Pemikir says no to foreign workers dormitory in Teluk Kumbar

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 29: The Penang Malay Think-Tank Organisation (Pemikir) has urged the Penang state government to cancel the proposed construction of a dormitory for foreign workers in Teluk Kumbar because of fears that it will cause various problems to the local community.

Its chairman Datuk Dr Muhamad Farid Saad said if approved, the project would be a cultural shock to the local community as the overwhelming presence of foreigners will disorientate the harmony of its daily life.

He said the new hostel would also cause traffic congestion in both directions from Teluk Kumbar to Bayan Lepas, especially at peak hours, as well as causing social problems and hygiene issues.

“This project involves three areas, namely Bandar Baru Perda Teluk Kumbar, Bagan Teluk Kumbar and Sungai Batu, and if implemented, a total of 35,000 foreign workers will be placed in the three areas, with expectations that each location will accommodate more than 10,000 workers.

“This is a very high density because the foreign workers who will live in these areas are seen to outnumber the existing local populace,” he said in a statement.

He said the Malay think-tank believes that if a transparent Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is carried out, it will definitely conclude that the area is not suitable for building a workers’ dormitory.

“Pemikir agrees that an area should be set aside to accommodate foreigners to facilitate surveillance, but it should be in a (new) location close to their workplace.

“Building in Telok Kumbar and Sungai Batu is not the right choice, therefore Pemikir fully supports the strong objections by the Bayan Lepas assemblyman (DUN) who is now Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly (DUN), Datuk Azrul Mahathir Aziz, and the local residents who persistently object to the proposal to build three foreign worker hostels in Teluk Kumbar by the Penang government,” he said.

Media previously reported that the chairman of the State Local Government and Town and Country Planning Committee, Jason H’ng Mooi Lye, said the state government has yet to finalise plans to build a dormitory for foreign workers in Teluk Kumbar.

This is because the Planning Permission Application (PKM) submitted by the developer on June 27 is still under consideration even though the project has been approved by the State Planning Committee.