By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Penang on Saturday , 8 January 1994;
Ten terms of reference for the Public Inquiry Commission into the Hotel Metropole Heritage Building Demolition Scandal
The Public Inquiry Commission into the Hotel Metropole Heritage Building Demolition Scandal should have the following ten terms of reference, to inquire into :
1. The actual circumstances in the demolition of Hotel Metropole , the persons involved in the decision and implementation of the sacrilege against Penang heritage , tradition and history;
2. how a RM2 company , Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd could acquire Hotel Metropole for RM 9.5 million and demolished it in a ‘lighting operation on Christmas Day three weeks after the property transaction ;
3. the role of the MPPP , whether of omission of commission , in the Hotel Metropole Demolition scandal , and in particular for its inaction for ten days till after the Christmas Day demolition;
4. whether the MPPP Presidnet , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa had prior knowledge of the demolition of Hote; Metropole , and whether he had in effect surreptitiously removes Hotel Metropole from four-year MPPP list of conservation buildings along Jalan Sultan Admad Shah or “millionaires ‘ row” by allowing Hotel Metropole to be demolished despite his prior knowledge beforehead.
5. whether there was any hanky-panky in the convoluted sale of Hotel Metropole soon after Tan Gim Hwa become MPPP President in February 1992 through first the sale of Hotel Metropole Sdn . BHd . to Metropole by Cempaka Sdn Bhd to the RM2 company , Dolphin Sdn Bhd – with the purpose of circumventing the MPPP listing of Hotel Metro pole as a heritage building;
6. whether the demolition of Hotel Metropole was an essential condition – express of tacit – of the sale of the Hotel Metropole property ;
7. the relationship between Tan Gim Hwa and the real owners of Hotel Metropole property who demolished the heritage building;
8. therole of Gerakan leaders whether in Penang or outside the State in the events circumstances leading to the demolition of Hotel Metropole ;
9. The record of MPPP in protecting heritage buildings at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in particular and in Penang in general ; and
10. whether the present MPPP demand that Hotel Metropole be rebuilt within six months by the new owners is practical an d proper remedy , or whether the MPPP should freeze all future development on the Hotel Metropole land for the next 20 years both as a punishment for the demolition of heritage property and as a deterrent for the future.
This Public Inquiry Commission ahsould comprise independent members who would have no political or financial interests to do a ‘ cover-up ‘ of Hotel Metropole Demolition scandal , and should include the DAP in its composition .
DAP calls for convening of emergency Penang State Assembly meeting to debate the Hotel Metropole scandal and to set up Public Inquiry Commission
DAP calls on the Penang Chief Minister , Dr. Koh Tsu Koon , to convene an emergency meeting of the Penang State Assembly to debate the Hotel Metropole heritage building demolition Scandal and o set up a Public Inquiry Commission.
The MPPP had acted in a very undemocratic manner, disregarding the principles of accountability and transparency in its entire decision – making process, including the question of conservation of heritage buildings.
In early December , when Tan Gim Hwa told the press that the MPPP had identified anout 10 historical buildings along Jalan Sultan Admad Shah ( which means removing about 10 others from the MPPP’ s list of 20 heritage buildings and sites ), he said that the council would wrote officially to the owners of the historical buildings to inform them of the conversation plan.
Why wasn’t there any public consultation before the MPPP decided to review and cut doen its 1989 list of 20 conservation buildings and sites in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah? Why was the whole process shrouded in secrecy , as if Tan Gim Hwa had never heard of the principles of accountability and transparency?