The topic of Penang’s middle bank is up for discussion. There are no fire without smoke and even though there has been no official plans from the state government on whether to allow reclamation on the middle bank, I think would it would be one of the options for the funding of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Read here about PTMP: Penang: Got reclaim or no reclaim? According to many environmentalists, the middle bank consists of a large patch of rare seagrass and thus must be preserved at all costs. While I agree that this large patch of seagrass should be preserved, I am not so sure about where the money would come from. Does it mean that as long as nothing happens to that large patch of seagrass, then everything is settled? What about an advanced research on this rare seagrass and how we can preserve or re-create it in more places within Penang or even Malaysia? If an advanced research is needed, then who would bear the costs? The non-governmental organisations which are shouting for the preservation?
Coming back to UNESCO Heritage City status. What’s the reason that Malaysia applied for the status? Is it not because we wanted to have fundings from UNESCO for the continuous preservation? At the same time of course, with this UNESCO Heritage city status, the state government can then continue to enhance this through sustainable development. All these boils down to money and responsibility. Without money, how to take appropriate actions? How to be responsible? Spiderman’s famous line goes like this, ‘With great powers, comes great responsibility.’ Truth is, without great powers, how could he be responsible to save the city from evil masterminds?
In this case, should the NGOs and the state government not work together to ensure not just the preservation of the large patch of seagrass but also the continuous development of Penang which will likely benefit more Penangites compared to doing nothing at all? Truth is, with enough funds, more can be done beyond just the preservation of that patch of seagrass. What about using the funds to improve the livelihood of those affected? What about other sensitive ecosystems elsewhere in Penang and not just the middle bank?
I prefer sustainable DEVELOPMENT. Without any useful developments, nothing happens. How can no development be the best development? Without development, there would be no funds. Without funds, it is impossible to ensure sustainable development. Let us keep this in our mind. Sustainability is all about money and responsibility.
witten on 14 Oct 2015
Next suggested article: An answer for Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) LRT by end 2015