DAP calls on Penang Chief Minister , Dr.Koh Tsu Koon to establish a Public Inquiry into the scandalous demolition of Hotel Metropole and the MPPP’s role – whether of omission or commission

By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Penang on Thursday , 6th January 1994;

DAP calls on Penang Chief Minister , Dr.Koh Tsu Koon to establish a Public Inquiry into the scandalous demolition of Hotel Metropole and the MPPP’s role – whether of omission or commission

In the past few days, I had told a few DAP State Assemblymen , including Sdr. Taoh Tik Huar, Sdr. Chow Kon Yoew, Sdr. K. Balasundram and Sdr. Tan Loo Jit of my prediction that when Datuk Tan Gim Hwa breaks his prolonged silence on the outrageous and scandalous demolition of Hotel Metropole – or ‘ Hotel Gerakan’ as it is know in the last two decades – the MPPP President would claim that the knew nothing about the demolition.

My forecast have been proved right with the statement by Tan Gim Hwa yesterday that both he and the MPPP had nothing to do with the demolition of Hotel Metropole – that it was in fact carried out by the new order , Dolphin Square Sdn . Bhd.

Tan Gim Hwa also said that Hotel Metropole had been sold by Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd to Dolphin sdn. Bhd amd this transfer had been registered in the Land Office on 4th December 1993.

I am aware of these particulars, as the DAP Assemblymen for Ayer Iram, Sdr, Ong Hock Aun, did a search of Hotel Metropole(Lot 1064) in Penang Land Office on Monday.

From the Land Office records, the 70,839 sq.ft lot property transferres to Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd of 60 Panagkalan Weld 10300 Penang on 4th December for RM 9.5 million.

The Land Office also has the following particulars:

“Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd buat satu kaveat pada 11 hb June 1993. Kaveat Jilid 342 Folio 29 ada butirnya.

“Soong Siew Hoong and Lim Kheng Guan adalah pengarah sharikat yang menandatangi bagi pihak Metropole.

“ Dophlin Square Sdn. Bhd. Kena bayar RM 354,000 bayaran Duti di bawah butiran 32(A) Jadual pertama Akta Setem 1949.

“peguam yang terlibat :

Ghazai & Lim alamat 10, 1st Floor , Bishop Street , Pulau Pinang.

Lim Boo Chang peguam membuat urusan pinjaman dengan Ban Hin Lee Bank sebelum tanah tersebut dijual ke dolphin Square Sdn. Bh.”

I have also caused a search to be made on Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd in the Registry of Companies in Kuala Lumpur two days ago which revealed that this is a RM2 shell company incorporated on 30th June 1992 as an ‘ investment holding company’. Although this company has an authorised capital of RM 25,000, its paid up capital is only RM2.

The two director cum one-ringgit shareholders are:

Ang Lay Hwa (F) I/C 525267 , company director, of No.385 Dato Kramat Raod, 10150 Penang

Tang Khoo Lean (F) I/C 4408292 , company director,of No. 1-T , Jalan Delima , Island Glades , 11700, Gelugor , Penang.

Tan Gim Hwa claims that he does not know about the demolition of Hotel Metropole beforeland. Is he also claiming that he did not know who is the real new order of Hotel Metropole – or is he suggesting that the RM2 shell company , Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. Has the financial resources to raise Rm 9.5 million to buy the property from Hotel metropole Sdn.Bhd.

Futher more, can Tan Gim Hwa deny that he was part owber of Hotel Metropole when he was appointed MPPP President in February 1992?

I have also caused a search to be made of Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd in 1991 , 1992 , 1993 which revealed very interesting transactions.

Accoring to its 1991 returns in the Registry of Companies , the directors of Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd on 7th August 1991 were as follows:

1. Lim Ee Hoong I/C 4084742 , merchant , of 27, Pinhorn Poad , 11600 Penang;

2. Tan Gim hwa I/C 3894170 , Public Accountant ,of No. 1 Macalister Court , 10450 Penang;

3. Lim Siew Keat (F) I/C 0276090 , cashier ,of 27 Pinhorn Road , 11600 penang;

4. Goh Teng Kheng , I/C 0754564, merchant , of 53 Lengkok Mahsuri , Bandar Bayan Baru , 11900 Penang ;

5. Lim Seng Hock , I/c 4093081 , merchant , of 71-A , Medan Terenggani , 11600 Penang ; and

6. Loke Yean Peng I/C 0272569 , merchant of 35 Nanning Street , 10400 Penang.

Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd had a paid –up capital of RM 1,762,000 or 17,620 shares of RM 100 each.
Accoring to the Registry of Company Records , Tan Gim Hwa held 1,050 shares , while Tan Kean Wah I/V 4365828 held 1,075 shares and Tan Seong Hwa I/C 4982988 held 1,175 shares . Both Tan Kean Wah and Tan Seong Wah gave the same address of No, 1 Macalister Court , 10450 Penang as Tan Gim Hwa.

In the July 1992 ROC returns for Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd. Tan Gim Hwa had stepped down as director of the company although he still held 1,075 shares.

In the June 1993, ROC returns , Cempaka Sdn. Bhd was registered as the new owners of Hotel Metropole Sdn. Bhd. Owning all its shares.

A search of the ROC shows that the directors of Cempaka Sdn Bhd are

1. Senator Dato Soong Siew Hoong I/C 1163727 director of No. 9 Jalan 6/6 , 46000 Petaling Jaya;

2. Tan Sri Datok Chan Choong Tat, I/C 3067788, Solicitor of No. 1054, Bulit Rasah , 70300 Seremban ;

3. Lim Kheng Guan , director I’c 0583530 of No. 32 , persiaran Burhanuddin , Taman Tun Dr. Ismail , 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

As cempaka Sdn. Bhd comprised prominent Gerakan leaders like former senator Soong Siew Hoong and former senate President Datuk Tan Vhoong Tat, as well as Lim Kheng Guan – the brother of Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, it is obvious that the sale of Hotel Metropolitan Sdn . Bhd. To Cempaka Sdn . Bhd is not only a very friendly sale but a very interesting one as well.

Such a sale becomes all the more interesting when Cempaka Sdn. Bhd entered into an agreement to sell the entire property to RM 2 shell company . Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. For RM 9.5 million and there weeks after this transaction was registered in the Land Office on 4th December 1993. Hotel Metropolr was demolished in lightning operation on Christmas Day – with no MPPP reaction until 10 days later.

I said yesterday that the real owners of dolhin Square Sdn. Bhd are a prominent Penang Business group in the country , headed by a Penang Datuk Businessman.

Would the real owners of Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd had bought Hotel Metropole , knowing that it is heritage building in the MPPP list of 2 conservation buildings along Jalan Sutan Ahmad Shah – or Millionaires ‘ Row – unless there had been an assurance that Hotal Metropole could be demolished?

If tan Gim Hwa is to be believed that as MPPP President , he had not known anything about the demolition of Hotal Metropolr , then he is guilty of unthinkable incompetence that it has taken him ten days to react to the sacrilegious destruction of Hotel Metropole on Christman Day.

Tan Gim Hwa said yesterday that Hotel Metropole is still on the MPPP list of heritage buildings and that the MPPP still served a notice on Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd under Section 27 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 for its demolition.

One local press reported that under the notice, Dolphin Square Sdn . Bhd would have to restore the land to the condition it was before the demolition, i.e. to restore and rebuild Hotel Metropole within six months.

Can Tan Gim Hwa explain what the MPPP could do if such notice is ignore –and whether the whole issue would be quietly forgotten by that time?

The whole demolition of Hetel Metropole – together with the background of the sale of Hotel Metropole sdn. Bhd to Cempaka Sdn. Bhd – stinks and DAP calls on the Penang Chief Minister , Dr. Koh Tsu Koon , to institute a Public Inquiry into the scandalous demolition of Hotel Metropole , the MPPP’s role whether of omission or commission , and the personal involvement of MPPP President , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa.