by 2030 not only due to population growth but also migration to the state.
Jagdeep said after all the things had been ironed out, he expected the Penang Structure Plan 2030 to be gazetted by the first quarter of next year.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad