By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Tuesday, January 25th, 1994:
Why has the Penang State Government rejected the Penang Conservation Bill which it had commissioned the Penang Heritage Trust to draft?
Penang Chief Minister , Dr. Koh Tsu Koon , said at the launching of Koon Su Nin ‘s book , “streets of George Town , Penang “ on Sunday that the State Government would adopt the proposed Conservation Act of the Federal Government.
This announcement has come as a surprise for two reasons.
Firstly , it is not known when the Federal Government would introduce a Conservation bill in Parliament and when a national Conservation Act would be passed by Parliament and placed on the statute books . This could take months or years, going even into the next country!
Secondly , this tantamount to a rejection by the State Government of the Penang Conservation Bill which it had commissioned the Penang Heritage Trust to draft.
One of the priorities of Dr, Koh Tsu Koon after he became Penang Chief Minister in October 1990 was the preparation of the Penang State Conservation Acr.
The penang state Exco in charge of the state tourism Committee , Madam Kee Phaik Chee, announced as far back as November 1990 that the State Government had asked the Penang Heritage Trust to prepare guidelines for a Conservation Act along the lines of the Malacca Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Enactment 1988 , but specific to our own need and conditions.
And this was duty done by the Penang Heritage Trust , and the person who headed the Trust ‘s sub-committee to draft the proposed Penang Heritahe Conservation Enactment was none other than Dr. Choong Sim Poey – the husband of Madam Kee Phaik Cheen.
After the Seminar on Conservation of Penang ‘s Architectural Heritage jointly organized by the Penang State Government , Penang Heritage Trust and the United Nations centre for Regional Development on March 4 , 1991 which also discussed that the Penang Heritage Trust was ready to submit its proposed Bill to the State Government.
Since , then for the last three years , there has been total silence on the proposed Penang Heritage Bill which the Penang State Government had commissioned the Penang Heritage Trust to prepare.
There were however reports that the proposal from the Penang Heritage Trust was as good as dead as powerful Penang Gerakan leaders strongly objected to it.
Tsu Koon should make public the draft Penang Conservation Bill submitted by the Penang Heritage Trust
This seems to have been confirmed with the announced by Dr. Koh Tsu Koon on Sunday that the State Government would adopt the proposed Conservation Act of the Federal Government .
DAP Penang is not interested in the spectacle of Madam Kee Phaik Chin commissioning her husband to prepare the draft Penang State Heritage conservation bill, and then rejecting the husband’s proposal , but the people of Penang are entitled to know from Dr. Koh Tsu Koon the reasons why the State Exco had rejected the proposed Penang State Conservation Bill prepared by the penang Heritage Trust.
Dr. Koh should make public the draft Penang Heritage Conservation Bill submitted by the penang Heritage Trust so that the people could have some idea why the husband’s proposals had been rejected after being commissioned by the wife.