By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Monday, January 10, 1994:
Gim Hwa should not distract public outrage at the demolition of Hotel Metropole by implying that the Penang Chief Minister , Dr. Koh Tsu Koon , must bear the blame for having failed to enact the State Heritage Conservation Enactmnet in the last three years
MPPP president , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa , said yeaterday that there is no law to prevent anyone from demolishing a heritage to take action under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 for demolishing without planning approval and serving a notice for the rebuilding of the demolished building.
Tan Gim Hwa should be aware that under section 27(5) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 , any person who fails to comply with the MPPP notice under Section 27(2) (a) to restore the land to its original condition – in the case of Hotal Metropole , its rebuilding – would only be liable to a fine not exceeding RM 10,000.
This is a mere ‘ chicken –feed’ a most ridiculous figure and is completely inadequate . If this is all that Tan Gim Hwa is prepared to do in the case of the domlolition of Hotel Metropole , then the MPPP President had failed to protect Penang tradition , heritage , culture and history from desecration and he is clearly not fit to continue as MPPP President.
I had called on the MPPP to impose a 20 – year freeze on all future development on the Hotel Metropole property as a punishment for the demolition of the 100-year-old heritage building on Christmas Day and to serve a warning and deterrent for others in future.
Why has Gim Hwa refused to declare his stand on this proposal , and is instead talking about the lack of any existing law to prevent the demolition of heritage buildings.
Gerakan leaders in Penang had blocked the State Govermant from presenting the State Government from presenting the State Heritage Conservation Enactment to the Penang State Assembly
Gim Hwa is right that there is no State Heritage Conservation Enactment to specifically protect historical buildings. It isquestionable however without such a State Heritage Conservation Enactment would have been able to stop a ‘lightning demolition on Christmas Day’like the case of Hotel Metropole if could use their influence to commit such a sacrilege against Penang tradition , heritage , culture and history and get with it?
Gim Hwa should explain whether he is trying to distract public outrage at the demolition of Hotel Metropole and his refusal to ompose a 20 year freeze on all future development on Minister Dr. Kuh Tsu Koon , must bear the blame as he had failed to enact the Penang State Heritage Conservation Enatchment in the past three years.
If this is Gim Hwa ‘s ulterior motive , this would be most improper and unethical on his part.
However , Tsu Koon owes a full explanation to the people of Penang as to why he had failed to present the penang State Heritage Conservation Enactment to the Penang State Assembly after more than three years as Chief Minister.
The drafting of the Penang State Heritage Conservation Enatchment was one of the earlier policy decisions of Dr. Kog Tsu Koon when he become Chief Minister , and the public was informed in early November 1990 that the Penang Heritage Trust had been asked to prepare such a draft enatchment based on the Malacca heritage conservation enactment.
In March 1991, the penang State Government coorganised with the Penang heritage Trust (PHT) and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development , Nagoya, japan a Seminar on Conservation of penang ‘ Architectural Heritage.
This seminar discussed the draft of the Penang State Heritage Conservation Enactment which had been prepared by the Pennag Heritage Trust.
At that time , the then Chairman of Penang Heritage Trust ; draft enactment sub-committee Dr. Choong Sim Poey announced in the press on 6th March 1991 that the PHT was expected to submit its recommendations for the proposed State Heritage Conservation Enactment to the State Government within Two weeks.
I have been reliably informed that although the PHT had submitted its draft Penang State Heritage Conservation Enactment to the State Government, the draft had been blocked and enactment laying the scene for the sacrileous demolition of Hotel Metropole on Christmas Day
I will name the real owner of Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd if the Penang Datuk who uses the RM 2 company to buy Horel Metropole refuses to come forward to explain his destruction of the 100- year –old heritage building
I have more than once called on the real owner of Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd to come forward to explain his destruction , of the 100- year – old heritage building and account for his heritage , culture and history of Penang.
However, but to now , the real owner of Dolphin Square Sdn , Bhd. Had refused to come forward to acknowledge his descration of Penang heritage , tradition , culture and history , and I give notice that iwill name the real owner if there continues to be no response from the Penang Datuk who uses the RM2 company , Dolphin square Sdn Bhd , to buy Hotel Metropole and then demolition it.
The people of Penang and Malaysia – as this has become a nation – wide issue and concern – wants to know whether the property , is prepared to rebuild Hotel Metropole within six months , and whether such rebuilding could be done.