Blog Page 578

In case you are having the Perkasa blues, this should brighten things up: Muslims and Christians have been holding dialogue sessions in church halls across the northern region ever since the Allah controversy led to a spate of arson attempts on places of worship.

You could say it has opened up an avenue for a rapprochement of sorts among the ‘People of the Book’, heirs to the Abrahamic spiritual traditions.

The latest church to play host to such a dialogue was St Louis Catholic Church in Taiping. Now, St Louis, along with the Convent School next door, was the target of an arson attempt on 10 January.

Concerned Penangites distributed leaflets yesterday calling for a halt to projects to ‘upgrade’ the Penang Botanic Garden which have resulted in more concrete structures, including two large arches at the entrance.

They came face-to-face with federal and state government officials responsible for managing and overseeing the Garden who were there for the launch of the official programme to mark the 126th anniversary of the historical site.

One activist was overhead telling the officials, “The whole world is trying to move towards more greenery; here, we are adding more concrete.” The officials say they will hold a public briefing on what is happening to the Garden.

What went wrong at the Garden? Who is responsible for the mess? A source familiar with the workings of the Garden described the situation as follows:

The Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) has issued a clarification over a report in The Star yesterday that is at pains to stress there is no difference in position between the Council and state government over the Penang International Convention Centre (PICC).

The clarification seems to be an attempt at damage control. The MPPP chief’s views reported yesterday would not have pleased the state government. Let me just say, for what it’s worth, I fully support her position that no Council funds should be used for PICC. Remember what happened to Batu Kawan Stadium, that white elephant? Two more convention centres are coming up under private projects – so why get the MPPP to undertake PICC (even with private assistance)?

In the MPPP clarification (below), they say they are inviting the private sector to help reduce the burden of building PICC. But if there is no private interest, the MPPP will abide by the state government’s decision – which means using Council funds? Please, NO!

The newly appointed Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) chief, Patahiyah Ismail, has come out to say she is not in favour of using Council funds for the controversial RMR50 million Penang International Convention Centre (PICC).

Site plans showing the proposed PICC (in brown) located directly in front of the existing Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa)

“I would not want to spend the council’s money on this project. This is my opinion,” she was reported as saying in The Star today.