There is a demonstration planned for tomorrow June 28th in Penang to protest against the plan to move TUDM air base in Butterworth and redeveloped the site. The base is situated in BN's parliamentary seat of Tasek Gelugor.
The plan was to move the squatters near the airstrip to an area within the same parliamantary area in Bandar Perda under the administration of the federal government. More than 10,000 units of low cost home will be built on the existing air base site. If the motive is to maintain political dominance, that would have served the purpose.
This needs highlighting so to repeat again, it is more than 10,000 units of low cost homes or 'rumah murah'. Not 'mampu milik' or affordable home which is seldom laughed off as 'mampu tengok' or affordable to view only.
The move is necessary because it is no more suitable to maintain the 1,000 acre (407 ha) old British air base in an area that is increasingly urban and unsafe to operate. The air base is the headquarter for the important and strategic Five Power Defense Arrangement [read Wikipedia here].
The new air base is planned for a rural location at Aru Kuda in Tasek Gelugor. The RM4 billion new air base could provide for 2,400 households of military personnel. Presumably that should be safe voters for BN.
The existing base will be developed into mixed development in which exact number of low cost housing slotted for the area is 11,250 homes including those allocated for the 260 squatter families on the existing air base.
This is where the uncanny ability of UMNO grassroot leaders to repeatedly shoot themselves at their own feet and face the wrath of voters.
It was last week that there was a police report made by Dato Shabudin Yahya against blogger Parpukari for seeking an answer with regard to a viral message claiming he had called the PM coward. [The said posting is here].
The message reads as below:
PM Najib Bacul!After the police report, Shabudin spoke to TV3 to deny saying any such words and remain supportive of Dato Najib. It is natural for him as a Division head do so. If not denied immediately, it does not matter whether it is true or false for it can be very unsettling.
Nampaknya gerakan untuk jatuhkan PM semakin bergerak dan mula menampakkan dirinya. Terbaru Ahli Parlimen Tasek Gelugor dengan angkuhnya menyatakan DS Najib Razak terlalu bacul untuk buat keputusan sendiri. Shahbudin Yahya yang juga Pengerusi Perbadanan Pembangunan Wilayah Pulau Pinang (PERDA) seolah olah mengapi api kan anak anak buahnya untuk membenci kepimpinan DS Najib Razak.
Shahbudin berkata demikian di Retreat anjuran PERDA di Hotel Brasamana Kuala Perlis pada 13 Jun 2015.
Kritikan ini adalah serangan terbaru terhadap kepimpinan DS Najib Razak dan dilihat sebagai tidak mengendahkan kenyataan DS Najib untuk mereka yang tidak sehaluan dengan kepimpinannya untuk meletakkan jawatan didalam kerajaan dan parti.
Kita mintak supaya YB Shahbudin untuk beri kenyataan bahawa ini adalah fitnah dan dia tak pernah cakap macam tu. Boleh ka YB?
Kalau benar dia berkata begini then dia kena tampil kedepan dan melepaskan segala jawatan yang telah dilantik PM kepada dia.
Wahai orang Penang! Tolong sampaikan mesej ini pada YB tersebut. Tq
There must be a reason behind Shabuddin's jumpiness to make police report over a mere enquiry. Though the problem was a misunderstanding and amicably solved between the blogger and Shabudin [read here], the bigger problem relating to the airbase has yet to be resolved.
The squatters expecting to move to their new homes have expressed their unhappiness to the perceived intentional delay.
Shabuddin is the federal appointed Chairman of PERDA, an organisation established under the Prime Minister's Department by the former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah to undertake regional physical and socio-economic development for a designated area of Seberang Prai, Penang.
For quite sometime, the PERDA Chairman's John Hancock is needed to move the federal plan forward. Thus it is widely believed that he was the stumbling block to hold back PERDA's Board of Directors from making the necessary approvals.
Through his other associates, the PERDA Chairman had put up barriers to protest the move of the air base to Arul Kuda, a rural location in Tasek Gelugor and redevelop the air base into an "art and leisure centre".
The excuse given was that part of the planned 809 ha site for the new air base was planned for low cost and affordable housing in line with the targeted 20,000 low cost and affordable homes for whole of Penang. [read MI here].
Where has the current plan divert from the previous plan?
It is believed that there are many reasons for the resistance and it has nothing to do with the current location being strategic for its closeness to the sea. Noticeably they tried to playdown the safety issues relating to the squatter village at Kampung Paya Terbakar near the air strip.
The insecurity with recently announced TSR Synergy's staged planned development for part of the current air base is unwarranted.
Many local community leaders are already presuming there is bribery involved when those in the position of authority - be it politicians or civil servants - are making excuses and cooking up all sort of new cautionary reasons to prevent proceeding forward.
Since the hot issue in the news is Xavier Justo, lets call it blackmail, but no tampering is involved. Maybe there is tampering. The plan to hold a demonstration on the excuse that it will destabilise the voters profile could be considered as tampering.
Naturally the presumption eventually leads to outright accusation. It is claimed that Dato Shabudin is demanding a sizeable amount of money to revive his ability to sign letters. A new twist to the rumour is going around saying it is not just him but there are other beaks that need whetting.
Co-incidently, Shabudin and UMNO Tasek Gelugor have kept themselves mum on this plan after he was told to proceed with the plan from a meeting with the Prime Minister. And one can expect that at tomorrow's demonstration, there will not be in sight a single soul from Tasek Gelugor. All one need see are certain familiar faces and one can confirm tomorrow's demonstration is a planned effort.
One reason to the resistance that have been uncovered is of a development project on a PERDA land adjacent to the planned new air base.
PERDA had awarded the construction to close associates within the Tasek Gelugor Division but the plan was naturally rejected by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on reason of safety to the new air base. There are clear municipal by-laws on that.
Several companies identified of having received the awards are Puncak Mekar Engineering Sdn Bhd, Pastech Engineering Sdn Bhd, GDW Mengkuang Sdn Bhd and Bumi Prospect Development Sdn Bhd.
A planned sales brochure are ready for pre-sales of Desa Ara Permai condo, 3 storey gated community homes, terrace houses, semi-D homes, bungalow homes, and shop lots with Oriental Max Group of Companies as marketing agent.
Talking of political concern, the brochures is written in both English and Chinese.
Although Guan Eng may have denied knowledge of the redevelopment plan [read here], sources from among property players in Penang believed Guan Eng has no objection to the new air base and development of the existing air base.
Contrary to the political propaganda made against Guan Eng, he conducts himself in a business-like manner when it comes to business matters.
Not only it is his aspiration to give a Singapore-like urban and modern look for Penang, it helps to pre-oocupy Betty Chiew with more personal up-keep of new dresses, handbags, jeweleries, and Swiss facial treatment, and also regular meeting with bankers in Hong Kong. It allay her away from bothering him and throwing ashtrays in the office.
In the same manner as PAP in Singapore, DAP state government would apply stated regulation or policy for their action on their political foe as happened in the recent removal of UMNO logo in front of their Penang office.
On matter of business, Guan Eng could set aside politics. Just be prepared to hear him make false claims that it is his effort as he did on the federal assisted funding for the entrepreneurs of The Light Hotel at Seberang Jaya.
Also be prepared to hear Guan Eng getting blamed for the air base development. The truth to the matter it is local leaders of UMNO Tasek Gelugor and Penang that is the culprit.
Our late sifu spent a bit of time as a lecturer in Penang. He often described such phenomenon as typical of the back-stabbing and opportunistic mamak politics in UMNO Penang.
This became a prevailing disgust of the Malay constituents towards UMNO Penang and part of the reason PKR strive in Penang. Over a period of time and decades of repeated cycles of occurrence, it became a cultural problem in the party that is too in-grained to be addressed.
As happened at the recent Permatang Pauh by-election recently, even the pure Malay in UMNO behaves like these mamak. They have no qualms about back stabbing their own party candidate for self interest.
* Edited 1:30 AM 28/6