By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Wednesday, August 10, 1994:
Tsu Koon should explain whether he agrees to the MPPP decision to give one-year extension to Dolphin square Sdn. Bhd. for reconstruction of Hotel Metropole
Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should explain whether he agrees to the MPPP decision to give one-year extension to Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. for reconstruction of Hotel Metropole which was demolished last Christmas.
Tsu Koon should state whether he agrees with me that the one-year MPPP extension is all ‘play-acting’ to delay the whole issue until after the next general elections.
In his first reaction to the Hotel Metropole demolition scandal on 6th January 1994, Tsu Koon lauded the MPPP decision to order Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd to reconstruct Hotel Metropole within six months, saying: This should serve as a lesson to anyone who wants to demolish buildings meant for conservation”.
After that first statement, Tsu Koon quickly backtracked and was the first to say that Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. need only rebuild the façade of Hotel Metropole, and not the whole building.
If MPPP wants to give an extension to the order to Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. to reconstruct Hotel Metropole, it should not exceed the original notice of six months which expired on July 3.
The reason why the MPPP did not give a six-month extension is because the MPPP President, Tan Gim Hwa is not certain that general elections would be held by January 3 1995, as this would require a further extension creating a bigger political problem for Gerakan.
The granting of the one-year extension by MPPP to Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. is purely a political decision, meant to remove the embarrassment of the Hotel Metropole demolition scandal until after the next general elections.
I have no doubt in my mind that if the Gerakan is returned to Penang State Government in the next state general elections, the MPPP would reverse its decision where Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. would not be required to rebuild Hotel Metropole Square but could undertake full development on the Hotel Metropole site.
On January 12, Tan Gim Hwa said that the MPPP will prosecute Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. under section 26 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 for tearing down the building without permission.
Furthermore, Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. can be charged under Section 27 for not complying with the six-month order issued on January 3, 1994 to rebuild Hotel Metropole. Under Section 27, Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of RM10,000 and to a further fine of RM500 per day for each day of failure to comply with the order.
On what basis has the MPPP granted Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd one-year extension to comply with its order to rebuild Hotel Metropole?
Has Dolphin Square Sdn. Bhd. agreed to plead guilty to the charge under Section 26 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 and to pay a maximum fine of RM50,000 as a condition for the MPPP granting a one-year extension to comply with the order to rebuild Hotel Metropole?
Or did the MPPP give an unconditional one-year extension to Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd?
Ibrahim Saad and Tan Gim Hwa annot keep silent and must declare whether the State Government or MPPP had closed Lorong Reutens for the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ Project
Together with DAP elected representative, I visited Lorong Reutens following complaints by Taman Medlands residents that Lorong Reutens has again been closed, and I found that the piling machinery of the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ project have been moved to Lorong Reutens to undertake piling work.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Saad and the MPPP President, Tan Gim Hwa cannot continue to keep silent on the issue and must declare whether the State Government or the MPPP had closed Lorong Reutens for the Taman Midlands ‘One-Stop Centre’ project.
When I raised the closure of Lorong Reutens in the June meeting of Penang State Assembly, Dr. Ibrahim Saad gave a public assurance that the State Government had not given permission for its closure that the road was closed temporarily to enable the pipe-laying along the road – and not because of the Taman Midlands One-Stop Centre project.
After the issue was raised in the June meeting of Penang Assembly, Lorong Reutens was re-opened, and it was because of the re-opening of Lorong Reutens that Taman Midlands resident, Dr. Khiresh K. Chaudhure, withdrew his action against the State Government and the MPPP for illegal closure of Lorong Reutens.
If Lorong Reutens has now been closed by either the State Government or MPPP without complying with the law, requiring public notice to be given to the affected residents, then this closure is illegal and can be challenged in the courts.
DAP is prepared to provide legal assistance to any Taman Midlands resident to file new legal action to challenge the illegal closure of Lorong Reutens, whether by the Penang State Government, the MPPP or the developer, Pangkal Permata (M) Sdn Bhd.