By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Penang on Wednesday , 13 January 1994;
What is the use of State Government selling Penang ‘s heritage buildings overseas as a premier tourist attraction when it could not preserve heritage building like the 100year old Hotel Metropole from destruction?
Last Sunday , Penang ‘s Exco member For Tourism , youth Sports and Women Affairs , Kee Phaik Chee presented a paper entitled ‘penang – doing what come naturally’ at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore which stressed that “ Penang ‘s distinctive architectural heritage is fundamental attrction to tourists , especially foreign visitors who come from a vastly different environment and are appreciative of being exposed to a different ambience.”
The Paper continued:
George Town the capital city never ceases to fascinate visiotors by its urban landscape of historiacal buildings , precincts and streetscape.
The city boasts of the largest pool of pre war buildings making it a historical centre in the asean region
George Town is , there fore , still successful where other cities in the region have failed to create an irresistible and unique environment which embodies the past and present to the visitor.”
We do not know what were the reactions of the Singaporeans to this paper, but Pennagites ‘ one and common reaction must be : What is the use of the State Government selling Penang ‘s heritage buildings overseas as a premier tourist attraction when it could not preserve heritage buildings like the 100 year ole Hotel Metropole from destruction ?
If the State Government gives rea importance to the preservation of heritage buildings , then the Chief Minister , Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the entire Exco should regard the demolition of Hotel Metropole as a sabotage of Penang ‘ s invaluable and irreplaceable asset and potential for the development of heritage conservation and cultural tourism in the State.
Futhermore , the State Government must demand a full explanation from the MPPP President , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa , for his failure to preserve Hotel Metropole from destruction – although he was formerly one of its owners.
Koh Tsu Koon should explain why he dared not say anything about the demolition of Hotel Metropole for 12 days until he had ‘ cleared ‘ it with Tan Gim Hwa
However , the reaction of Dr. Koh Tsun Koon to the destruction of Hotel Metropole seems quite lukewarm and indifferent –as if he dared not be too concerned . This may be why Tsu Kon dared not say anything publicy on the ‘lighting demolition ‘of Hotel Metropole on Christmas Day Until 12 days later – after Tan Gim Hwa had made his first public reaction on Januart 6.
Tsun Koon should explain why he dared not say anything about the demolition of Hotel Metropole for 12 days until he had ‘ cleared ‘ it with Tan Gim Hwa? Is the MPPP President answerable to the Penang Chief Minister , or do we have a reverse situation in the state , where the Chief Minister is answerable to the MPPP President?
This is the first time in Penang history where the Pennag Chief Minister dared not commnet on a issue happening in the state until it had been cleared by his subordinate!
In fact ,the people of Penang are entitled to ask whether the Penang Chief Minister and the State Government are fuly aware of the importance of the conservation of historical heritage buildings and the development of cultural tourism for Penang.
Tsu Koon has not been able to give the real reasons why the draft Penang State Heritage Conservation Enactment prepared by the penang Heritage Trust at the request of the State Government had been shelved indefinitely , although it was submitted to the State Government in early 1991.
Tsu Koon should be brave enough to name the Gerakan state leaders hwo are opposed to the Penang State heritage Conservation Enactment proposal , resulting in the withholding f the draft Enatchment from being presented to the Pennag State assembly for debate and passage.