I read an interesting article here: Gangster Contractor, and wonder if those of you who are living on Penang Island have experienced the same thing:

The process goes like this: The developer who is either most probably involved in such activities or has come to an agreement with local gangs for not causing trouble within their given area, fails to inform potential buyers that they will have to deal with these gangsters for the renovation work.

The gangsters will then set up tables at every elevator entrance to monitor who goes up and down when OC is obtained. They provide sand and tiles and one even has to get cooking gas from them. They will set up a show unit and charge exorbitant fees for their renovation projects and should you decide to take from them, you will not have to pay any renovation deposit.

They will indirectly extort money from the residents by blocking any other contractors from carrying out their work. The contractors will eventually request this payment from the owner or include it into the bill.

It looks like a syndicated extortion bid of the highest order.

These gangsters make an average of RM500 to RM1,000 per unit if we just decide to pay the extortion fees. They will make more if we decide to engage them to do the renovation project. They will not move out until at least 90% of the residents have moved in. Just do the math how much they will make if there are 500 units.

I hope the new Penang MPs will be looking into this soon.


34 responses »

  1. el teh says:

    My Dear Susan,

    This kind of things is not only happening in Penang. It is happening here in KL itself. I know. I used to work in the property line!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Jed Yoong says:


    It’s not surprising. But this is the first that I’ve heard of it.
    Maybe the biggest “gangsters” are those Barisan fellas who just “conquer” empty state land by putting up UMNO flags like in Selangor last year….

  3. AnakPenang says:

    This is nothing compared to the Grandfather of All Mafias in Malaysia…BN. Logging Scandals, Sex Scandals, Submarine/Eurocopter Scandals , numerous unresolved murders ala Mafia style and a whole long lists….

  4. ong says:

    Go to Penang Watch under category `Regency Ht blog’ you can find a good sample of the antics of such gangsters! Wonder where is the PR government on this?

  5. kittykat46 says:

    Its well known that certain “black” areas in Penang are captive markets for contractors who have underworld connections. Any other sub-contractor taking up jobs in their “territory” could face a lot of trouble or worse.
    Most home owners just bear with it because they intend to live there for the long term, and don’t want any trouble

    I suppose you could make a police report against the culprits, but who has confidence in the police these days ? Some policemen are even in cahoots with the Underworld elements.

  6. Dear Susan only gangster can solve so many problem not politic and police all wasted.. Politic running with gangster .. Not in penang only every stated same issue don’t comment penang ….Some policeman also involved in gangster… they big gangster in malaysia…..

  7. deekay says:

    This is not something new. Heard this from friends who have purchase new houses last couple years in the Royal Town of Selangor that this gangsters will force you to take up their renovation service and if you do not, they will cause trouble for your contractor or stop them from coming to the housing area.

  8. Anton says:

    Dear Susan, It’s happening everywhere. Here in Klang too especially th new Bkt Tinggi and Bandar Botanic area. My mute cousin, a painter, was beaten up for innocently doing a small paintjob.

    The gangster here is a big-timer, known as “Babi Kia”. Word has it that he is “brudder” of our blue-man in the highest echelon.

    So, what say u?

  9. Foong says:

    This has been going on for years already and the worse part is that even those in the low medium costs gets charged exhorbitant fees by these gangsters and there’s nothing they can do. Complaints to the former state government has fallen on deaf ears, I don’t know about this new one though.

  10. Crash says:


    so shocking that this is still a surprise to many….

    this is like common procedures you have to face when you are buying some lower range type of flat/apts. Everyone in pg knows about this. it has been a pg lifestyle that most middle to lower range buyer would expect something like this.


  11. tshock says:

    this is problem that is a open secret. the enforcement division appears to be afraid of them and dare not touch them. on the other hand the reason they are not doing anything maybe because these enforcers’ hands are already “greased”. we also have another “business” throughout malaysia that is openly and blatantly defying the authorities with open advertisements anywhere and everywhere. look around you and you will 101% see their advertisements. their telephone numbers are available and yet nothing, nothing at all seems to have been done to curtail their activities. why oh why is nothing being done here? i am talking about the “alongs”. theirs is really a multi million business with fleets of cars, well organize “distributors”, global network who takes care of their staff with big fat ang pows every year. i understand from someone that these people have now expanded overseas. i am given to understand that some authorities in blue are connected to these people as well. is there anyone out there who can do something about this? sigh……this is malaysia.. sigh…..

  12. danet7882 says:

    dear sloone.. this is our malaysian culture.. even the royalty oso act like gangster.. POLICE? it’s not in Malaysia’s system oredi.. TAK BOLEH PAKAI.
    MONEY RULES… common people like me are suffering.. In Malaysia inorder to survive u must be either in BN, POLICE , GANGSTER OR ROYALTY..

  13. Greg says:

    Yes. They setup a table in front of the lifts. Choose either
    (1) Let them do the renovation.
    (2) Pay a fee to bring the stuff up the lifts each time.

  14. wits0 says:

    It is clear that the MSM is intentionally keeping us all ignorant on such everyday happenings. It would only broadcasts those “good news” which benefit the big boys entrepreneurs , not the essential data and information on the serious slide to decadence which is silently allowed to befall the individuals in a corrupt society. There is no solution because there is no awareness and no official will to address the prevailing rot. Things can only get worse.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gangster will be gangster. Many old gangsters try to become legitimate businessmen. Some time they use the legitimate business to launder their ill-gotten gain. Some of the legitimate business that these gangsters like to be involved in are the construction/renovation, car body shop(+ towing service) and more recently swiftlet home. This is not to say that all of such businesses are run by thugs.

    You have to admit that their pursuasive technique, while not too subtle, does work.

  16. uncle james says:

    dear susan , you are way outdated….it’s has been happening for donkey years in ALL the new housing & apartment projects in kuala lumpur.

    I was adamant about NOT paying, and they gave me hell ! Anyway , i also have my ” friends ” , and after i use my ” connections ‘ , they reluctantly ” allowed ” me to do my new house renovations ‘free-of-charge ‘, kononnya…hahaha

  17. […] Gangster contractors in Penang? I read an interesting article here: Gangster Contractor, and wonder if those of you who are living on Penang Island […] […]

  18. Mulut Emas says:

    My friend work in property line told me that this is norm in Penang. I was the victim too but what could I do ? Who really can help, especially during the tenure of office of Gerakan government. Hopefully DAP government will make a difference. Anyway, I would rather say that “I hope so”. In Bolehland, Rakyat has to pray for the safety in every aspect. Penang people say : “eat ownself’ lor.

  19. yh says:

    yup, its happening in Klang Valey too. my friiend is engaged in renovation business and he told me he needs consent from the taiko who was given the “rights” of the condo project by the developer to do renovation works for the owner. it means higher cost to the owner as he needs to cover the taiko.

  20. chuaeddy says:

    Have anyone reported these cases to the police?

  21. dorky says:

    Hahaha..Its is interesting to see some of the comments written. Whenever something nasty, somehow comentors will find ways to relate to BN specifically UMNO.

    Let’s concerntrate on the real issue written by Writer, shall we?

  22. Joe Tee says:

    Who to be blame? Developer obviously. The developer are the one allow them to set up table and chairs there. If developer don’t allow them, what can they do? Don’t tell me the developer are scare of them.

  23. marbl3s says:

    These lines were drawn and even if police reports were made, very little has been done.

    Take for example of my friend’s experience with one contractor.

    This contractor was in-charge by one of the local gangs in that area and the price they quoted for a minor renovation of the kitchen + installing the kitchen cabinets cost easily RM30k which is extremely expensive.

    So my friend decided to seek for an alternative contractor to quote and managed to get one that quoted RM11k which does the similar job.

    Here comes the juicy part. After my friend decided to choose the alternate supplier, the contractor in-charge of that area harassed my friend saying that IF they want to select another contractor, they must give “red packet” to them since this is their territory. If this red packet is not given, he will assure my friend that the other contractor will not be able to do their job here.

    Of course my friend did make a police report but the harassment continued.

    Personally, i do feel that the police are getting some cut out of such activities.

    The issue was resolved eventually but not by the help of police and neither did my friend paid that in-charge contractor 30k. So go figure…

  24. ANg Kong says:

    in time, police will announce tht ‘we hav carried out an extensive investigation and found no truth in such accusation.’

    case close.

    what do u guys want? even the po-lice are scared of the gangsters.

  25. ANg Kong says:

    in near future, we all need taiko’s permission to shit!

  26. wongwengchee says:

    the only to get rid or minimise this menace is to have units that requires the minimal renovations or developers built condos after studying the needs and taste of house buyers and thus do not requires any further works.

  27. Stefanos says:

    Penang businesses are run by the Penang Mafia

  28. storm62 says:

    bumi contractors whether it’s class F or Class A have all Government backings or controlled by UMNO and it’s cronies. Most govt. tenders are specifically reserved for bumiputras only. so a non-bumi contractor have to explore other areas to survive, what choice do they have?

    so, non-bumi contractors will have no choice but to engage traids or tai kors to protect them for certain housing schemes. this have been happening since the 80’s during Dr.M’s time. it’s happening all over the country not only in Penang.

    at least they are protecting the safety of the residents of their area from damaging cars and other properties, snatch theives and so on. i know of some old timer gangsters who are now managing some apartments and condos and a are now property managements business in Malaysia.

    lastly, you don’t have to worry of abundant projects from these contractors, have you?

  29. Kohkoh says:

    Who else is the culprit? One, I suspect the developer are in collaboration with the gangster. Two, the developer are allowing them to set up tables and chairs under tremendous threat by the gangster. I wonder you guys have seen these people sitting there, watching and screening new house buyers coming in an out of the apartment. They are actually targetting buyers and cleverly enough, they even know which house unit you bought. All in all, it’s the developer’s fault. Why can’t they make a police report? Come to think of it, what can the police do?

  30. Excavator says:

    Say all what you want and the problem remain unsolved. Not only do you find this sort of incident happening in the low and medium cost apartment but also in the more luxurious condo along Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. Check it out MULUT EMAS.
    Best solution is to torch those gangsters in charge of the property and see whether it is a norm to practice.

  31. Mahkota says:

    These things are nothing new. Its rampant here in Klang too.
    You can’t really blame the developers. The developers have to “take care” of these local gangsters too when the constructions are being done or the project is at risk of being sabotaged. This will cost money and cost more money when the project gets delayed. Police reports will not do any good since these local gangsters are already being “protected” by them. And once the development is complete, they will continue to harass the buyers.
    BTW, who in Klang wouldn’t know “Babi Kia”. The only ones who pretend not to know is the men in blue.

  32. Polisman says:

    my neighbour just told me 3 days ago when his 2 bangala worker who are with valid working permit was stop by the polis. The polis demand for 700 each for the release if not they have the right to detain them for 14days even they have a permit to work in Malaysia. There were dozen of bangala who was stop at one corner and another bunch of them was ask to call their employer by the polis. Wonder they are polis or a licence robbery?????

  33. fuckinglikeit says:

    Yes, I was also told by people in the Chulia Street area. Many saw it but none could do anything, knowing these bunch of licenced robber. They are so brave to do it openly and in bright daylight. What is happening to our country?

    If I were the employers of these poor bangla souls I will definitely find ways and means to discredit the authority. Furthermore, I will not hand over RM700.00 to the police. Does our government know about the going-ons or are they not bothered?

  34. potfire says:

    Yes, I was told by many people who witnessed the incident in the Chulia Street area. The bunch of policemen were licenced robbers, robbing in bright daylight as if nothing happened. The bangla workers were held up and the employers were told to pay RM700.00 each for each worker, failing which the police have the right to detain them for up to 14 days. Employers who have the permit paid up because they could not afford interruption of work which means loss of income.

    If I were them, I will surely seek alternatives e.g. website where one can pose up their relevant permit and relate the stale incident to the whole world.

    What has actually become of our country? Nothing good we hear about these days.

    Afterall, who to blame in this country? Not difficult to guess, you know?

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