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Raffles House
Raffles House: Notice the 19th century columns - Photograph: L. A. K. James

This was the building known as Raffles House in Penang, along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah/Northam Road. Notice the five 19th Century Doric order columns.

It stood on the site of Stamford Raffles’ house, which was damaged in a fire in 1901. It was rebuilt or reconstructed in 1903 and opened as a hotel. (See timeline further below.) The solid structure of the building may well have been the original. Heritage circles had asked if they could investigate and record the building but it never happened.

Instead, the building was among several that were demolished at the Runnymede site over the Lunar New Year by the developer.

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special projects

Penang Forum’s position against special projects on the hills of Penang, put forward by prominent lawyer Agatha Foo, has been vindicated in recent weeks by three developments. [Basically, Penang Forum said that the Penang state government had come up with guidelines in 2009 that interpreted too broadly the term special projects contained in the Penang Structure Plan, gazetted in 2007. The Structure Plan prohibits development on hill land more than 250 feet above sea level, allowing only “limited development” for special projects under exceptional circumstances.]

  1. A decision by the Appeals Board, chaired by Yeo Yang Poh, in favour of the residents of Sungai Ara, who had appealed against the MBPP’s approval of developer Sunway’s ‘special project’ on a hill in their vicinity.
  2. An article by University of Malaya law professor Gurdial Singh Nijar which affirmed the Appeals Board decision and Penang Forum’s position on special projects.
  3. A statement by the Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam), issued by Ambiga Sreenevasan and Gurdial Singh, supporting Penang Forum’s position and the Appeals Board decision on special projects.

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Our guest contributor is Eric Britton, a sustainable transport expert who visited Penang a couple of years ago. He says, “The priority is not to further expand supply of inefficiently used infrastructure, but rather to manage and use it better.”