Johor MB slams Chow for ‘failed’ Forest City remarks
Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow had said the Penang South Islands project will not become like the megacity project that critics branded a ‘ghost town’.
PETALING JAYA: Johor menteri besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi has taken Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow to task for claiming that the Penang South Islands (PSI) project will not become the next Forest City.
Onn Hafiz said Chow’s remarks were “irresponsible, unnecessary and inappropriate” after Chow said on Friday that the project’s critics had been making false assertions that it would become like the failed luxury township in Johor.
“Unfortunately, the (Forest City) project faced a number of challenges, which were mainly external in nature and beyond the control of the developers,” New Straits Times quoted Onn Hafiz as saying.
“One of the main challenges was the unfavourable national policy ecosystem, with repeated policy reversals and flip-flops, especially at the federal government level.”
He said Forest City had been slated to be a major supporting feature for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, which was postponed and subsequently cancelled by Putrajaya.
Forest City has been branded a “ghost town” by news outlets as it has struggled to get foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals, to buy properties there.
In 2018, then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad caused an international stir when he announced that Malaysia would not allow foreigners to buy residential units built at the US$100 billion (RM426 billion) luxury township project.
However, he later made a U-turn and said foreigners could buy properties in Forest City, but the then Pakatan Harapan government would not issue them visas to make Malaysia their home.
Despite the partial retraction, several news outlets reported that the damage had already been done to Malaysia’s reputation in the eyes of Chinese investors.
Onn Hafiz said Mahathir’s announcement at the time did not help the township’s prospects, adding that the then government’s decision to also put the Malaysia My Second Home programme on hold further derailed the Forest City project.
“It seems that these policy changes were meant to thwart the success of the Forest City project, which was an innovative and far-sighted development that would bring enormous benefits to the country as a whole,” he said. MKINI
Loke: State election first, then we will talk about new Penang CM
MUAR: Any discussion on a change of chief minister in Penang will only take place after this year’s state election.
DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke said, until then, the party would continue supporting the current chief minister, Chow Kon Yeow.
“The Penang legislative assembly has yet to be dissolved, so the state government is functioning as per usual. DAP still supports Kon Yeow’s continued leadership,” he told reporters after opening the Johor DAP Convention.
Present were party veteran Lim Kit Siang, Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong and his deputy and vice chairmen, Teo Nie Ching and Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali.
Recently, a news portal had claimed that there has been pressure for Chow to be dropped as chief minister after the state election for not performing up to standards.
The same report also claimed that DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng could possibly return as chief minister, a post he held for two terms previously.
However, two days ago, it was reported that anyone who has served for two terms as chief minister could not return due to an amendment to the state constitution that limits the number of terms one can hold the position.
Chow was quoted as saying that the chief minister has to be appointed from among those who had not at any time held the position for two terms.
“The law is clear and it binds not just me in the future, but anyone who has served two terms at any point in time… there is no need to refer to anything other than the language of the amendment in determining this matter,” he had said. NST
MKINI / NST