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8 theSun | TUESDAY NOVEMBER 25 2008

news without borders

23-storey hotel may
jeopardise heritage Abdullah and Mohd Hassan (extreme
right) with the recipients (third from
status, says Teng left) – Davidson, Datuk Seri Salleh
Mohd Nor of The Malaysian Nature
Society, Ungku Abdul Aziz, Prof C.T. Tan
GEORGE TOWN: The 23-storey (84m) hotel on Jalan Sultan from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti
Ahmad Shah approved by the state government recently Malaya, and Khalid.
could possibly be the one to jeopardise George Town’s
Unesco World Heritage status.
Former state executive councillor for local govern-
ment Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said yesterday the state
government and local council were aware of the height
restrictions in the heritage zone “even back in 2005”.
“That’s why this project by Bintang Holdings, under
Low Yat Group, was put on hold by the previous state
government and the decision incurred the wrath of Low
Yat Group executive chairman Tan Sri Low Yow Chuan,”
he said.
Quoting from newspapers clippings from June 2005,
in which Low said he had had enough of Penang after the
local authorities told him to scale down the project from
24 storeys to eight storeys, Teng said they had to follow
the heritage guidelines.
“Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said he was not aware of
the guidelines. How could it be when we had to follow the
guidelines in 2005?” he asked.
As for why the previous administration approved the
other three high-rise projects, Teng explained that the E &
O Hotel expansion project with a 84m height was approved
back in the early 1990s.

“As for the Rice Miller Boutique Hotel and the Boustead
Royale Bintang Hotel, both these projects with a 51.7m
height, were the same height as the neighbouring Bangu-
nan Syed Putra,” he said.
Furthermore, Dr Teng added, these three projects were
made known to Unesco when Prof David Lung, sent by the
World Heritage Committee, came to Penang to assess the
heritage value of George Town.
Abdullah presents Merdeka Awards
“Prof Lung was fully briefed on the three projects so the KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Davidson (Outstanding Contribution to categories.
inscription was made with the Unesco being fully aware of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the People of Malaysia category). Initiated by Petronas, ExxonMobil
these projects,” he said. honoured the inaugural recipients of There is no recipient for the and Shell, the Merdeka Award was
Dr Teng said it is the fourth project, the one by Bintang the Merdeka Awards at a presentation Outstanding Scholastic Achievement launched by Abdullah on Aug 27 last year
Holdings, that could have affected George Town’s Unesco ceremony at Dewan Filharmonik category as the award’s nomination and in conjunction with the country’s golden
World Heritage status as it was not made known to the Petronas here, yesterday. selection committee judged that none of jubilee. It was so named to celebrate the
Unesco committee and it was approved after the visit by The recipients recognised for their the short-listed candidates attained the true spirit of independence that drives
Prof Lung. contributions under five categories required threshold to be honoured. exceptional individuals or organisations
Unesco’s regional adviser to Asia-Pacific, Richard are Royal Prof Ungku Abdul Aziz The recipient of each category to push boundaries in their pursuit of
Engelhardt, had last week warned that Penang’s heritage Ungku Abdul Hamid (Education and received RM500,000 cash, a trophy and a excellence.
status may be affected due to four high-rise projects in the Community category), The Malaysian certificate from the prime minister, who The inaugural recipients of the award
conservation zone. Nature Society (Environment category), is also patron of the award. were announced on Aug 21 this year
Three of the projects, E & O Hotel, Boustead and Rice The Nipah Encephalitis Team, from the The Merdeka Award was established by the chairman of the Merdeka Award
Miller, were approved by the previous state administration Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya to recognise and reward individuals and Board of Trustees, Tan Sri Mohd Hassan
while the fourth project by Bintang Holdings, was approved and Prof Datuk Dr Khalid Kadir (joint organisations that had made outstanding Marican, who is also Petronas’ group
only 10 days before the Unesco inscription under the new recipients for the Health, Science and contributions for the advancement chief executive officer and president.
state government. Technology category) and Datuk Leslie of Malaysia and its people in the five – Bernama

‘Money didn’t disappear

but was spent on projects’
by Opalyn Mok » Other projects in local communities now on the current state government to such as cleanliness campaigns, anti- commission an independent auditor to
mosquito programmes, health and audit the accounts of the local authori-
GEORGE TOWN: The Seberang Perai environment educational programmes ties immediately.
Municipal Council’s (MPSP) RM225 mil- and landscaping. “I urge Lim to vet through all the
lion reserves did not “disappear” but “Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s records and accounts of MPSP for the
were spent over the past eight years on statement likening the “disappearance’’ past years,” he said, adding that Lim had
major and small projects for the benefit of the RM225 million reserves to that announced on April 2 this year to do so
of the people. of the magic of David Copperfield, as if after finding out that there has been a
Former state executive councillor for the funds had been siphoned through reduction in the MPSP reserve. He then
local government Datuk Dr Teng Hock improper means, was irresponsible and called on Lim to make the audit report
Nan said yesterday he wanted to put edging towards defaming me,” Teng public as it is an important issue.
the record straight that the money was told a press conference at the Gerakan “Even if it has to incur extra expendi-
spent and had not “disappeared”. headquarters. ture to hire an independent auditor, Lim
He said the projects included: “Lim should stop making irresponsible still needs to do it,” he said.
» Construction and completion of two allegations and accusations against the Teng also suggested that the state
markets in Kepala Batas and Kampung previous Barisan Nasional state govern- government find ways to improve the
Baru, Bukit Mertajam; ment and myself, something he has been local authorities’ financial position and if
» Construction and completion of a doing since March 8 this year.” necessary, to seek allocations from the
multi-purpose hall in Butterworth; While stating that he is not saying the federal government.
» Construction and completion of two way the reserve was depleted in such a “Gerakan will definitely work with
sports complexes in Kepala Batas and short period was right, Teng said the pre- Lim to coordinate and assist in securing
Betik, Bukit Mertajam; vious state government realised there these allocations,” he said.
» Acquisition of land for infrastructure was imbalanced spending by MPSP. When asked why the previous state
development, including drainage and “We conducted an internal audit to government did not take any steps when
community halls; find out and to find solutions for a more MPSP had a deficit budget every year
» Solid waste management, including balanced budget and also to find out over the last eight years, Teng replied
the building of sanitary landfill in Pulau whether there have been any irregulari- that it is usual for the council to have a
Buring following the closing of the dump ties or mismanagement on the reserve deficit budget.
site in Ampang Jajar; funds,” he said. “Previously, the local councils were
» House-to-house collection of solid The internal audit was led by the able to balance out their spending with
waste increased to four times a week Penang state financial officer and it was collections of fees from rezoning and ap-
from three times previously; completed and the report ready early proval of plans during the good times but
» Small infrastructure projects identified this year. ever since the Asian economic crisis in
by the state assemblymen and submit- “We could not take any follow-up 1997, revenue have decreased and that’s
ted to the council for implementation; actions after the March 8 defeat,” he why there were imbalanced spending
and said. Therefore, Teng said, the onus is from then onwards,” he said.

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