By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Penang on Thursday , January 13, 1994;
Tan Gim Hwa should explain why Hotel Metropole was surreptitiously removed from Category one of the earlier MPPP conservation list and placed on Category Two of heritage buildings on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.
He said that on October 28 last year , Hotel Metrpole was placed under Category 2 of the MPPP list if conservation buildings for Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.
For buildings under Catogory 1, the planning guidelines do not permit demolition , alteration or extension of the building other than works necessary for restoration and maintenance.
For buildings under Category 2, partial redevelopment may be permitted depending on the situation. The exitsing external appearance of the building must be preserved and any part of the façade cannot be altered , other than works to keep the building in proper condition . Additions or extensions to the existing building can be allowed but subject to council approval.
Goh Ban Lee has not only thrown some light on the MPPP list of conservation buildings , bbut also given meaning to the statement made by the mPPP President , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa in a local press on December 2 , 1993 that the MPP had identified about 10 historical buildings along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah worchy of conservation and that apart from these buildings , all other properties aling the road have been ‘ released ‘ for development.
In 1989 , MPPP had alos two categories of buildings for Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah for control of development and conservation in view of the unique character , historical importance and significance of the buildings in the area.
Under Category 1, which comprised of 20 heritage buildings and sites , “ no demolition , alteration or extension of the building other than development or works necessary for restoring it to, and maintaining it in , a proper state of repairing was allowed.
Guidelines were also drawn up for Category 2 of the other non-heritage buildings and sited on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Sha.
Hotel Metropole was originally Category 1 of the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings and sites , and the MPPP President , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa should explain why the Hotel Metropole was surreptitiously removed from Category 1 and placed on Category 2 of the MPPP list of conservation buildings on October 28 last year.
Gim Hwa should also explain why the mPPP had been so secrective about its OCT. 28 decision last year to take Hotel Metrpole out of Category 1 and placed on Category 2 and why the public had not been involved and consulted before it took its final decision on October 28 on the new Category 1 and Category 2 heritage along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah?
In view of the scandaleous and outrageous demolition of Hottel Metropole on Christmas Day without any MPPP reaction for 10 days , and the series of transactions afte Tan Gim Hwa became MPPP President – involving the sale of Hotel Metrpole Sdn bhd by Tan Gim Hwa and other Gerakan leaders to national Gerakan leaders in Cempaka Sdn .Bhd later the sale of Hotel Metropole to RM2 company , Dolphin Square Sdn . Bhd – the pertinent question is whether the MPPP Presidnet or any MPPP councilor had acted most irresponsibly or even had conflict of interest when the October 28 decision was taken.
This is why there must be a full Public inquiry into the entire Hotel Metrpole demolition scandal – including the reasons and circumstances leading to the October 28, 1993 MPPP decision , to establish whether there is any relationship between the October 28 decision and the final transaction on December 4, 1993 in the sale of Hotel Metrpole by Cempkan Sdn . Bhd to Dolphin Square . sdn Bhd.
It is clear that if I had not made public the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings and sites at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in a press statement two days ago , the MPPP would have continued to be secretive and unaccountable about its October 28 decision .