Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Tanjung 3 Committee meeting held at Penang DAP hqrs on Tuesday , 18th January 1994 at 830 pm.
The new MPPP council at its first meeting should reinstate Hotel Metropole to the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah by setting aside the MPPP decision last Oct 28
The new MPPP council ,which was sworn in Last Thursday , should at its first meeting reinstate Hotel Metropole to the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah by setting aside the MPPP decision last October 28.
The MPPP decision on October 28 last year to surreptitiously remove Hotel Metropole from the 1989 MPPP list of 29 heritage buildings at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah and place it on a new Category 2 List without any public notice or consultation was clearly most improper and indefensible.
The MPPP’s decision on Oct 28 cannot be allowed to stand without a full review because of two fundamental objections:
Firstly , before the MPPP removed Hotel Metropole from its 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings , it should hold a public hearing to invite public representation , whether from the owner , the organizations concerned about heritage development or cultural tourism , rate players or members of the public.
This has not been done the whole decision making process was shrouded in secrecy and mystery. In fact , if not for constant pressure from the DAP and the public admission by the MPPP councilor Dr. Goh ban Lee last week , the people of Penang would still be in the dark about the MPPP meeting on Oct 28 the surreptitious removal of Hotel Metropole from the 1989 list of 20 heritage buildings along ‘ millionaires row’ and the creation of a new Category 2 List.
Secondly , the grave question as to whether there had been conflict of interest in the MPPP decision of Oct 28 last year , involving certain MPPP councilors who were also Gerakan Leaders , whether in their capacity as former owners of Hotel Metropole or other capacities.
This is a particularly serious issues as there is considerable mystery as to the exact nature in the series of transactions involving the sale od Hotel Metropole Sdn . Bhd by Gim hwa and other Penang Gerakn leaders to national Gerakan leaders through Cempaka. Sdn Bhd end the subsequent sale of Hotel Metropole to the RM 2 company , Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd at three times the market price if the property still remained on the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings.
The new MPPP council should therefore suspend the decision taken by the MPPP lat October 28 which surreptitiously removed Hotel metropole from the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage buildings ,and in its review , should hold public inquiries to invite public views as to any proposal to remove any heritage building from the list of 20 or to change the heritage status of any building.
The Penang Chief Minister Dr . Koh Tsu Koon should also act in the public interest and send directives to the new MPPP at its first meeting to suspend the MPPP decision on October 28 last year to remove Hotel Metropole from the 1989 MPP list of 20 heritage buildings , susupend the new Category 2 list altogether , and require the MPPP to hold public hearings to invote for public representation before any decision is made to impose or alter the heritage status of a building in George Town.
in case Dr, Koh Tsu Koon claims that he has no power to interfere in the decision-making process of MPPP , I want to draw his attention to section 9(1) of the local Government act 1976 which stated:
The state Authority may from time to time give the local authority directions of a general character , and not inconsisitent with the provisions of this Act , on the policy to be followed in the exercise of the powers conferred and the duties imposed on the local authority by or under this act in relation to matters which appear to the State Authority to affect the interest of the local authority area , and the local authority shall as soon as possible give effect to all such directions.
I do not think Tsu koon should need convicing that the Hotel Metropole Demolition Scandal is a matter which affects the interest of the local authority area and that the should act on the powers given to him under the Local Government act to issue two direction to the MPPP council : namely (i) to sat aside the decision of the MPPP of Oct .28 and reinstate Hotel Metropole as one of the 1989 MPPP list of 20 heritage Buildings and (ii) to hold public inquiries before deciding on any change of heritage status of any building.
The suspension of the MPPP decision last October 28 is particularly urgent as one Hotel Metropole demolition scandal has spawned another hotel Metropole scandal – the Hotel Metropole restoration scandal , where the new owners are now told that they do not have to rebuild the Hotel Metropole they had demolished in its entirety , but only the façade of the building!
At this rate , it will not be long before the Penang Chief Minister suggests that the façade of Hotel Metropole could be moved to the front or to the side , so as to give maximum land space for redevelopment of the Hotel Metropole property.