Sentiment against the PGCC is clearly running high, judging from the angry and disgusted comments I have been receiving from concerned Penangites.

Here’s a sample of comments:

Regarding the sale of the Turf Club land, the sale of the Batu Kawan land etc:

What exactly was the role of the Penang Development Corporation in all this?

How did rank outsider Patrick Lim get the better of Ananda Krishnan, who was eyeing another KLCC-type deal, in acquiring the Turf Club land?

Who chairs the PDC Board? Who decides on re-zoning? It’s time the State government came clean on this, don’t you think?

The PDC or its chairman and the Chief Minister should be invited to the PGCC Campaign forum this Sunday to explain the role of the state in this project.

Another reaction: Past, present and future…

In 1974 an article in Far Eastern Economic Review described Penang Island’s brave new world:

.. by the end of this decade a traveller will be able to …speed across the 4-mile bridge to Penang Island, there linking up with a north-south expressway running along the east coast, mainly on reclaimed land. This means the traveller will have a quick access to either the new Penang International Airport, the new Bayan Lepas Township to the south, or to a new focal point of the city – visible for miles because of its 45-storey rounded skyscraper centre piece (Komtar) (Stockwin, 1974).

2007 – 2023

.. three years post the Wawasan 2020 deadline a traveller will be able to …speed across TWO 4-mile bridges to Penang Island, unless they stop for makan in the middle of one, there linking up with a north-south expressway running along the east coast, mainly on reclaimed land. This means the traveller will have a quick access to either the new Penang International Airport, the new Bayan Lepas Township to the south, or to a new focal point of the PENANG GLOBAL CITY CENTRE obscured by 38 towers and a whole load of other unimaginative nondescript concrete monolithic blocks – The rounded skyscraper centre piece of 65 storeys, now almost 50 years old, will remain the only visible icon of ‘development’ (??2007).

Yet another reaction: re the public forum on the implications of the PGCC

9.30 am, Sunday, 7 Oct at Dewan Sri Pinang, Rooms A/B/C

(The PGCC developer has indicated that none of its reps will be attending)

Hypocrites: all that bull about wanting to meet the NGOs and the community. All they wanted to do was to meet small groups and manipulate the subsequent ‘news’ using their lackeys in the media.

And the YDP has denied saying that he wanted a public hearing. Meanwhile back in the ranch, the CM is keeping mum, in spite of several letters to remind him to send a representative to the forum.

One concerned Penangite has come up with several slogans:

NO EIA? NO PGCC!
PGCC – NOT PEOPLE-FRIENDLY, NOT ECO-FRIENDLY
PGCC – TRAFFIC DISASTER?
PGCC – GLOBAL CITY? OR MONSTRO-CITY, ATRO-CITY

While another long-time Penang resident has coined a couple of new names for the PGCC:

PGCC – Tombstone City (not a few people have remarked that the model of the 40 towers resembles a graveyard).

PGCC – Penang Graveyard and Crematorium City (The Bukit Gantung crematorium is next door.)

With so many disgusted Penangites around, it is perhaps no wonder that the developer is reluctant to face the Penang public in an open forum.

Finally check this out:

PGCC – Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete.

Written by Timothy Tye of AsiaExplorers.

I will call this project Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete. Like soaring mesas, Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete will sprout concrete towers, some over fifty stories tall. There will be 40 of them or perhaps more, in Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete. Unlike the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Penang’s artificial version will have people living in them. Thousands of unfortunate souls who thought they have bought a piece of the Malaysian Dream, only to have reality dawn on them every morning, when they inch their way to work, through the massively crowded Scotland Road and Jalan Utama (both transformed each morning to look like parking lots than roads; a scene with an encore later in the evening). An alternative is for these commuters to pay toll and inch onto the new Penang Outer Ring Road (which will probably also be jammed). Every evening they inch their way home again, to expire into one of many nondescript pigeonholes of Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete.

And what has happened to Komtar, the PGCC of the 1980s and 1990s? According to AsiaExplorers again:

The list of negative issues resulting from Komtar is indeed a long one. To make way for Komtar, whole streets and neighbourhoods were erased without much regard to its consequence. This wholesale displacement of the population from the city core results in a dead town around Komtar. This includes Gladstone Road and the original Cheong Fatt Tze Road (Hong Kong Street was renamed Cheong Fatt Tze Road thereafter). The transfer of the bus and taxi terminal into Komtar and the lack of space for buses and taxis contributed further to traffic congestion and pollution.

The economy slowdown of the late 90′s exerted a heavy toll on Komtar. Both its anchor tenants, Yaohan and Super Komtar departmental stores, succumbed to financial difficulties, subsequently closing down. Without a good anchor tenant, Komtar is incapable of holding on to the title of premier shopping destination. A poor track record of maintaining the building further compounds the problems, resulting in a run-down, smelly, garbage-strewn structure with many dark, deserted nooks. This makes the whole complex all the more unattractive to potential tenants. In a way, all the problems caused by and resulting from Komtar is a shameful reflection of the aimless way that Penang is being governed – indeed the state of Komtar can be compared to the general state of abandoned shophouses around George Town.

…At the time that Komtar was being constructed, a foreign critic noted that this tower will stick out like a sore thumb over the city…

Well, if you thought one sore thumb sticking out of Penang was bad enough, wait till you see 40 of them!