Thursday, September 13, 2007

Penang Global City Centre - Good or Bad?

The RM25bil Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) masterplan, covering 104ha at site of the Penang Turf Club, was unveiled yesterday by PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The project will comprise, among others, hotels, condominiums, commercial centres and a central park. The Prime Minister, a Penang boy, said this would be a “meaningful” project to the state and country.

What they say?

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi:

“As Prime Minister, I know that it will contribute significantly to the national economy,” Abdullah said.
“While Kuala Lumpur has its KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre), Penang will have its very own PGCC. Both make me proud. “PGCC is a high-impact project to complement the Northern Corridor Economic Region. I know Penang will do well,” he said when unveiling the masterplan at a hotel here.

"I hope the rest of the approvals will be given quickly by the Penang government," he said, adding that Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should also ensure the successful implementation of the project.

Penang Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon:

Koh said the PGCC was a long-awaited project which would fulfil what Penang people had always been looking for. "The people in Penang have been envious of iconic landmarks like the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) for the past 10 years. "Now we are getting similar world-class icons through the PGCC," he said, expressing confidence that the PGCC would eventually end up better and more beautiful than KLCC.

He also assured people that the state government would see to it that the PGCC was developed in an environment-friendly and socially acceptable way while taking into consideration the smooth traffic dispersal on roads leading up to the project site.

Anil Netto (social activist):

I don't know about you, but it looks like a soulless alien colony to me - as if a mothership from a distant galaxy has docked on the Turf Club land!

Vast parks? Do you see vast parks (see image below)? Looks like the only "vast parks" are those narrow strips of green between rows of building complexes. The 10 hectare one-kilometre- long narrow "Central Park" is just a little bit wider. Even the "Central Park" will be full of "development" worth RM40 million: "playground, fitness stations, multipurpose outdoor courts, jogging path, children wading pools, garden pavilions and an amphitheatre. " So what is the actual green space left?

Nasrine Seraji (architect of PGCC):

The client wanted a density that was twice the density of Hong Kong. We convinced him that he needed to come down in density, that nobody would ever want to live there.

The environment is a big issue. You're talking about huge amounts of car exhaust. Everyone has cars. Petrol is cheap.

The developer only wants luxury housing. We say you can't just have luxury housing because then it becomes a gated community.You need to also have social housing. These are the negotiations that take place in order to allow integration of different income levels of society. So the developer only wants luxury housing, presumably because such housing has fatter proft margins.

But then, there is a quota requirement for developers to build low and low-medium cost housing in such upmarket projects. In this case, apart from the 7,000 upmarket homes at the Turf Club site, the developers would be required to build a further 1,300 homes for the lower-income group.

What do you say? Is Dr Koh right about Penang people's aspiration to have something like KLCC on the island? Will you and I be able to afford owning a property there? Will it be good for the state's overall economy?

I would like to hear your views.


Anonymous said...

Another mega construction project?

Where are the brains?
The intellectuals?
The labs?
Goods & Services being produced which can sold to the world?

Just another rip-off cost over-run project courtesy of the BN administration

jimberlykyy said...

Hmm.... I wonder who will be end beneficiaries from this PGCC project? All along, I thought Penang bridge is the well recognized landmark??

Khoo Kay Peng said...

It is quite obvious who will be the beneficiaries. Not you, not me, unless you have RM2 million or more to spare. Otherwise, these properties are only affordable to foreign REIT funds.

Penang folks need more affordable housing and not being pushed out of the island. Soon, Penang island will be an isolated island. Plenty of high class properties but most of them owned by foreigners.

Yes, we need more SMEs, a vibrant local economy, more factories, more jobs, more tourists....

Ahmad said...

I am suprised a self proclaimed analyst like you cannot wait to get all the answers the Penang Global City Centre developers have before making a judgement of it, very ungentlemanly of you. How do you know sme's won't hyave a role in the development, how do u know the project wont draw more tourist. How do you know the PGCC wont help create a more vibrant local economy.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Ahmad,

You are ungentlemanly yourself. I am asking you back, how do you know that the SMEs will benefit from it? How do you know that the PGCC will attract tourists? Which ass tourists would want to come and look at high rises? A tiny place twice the density of HK?

Put your comments and views here but please stop from getting personal.

Khoo Kay Peng said...


Are you a resident of the surrounding area? Are you aware of the daily traffic congestion these people have to go through? Do you realise that no plans have been made public regarding traffic planning, environmental protection etc.

Anyway, you are probably not even a Penangite but a man who is set to make big bucks from the project.

So, what do you care? Nothing.

Ahmad said...

Wah !!! so fast can lose cool one ah :) How do you know I am not a Penangite, I was born and brought up in the Saint Joseph's orphanage in penang Road, so I am definately not a rich kid like yourself. Don't get so angry, a think tank person like yourself for Gerakan should have gone for the open discussion called by the developer and asked him the relevant questions directly, not hide in some blog and throw stones :)

Jazebelle S.K said...

As far as I know, in such a big project there will be a lot of contractors involve. They can't be only 10 or 20 class A contractors.There are a lot!!

Which means, we just can't see roughly who will benefit from the project implementation.

And I can imagine, from this mega project there will be a lot of opportunities to everyone after it open. Penangite should not be selfish. Outsiders also would like to grab these opportunities not just wait and complaining or comdemning.

If you can't imagine, just wait and see. I don't wait to complain about green or traffic. They have well planned about it.

All I have to do is to plan and save my money so that I can invest in soon. I've got so much time to do it.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Ahmad,

On the contrary, I did not hide. My picture and identity is published on my blog. I did not lose my cool either with someone like you because it is not going to change the status of the project.

Typical, you jumped in making another conclusion that I am a rich kid without even knowing who I am, just like you made the conclusion about the PGCC.

It does not matter where you were brought up. Not relevant at all here.

It is the responsiblity of the developer to reveal all details about the project, including the location of the 30-odd towers and how traffic can be managed to ensure there is not congestion, no disastrous environmental impact etc.

Please stay on the topic and avoid getting personal with your comments.

Khoo Kay Peng said...


your advice is precisely what the developer would like to tell Penangites. the project will be good for you etc etc.

in penang, we do not lack such developments but what happened to them? the heart of georgetown including komtar, once a proud monument of penang, is decaying. a number of other shopping complexes are facing the same fate.

local businesses are facing escalating business costs especially cost of rental. as a result, profit margin is dwindling. a project such as the PGCC is catered for higher end market and is beyond the reach of many small and medium businesses.

your perception of benefits is only limited to certain group of people. penang's most important sectors are manufacturing, services and tourism. how does the pgcc helps these sectors?

you are sure that the developer would have planned for the traffic management and environmental protection? you must have access to information that most of us don't.

if you are a psychic, then you should try your luck/fortune telling at 4D and lottery. it will make you enough money quickly to buy your dream unit at the pgcc.

please save me from your "I Know All' attitude.

Show me the plans. If you are a honcho of the developer, ask them to provide us with the details.

Anonymous said...

I'm not horse, so i haven't enjoyed that "green lung" before. For me, I would choose to sip coffee at the central park, rather then let those horses using the race track now.
If you look at klcc now, do you really still think and feel that you would prefer the turf club to be there ??

Ahmad said...

Dear kay peng,

finally you know what it feels like to be labeled and branded something you are not. Remember how you made assumptions and accused me of not being a Penangite, how you assumed and accused me of being a rich businessman of making money from the PGCC. I hope in future you will refrain from doing and saying what you do not want others to do to you. as they say the knife cuts both ways.

best regards

Khoo Kay Peng said...


You know who started the labeling and name calling - 'self-proclaimed analyst, ungentlemanly'. My post here asked for opinions and comments.

Who you are is not important to me and I care the least of what you said about me.

The issue here is about PGCC. I have met many cybertroopers who behaved like yourself.

Stay on the topic or do not come to this blog. If you want to get personal, let me know. I will gladly accept you invitation.

Anonymous said...

"How do you know that the PGCC will attract tourists? Which ass tourists would want to come and look at high rises? A tiny place twice the density of HK?"-Khoo

Please be 'SEDAR' Mr Khoo.You are local so you might not interested. Google PGCC. Most international websites amazed about it. Someday their 'ass' will come here to check it out. PGCC will be a centrepoint of Malaysia which is of course bigger than HK. which means is not all about's Malaysia.

Most old people don't like high rise. They don't want urban because they want to get retire rich and fatten their ass in their resort home. while other small earn people need urban and need job.

And hey, HK and Singapore are example of urbanism and there are more popular and attracted more tourist than Malaysia.

I don't see you answering mr ahmad and jazebelle. you just copy their comments and ask them back. like your posting, you copied anilnetto's.

then you accused people out of topic. don't act cool as 'I know it all' too.answer and prove it. so, now will you accuse me out of topic too?

Khoo Kay Peng said... both Ahmad and Jazebelle, you prefer to call me name than to debate the issue.

This is precisely my point. Why build something that the locals cannot enjoy or benefit from it? Yes, the foreigners are amazed and waiting to pounce on the RM2 million super condos with the more superior currency. Hongkies will love it too when a similar unit in their country probably cost more than 10 times the price here. Wonderful..we are helping them to realise their wildest dream of owing a super condo. What about the locals? Yes, locals like me whom cannot afford to pay such a price and will be made to suffer from the congestion, pollution and high density?

What you said about the old folks is a smack of arrogance and disrespect. In Malaysia, more than 60% of retired persons used up their savings in less than 5 years. Many of them have formed a new class of urban poor.

HK and Singapore are model urban cities. They are what they are today because of specific reasons that Penang is not facing. First, high ratio of residents to land space. Hence, the city states are planned in such manner. I am sure you are not ignorant to these realities. Are you 'SEDAR' yourself?

What they have and we don't is a good urban planning which includes a good public transport system, pedestrian walkways etc.

I do not have to answer people who called me names like yourself. Prove it? It will be proven. What a blogger like me can do to stop the project. I hope you will still be around in the next 18 years to witness the mess.

Oh ya, in the mean time I am sure you will continue to earn good money from your paymaster to speak good about the project which has not even been approved!

Anonymous said...

Theres pros and cons regarding to this topic here. Everyone of us are pushing towards a better quality of life, the implementation of PGCC is just another way to improve the living standard of all Penang folks. Some may benefits directly, but some may not. So, as a whole, the whole economy of Malaysia will benefit.

How I wish there will be a signature landmark for the State of Johor. :)
Anyways, nice blog:)

Bow said...

Mr Khoo;
This mega project probably going to be another white elephant, instead of undertaken by TDM, this time is AAB.Many of the plan details are unknown and classified, unless new state governmnet can make the information public, majority of us will be kept in the dark, just look at the amount-----25 billion,oppp!! the corrupt power is going after a real big one this time on Penangites.

Probably those are Umno cyber-troopers carry out the attack for the master, mr khoo. Btw, the corrupt power is not interested in project benefiting the "rakyat" except themselves n cronies.

Bow said...

Bodowi n his crony are reaping the benefit, no question about it...25 billions , Oppp!! Even TDM can not reach that amount with many of his white elephant project. mr khoo,why you think information regarding this project is classified, the reason is quite clear to everyone.

Bow said...

This project has been carry out under the public radar, no one except high ranking government officials know the details of the whole blue print.I am afraid the after effect of this high impact n density project is going to cost Penangites dearly especially in term of geological perpective if it is allowed to move on without transparency