The state government has no plans to make Penang a second Bali despite calls by certain quarters to “divert” tourists to the island.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said there had been proposals by those who wanted to capitalise on the situation in Bali after the second bombing last year.
“I rejected the proposal because we do not want Penang to be second to anything. It is also wrong to capitalise on other people’s misfortune.”
Speaking at the launching the first phase of the Botanica.CT project here yesterday, Dr Koh said Balik Pulau is a real paradise and that it has a great potential in eco and agro-tourism development.
Acknowledging that Balik Pulau MP Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya had contributed a lot to the development of Balik Pulau, he said it was good that the natural ambience was not compromised for the sake of development.
On Botanica.CT, Dr Koh said the new “botanic city” was poised to be an exemplary green township complete with a health retreat and retirement resort.
It will also have a medical centre, commercial village, education institutions and housing schemes surrounded by gardens on the 120ha plot.
MTT Properties & Development Sdn Bhd executive chairman Datuk Dr Kenny Ong Kean Lee said the RM1bil Botanica.CT would be developed in 11 phases within 10 years.
“We are assembling a complete garden community lifestyle that offers a healthy environment with easy access to healthcare, education institutions, health retreat and commercial villages.
“When fully developed, we would have about 2,000 residential units,” he said, adding that a retirement resort and a supermarket would also be built in the area.