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Lim Guan Eng Losing The Kg Buah Pala Battle Because He Is Not Thinking

Posted by Simon Templar On Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lim Guan Eng is a breath of fresh air for Malaysia.

He is not exactly the typical leader Malaysia has seen in the recent past; well none has been as humble and down to earth as this Chief Minister of Penang. I respect this chap - for his principals and sacrifices made for the people of Malaysia. And of course actions such as his insistence of flying budget airlines or economy only, minimal renovation to his official residence (although some may argue otherwise on his 'new' abode), and his simplicity in having meals among the rakyat, among others, go to show a man who is in touch with the ground.

But I cannot help but wonder why he screwed up on the Kampung Buah Pala issue. Yes, you read it right, he screwed up. He can come up with a thousand reasoning on how the previous BN government is the cause of the issue but that does not matter to the rakyat involved. His duty as the CM is to solve the rakyat's problems and not explain to the rakyat that the problem is that of his predecessor or that of the central government. The Kampung Buah Pala folks are not interested in the truth. They are not interested to be a party of a land scam or whatever it may be. For crying out loud, they just want their lives back - together with the roof they had over their heads all these years.

(By the way, going to the Prime Minister to solve the problem is plain silly. Yes, Lim Guan Eng wants to show that Najib couldn't give a damn but what is he trying to achieve anyway. We already know that BN is bad. Making Najib look "more bad"? Bad is bad la. Period. The episode only got twisted into an "incompetent CM running and crying after the PM for help". I hope Lim Guan Eng is not so naive as to expect Najib to actually resolve the issue.)

How true is the RM200,000 compensation I do not know. But again, that is not the problem. These guys do not want to move and maybe they should not have to. (Actually what's with not accepting the RM200,000? That is a lot of money eh.) Sentimental values maybe. Or maybe they are used to the amenities near the area. Maybe their kids have settled at the nearby schools. Maybe the graves of their ancestors are at the backyard. The list of 'maybe's goes on. The bottom line is - it is their homes.

Lim Guan Eng is a good man. But he is not very savvy. And I don't think that he is very creative in solving problems too. So far, he has definitely not been thinking out of the box. This Kampung Buah Pala issue can be solved and turned into a mega advertisement for Pakatan Rakyat.

The Penang Government need not buy the land at taxpayer's expense. Pakatan Rakyat is riding on a popular wave now. We are talking about millions of supporters in this country. Why not do a fund raising exercise. It costs PR nothing. Mobilise the active members of PKR, DAP and PAS. If the membership figures are true, this exercise will be easy.

Why a fund raising exercise? Politics is all about image and perception. PR going for a nationwide campaign to save an Indian village is going to score brownie points. It shows a government who is willing to go all out to help the rakyat. It also helps to shut HINDRAF up and maybe make them irrelevant - especially since HINDRAF seem so much UMNO infiltrated nowadays. It also tells the rakyat that the central government is so keen on punishing the rakyat for kicking BN out that the helpless rakyat now need to live on the charity of fellow Malaysians. This is a super-turbo-lightning shadow kick-upper cut power punch against BN.

How can the fund raising be done? Key will be the 4 PR controlled states as it will be easier to get permits. And sorry for saying this, but Selangor and Penang are the richer states anyway. PR can do house-to-house or road shows. PR can organise events, concerts and even dinners. Come on, we did all these back in school (to raise fund for school buildings etc.) as kids. I remember a year when we raised a million bucks for our school. And we were only kids. Budak-budak sekolah! A bunch of adults cannot organise the same and do better. Sell a brick for a ringgit. Organise dinners at no costs - donors pay say 25 ringgit for 10 ringgit food. No one is expecting shark's fin. Get Anwar to speak. Lim Kit Siang can sing My Way. These donors are not interested in seeing Rihanna sing Umbrella. There are a whole lot of things that can be done. How can PKR, DAP and PAS not be able to do this? Aren't political funds supposed to be raised from the public and corporates anyway. (Except for BN cause they take it from our pockets). Such exercises not only raise money, it brings the PR leaders to the rakyat. It wins the hearts of the people.

And what do we do with the money? The amount raised is not the issue. It is the image portrayed that is the point of the entire exercise. But the Kampung Buah Pala issue must be resolved nevertheless. If by miracle, enough money is raised, please don't pay it to the developer. By the time the exercise is in full force, the developer's project will already be seen as the biggest sin in Malaysia. Do not under-estimate the might of advertising; or negative advertising in this case. No Penangites with the right mind will buy the project. Malaysians are very concerned of how their friends and relatives view them. To buy the property when the rakyat have to fork out to save the village will be akin to labelling yourself a scumbag. Staying there will be even worse. Imagine - the most cursed housing estate in Penang. Buyers for investment purpose will not touch the project for fear of no secondary market. The developer can keep the land undeveloped for a long long time. I hope they take a big loan on the land too.

What about the present villagers? If the developer decides to abandon the project, well, problem solved. But if the developer wants to play hard ball, then well, lets build the Kampung Buah Pala folks some new houses - on an adjacent land or nearby. By being nearby, nobody's lifestyle should be affected adversely. The construction of the project will be borne by the fund raised.

We are talking about 45 families involved right? So, lets build 45 new low cost houses. On the average, low cost houses cost between RM40,000 and RM60,000. Lets take an average of RM50,000. The rule of thumb for construction is 40% land cost, 40% construction costs and 20% profit. For a low cost project, the profit margin may be 10% only. If the profit margin is any lower, then there are leakages as a result of corruption and/or inefficiencies. But leakages should not be expected of a PR project, especially 1 with so much publicity. The public can even compare a PR project vs a BN project. Oh make sure the building is of good quality too.

The Penang Government can be the developer who provides the land for free. Why not? Every piece of land in the country belongs to the rakyat anyway. PR being a corruption-free alternative that they preach to be, the cost of a unit of house should be approximately RM20,000 only (RM50,000 x 40%). Only construction costs; land is free, profit equals zero. Multiply that with 45 homes, you have a total cost of RM900,000. That's not a lot of money. My schoolmates and I raised more than that back in school.

What about roads and other infrastructures? This is a small development. The people have also been staying there for a while now. That should mean that there is already existing supply of water and electricity. Please don't shock me with news of otherwise. Roads. The developer has to build roads leading to their development right? Brilliant. The low cost development can simply tumpang the jalan and do extensions. How much will that cost? I mean at PR government prices, not BN government prices.

You don't need architects, quantity surveyor etc. The state government has them in house. If the Penang PR government do not want to manage the project, fine. Contact me. I'll arrange for developers to manage it. For all you know, for such a cost, many may want to even build the houses for free just to get into the good books of the state government. The state government can always pay these developers in lieu of other developments projects in the state or even other PR led states. But of course, all transactions at arms length. Welcome to the business world.

This is of course but a very simplified scenario. But it also shows that it is not very difficult. Maybe PR and Lim Guan Eng are politicians who are not exposed to the business world. * In the tough business world, you have to be creative to survive. Thinking out of the box is a necessity. Play the right game and you can convert your headache into a victory.

* PR does have a supposedly top grade businessman cum corporate leader in Khalid Ibrahim. But too bad, his character is flawed.

11 Response to "Lim Guan Eng Losing The Kg Buah Pala Battle Because He Is Not Thinking"

  1. amethyst213 Said,

    you sure had some grand ideas...too bad PR is bad in pr...

    but i do believe this idea works, much better than the DAP's nationalizing PLUS idea..


  2. Lee Wee Tak Said,

    simple and sensible ideas like this are very well come

    being a politician is either

    1) do not get paid well if you are in the opposition

    2) pays very well but it needs more than a technical and analytical professional mindset

    hence the best technical people usually are not professional politicians and professional politicians are not necessary the best technical people

    some very good technical people or not so good technical people, though, are great at office politics, not professional politics.

    it is about time Malaysia let technical people make the technical calls


  3. Feeling Fit Said,

    Old proverb says..behind every obstacle lies an opportunity!


  4. Your analysis has put it very simply. Is the problem that simple ? Then how is it that DAP can do nothing ? Are they useless ?

    Are you missing something or hiding something or worse , dunno something that you should know !

    Lets wait and see whether your solution is that simple


  5. Anonymous Said,


    Isu tanah nih susah nak buat. Satu the penduduk tak tahu or tak mahu buat geran sebelum ini. Kalau kg. Setinggan biasa diorang akan mintak jadikan tanah TOL or mencuba untuk mendaftarkan tanah atas hak mereka. Tapi mereka tidak berbuat apa apa? Katakanlah 150 tahun mereka duduk disitu, takkan satu kali pun tidak terlintas untuk memohon mendaftar kan tanah sebagai hak mereka? Come on la. Nak beli rumah pun kena mohon untuk tukar nama tuan tanah dari nama developer ke nama persendirian.

    Katakan pampasan RM 200K diterima. Diorang boleh beli tanah kat kawasan kulim. sure dapat satu ekar seorang. Perjalanan dari Kulim ke Penang tak der la sampai 1 jam. kalau minyak kereta mahal naik la motosikal. Diorang nih semua nak senang je. Rokok bleh hisap berkotak kotak. Kereta bleh beli. Nak memohon tanah tak nak buat lepas tuh bising satu malaysia.


  6. Chong Said,

    Your solution is simple but how many times you can do to raise funds for every land dispute. YB Lim Guan Eng will end up raising money for the rest of his life to settle every land dispute in Penang or the whole of Malaysia


  7. nckeat88 Said,

    The residents just SHEER GREEDY. As simple as that and we the taxpayer have to pay for the and acquisition. LGE is wrong, sometime a great leader have to make unpoplular decision.


  8. SaintGene Said,

    Bang, 1st of all, who do you think that responsible for this Kampung Buag Pala incident? How in the 1st place this problem happened? The ppl in the kampung adi lived there for years, and yet that person responsible can approved the land to be developed.

    As what we learned, we fix the problem by fixing the cause, not by patching the holes. Who got that money, who has to vomit the money out, simple as that.


  9. Lars Said,

    Mr. SPAnK,

    Does this mean we reward corruption?
    As I mentioned earlier, Penang paying compensation for Kg Buah Pala (even for low-cost housing) is a sin. Anyway, Kg Buah Pala residents talk about grazing their cows!! Come on man, are you sure they will accept low-cost housing?

    Everybody says they want to help, but no one thinks about the cost. If LGE has to help Buah Pala residents, what is the cost to Penang?

    - If compensation money is taken from funds to municipal councils resulting in dirtier Penang, could we accept it?
    - If compensation is taken from funds to build roads, or subsidize water treatment (meaning higher water bills) can we accept it?

    The RIGHT way to settle this is for Kg Buah Pala residents to sue Koh Tsu Koon for every red cent he has.

    The wording of their demands for LGE to solve the issue pisses me off really (and I'm not a DAP party member at all). They demand in a high-handed manner and claim they don't care that the present government is not at fault for the issue in the first place. If so, then it all seems like an attack piece.

    Why don't they demonstrate in front of Gerakan's office as its them who signed over the land (for a fishily low low price) in the first place?


  10. norhisham Said,

    Probably you might want to check back how much the land cost per sq ft. It is not about building 45 low cost houses, the developer could easily absorbed it. RM 1M is chicken feet nowadays (quoting Ng Yen Yen)! Land in Penang is scarse commodity. probably can go easily around RM200/sq ft? (or more) so for a 1500 sq ft plot the land cost alone is 300k!
    You might want to go to damansara perdana area there and check out the 'taman' re-settlement of the previous orang asli of Bukit Lanjan. The dudes in Buah Pala wants more than that! (and cost way than your 'naive' analysis)

    And this High Chapparal people is not looking for 200k alone. The old folks don't really care much of the money and are law abiding people that refuse to quarell with the authorities. Typical Penangites. It is somebody that 'cucuk' them! Their greedy hopeless kids maybe?

    If they fall under the 'kampung traditional' category, they must have the individual land title, as simple as that, even felda seetlers also have title for their residences plot!
    If they are established squatters (150 years is way before Merdeka dude, and the recorded migration of Chinese is in 1870s (130++ yrs ago), the Indian migration by the Brits is in early 1900s after the Getah revolution, where this 150 yrs came from?), they might have file for TOL, furthermore, the area is not estate, the real reason of original settlers from India.
    I'm not sure how far is this Kampong from the Little India district, (one of the nicest place in Penang)

    But, if it is a govt (people) land, then the decision is made by the people (Penang EXCO is elected PEOPLE), including selling it or leasing it or anything for some amount of money that should come back to the govt acct (and some political fund to the ruling party maybe) for the benefit of everybody. The people govt did revising and reversing the infamous 'crooked' bridge project and compensate the developer, the e-kesihatan project, and endless list of project. LGE administration also did issue Stop Work Order for the double track. Delaying the clearance legally could cost the developer quite a huge hole in their pocket!

    Something fishy la with this Buah Pala people. But I agree with you the PR govt in Penang not adapting the TOWS analysis (threats should be turn into oppoturnities instead!)and can I say not competent. Just recalled back how LGE make statement he can't open a bank account (the hardcore poor issue)


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