Thursday, November 27, 2008

Move to Safeguard Penang's World Heritage Status

A meeting will be held next week between the state Heritage Steering Committee and developers of four proposed high-rise hotels in the heritage enclave. The meeting will look into measures to prevent the city from losing its listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

This is a correct move. The state government and the four developers should work out a compromise to ensure the interest of more than 2 million people in Penang is protected.

The Plot:

Two of the hotel projects, AGB's Rice Miller boutique hotel in Weld Quay and the Boustead Royale Bintang Hotel, behind the General Post Office in Lebuh Downing, are in the heritage core zone.

The other two are E&O Hotel's 16-storey block and Low Yat Group's 23-storey development in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Both of them are in the buffer zone.

Political Blame Game:

The Former chairman of the preparatory committee for the listing, Teng Chang Yeow, had said that the Rice Miller boutique hotel, Bousted Royal Bintang Hotel and E&O Hotel's extension were approved with Unesco's knowledge.

On Monday, state Gerakan chairman Teng Hock Nan took a swipe at the state government for approving Low Yat Group's project. He had said the approval, which was given shortly before the Unesco listing, could jeopardise the heritage listing.

Teng Hock Nan should take a hint from his own ineptness for allowing MPSP's financial situation to deteriorate since 2001 before appointing an auditor to conduct a check on late 2007.

Teng Hock Nan should note that this is not the time for political blame game and finger pointing. His party was involved in 3 of the 4 projects. Gerakan should drop partisanship and assist in the negotiation with the four developers.

I propose the inclusion of Teng Chang Yeow in the discussion to help build a consensus on how to prevent Penang's WHS from being jeopardized.

It makes more commercial sense for these developers to ensure Penang keeps its WHS. The state government must act swiftly to stop unscrupulous forces from turning this issue into a political one.

Read my views here.


Anonymous said...

gerakan is like a bad story book...even my kids get nightmares reading them..and like all bad books, they should be burned and buried..

Anonymous said...

Gosh, after all things being said about the LGE and his Penang lieutenants.

To include Teng Chang Yeow in the decision making, reminds me of this latin phrase

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis

I believe smart people like you would understand the phrase


Khoo Kay Peng said...

A smart person like you too should be able to understand why Teng Chang Yeow should be included.

Khoo Kay Peng said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
romerz said...

Dear Mr Khoo,

What happened to individual rights? Even if the land owners who (which is a bad word by those who champions the rights of ordinary Malaysians) are real selfish bastards only looking out for their own interests, they have rights too.

Like the special rights of Malays under article 153, which is not the same as ketuanan shit, I have no problems with it and will 'move' to safeguard it.

Now can I ask the same of you of your 'defend the heritage status' without asking those most affected by it?

Where is the justice which you and all the activists so frequently use when advocating for a just Malaysia?

Who appointed you and the PHT to speak on the stakeholders behalf? Definitely not by any democratic means if my memory serves me well.

Much like most everything in this country, selfish interests at play and the worst part is the ability to beguile the ordinary Malaysians with fancy words knowing full well that they don't know any better and only believe those who are considered 'learned'.

IMHO, those who would talk about heritage in George Town today without a practical solution are no more different than the taliban.

"Screw ordinary Malaysians who are affected most. Trust us since we are the clever ones and we act in your interests, we are your custodians."

My gripe is that when these 'intellectuals' needs the backing of the common masses, they say nice things and appeal to our common sense.

And when it does not, out goes the common sense and in comes the brand of "I know better" stuff so don't worry!

Hypocrisy of the highest degree!

I want to preserve Penang with all its uniqueness but offer me a practical solution rather than ramming it down my throat with the cry for conservation! Please tell me how in a practical and workable way.

By the way KKP, you are part of the Penang heritage steering committee and I wonder if you have read the 190+ application form pages for heritage listing and are you aware of the beat of the pulse of those affected or are you only aware of your own pulse?

Come on man, you are considered the more intellectual of society and if you can't be fair, what hope do we have from those UMNO goons?

Anonymous said...

Lobby for Teng to join PKR instead. I think his values are more appreciated in a group that really promotes diversity and care.

Khoo Kay Peng said...


Before you start pulling out your hair and shout "there is no solution", you should at least call me to find out what I have in mind.

Penang should not go the way of high rise metropolis to compete with HK or Singapore. We will not reach there in 100 yrs.

We have our own uniqueness. Build all you want. Who said these hotels can't build? Why not abide by the quidelines? The state should offer some carrots for compliance.

Rights..yeah is a dirty word. But I do respect rights. But I also appreciate coordinated development. Looking at your good friend, Koh Tsu Koon, who allowed many high rises along the beaches should give u a sense of what is it going to be like if many such buildings keep sprouting out in inner georgetown.

Thanks for saying that I am an intelletual. I do think before I speak. You should call to hear out my thoughts.

romerz said...

Dear Mr Khoo,

Shouldn't the onus be on those wishing for heritage status to have consulted those affected most first before the application was made?

Shouldn't whatever plans you have, been laid out then to those affected so that they can make informed inputs?

Then shouldn't the decision to apply or not apply for listing be made through a referendum by those affected?

My gripe is that until recently, many amongst those affected most didn't know what this listing meant.

Suddenly now it is made out as if those affected most are the bad guys who are going to cause Penang to lose this listing.

By the way the sarcasm did not go unnoticed. :-)

Penang Boy said...

Dear Mr. Khoo,

what do you think about Gerakan Youth Chief Lim Si Pin?

I just read about his statement on Mukhriz.
Do u think he can lead Penang in the future?