by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Wednesday, February 23, 1994:
DAP calls on Tsu Koon to establish a public inquiry to investigate into the obstruction of urban conservation efforts by MPPP Councillors and Gerakan leaders
DAP calls on the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to establish a public inquiry to investigate into the obstruction of urban conservation efforts in Penang by MPPP Councillors and Gerakan leaders.
This is urgent and of great public importance in view of the denunciation of conservation record of the MPPP by former MPPP conservation consultant, Alexander Koenig, who have become so disgusted by the obstructionist tactics of the Gerakan leaders to block conservation efforts that he had give up his conservation work in Penang and left the State.
Tsu Koon should take serious note of the public statement by Alexander Koenig that urban conservation efforts in Penang continued to be obstructed by rich landowners and unsympathetic politicians.
Koenig, who is currently on a short visit to Penang, had told the local press that the hard work of consultants and conservation experts over the last eight years had been completely ignored by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).
Koenig was the MPPP consultant in Urban Planning (Conservation) unit from 1990 to early 1993. He said the German government agency for technical co-operation, GTZ, had helped the MPPP prepare heritage inventories in which Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah was selected as a pilot project. Koenig was appointed MPPP consultant following an agreement between GTZ and MPPP in which Koenig was to assist the council in urban rehabilitation projects.
Koenig said: “In that inventory (for Jalan Sultan Ahmad- Shah), 36 buildings along the road were identified for conservation, However; only 12 heritage buildings remain on the list, today.
“These buildings are slowly being deleted from the list owing to pressure from landowners and the involvement of politicians sympathetic to landowners.
“The council’s planning department would make proposals but councillors would normally water it down or simply ignore it.”
Koenig said that the MPPP established a conservation unit in 1988, employed a conservation architect and approved conservation guidelines in the inner city area.
Although a lot of hard work was put in for urban conservation, nothing ever materialised and thus conservation did not progress.
He said: “After several attempts to promote conservation and getting my ideas shot down by local politicians I decided to ask the Geraman Government to release me,”
Koenig said he had returned to Penang to meet his successor but was surprised the MPPP had yet to fill the post although the German Government had proposed several names.
The drawing up of a Category 2 Conservation List and the Hotel Metropole demolition scandal are the best examples of the obstruction and sabotage of urban conservation by Tan Gim Hwa’s MPPP
Koenig’s public statement is an indictment on the record of the MPPP and its President, Datuk Tan Gim Hwa, on conservation of heritage buildings on the Penang island.
On the basis of such record, Gim Hwa should not have been re-appointed as MPPP President for the second term!
The drawing up of a Category 2 Conservation List by the MPPP in October last year and the Hotel Metropole demolition scandal are in fact the best examples of the obstruction and sabotage of urban conservation by Tan Gim Hwa’s MPPP.