Sia Boey: Battleground for two competing visions of Penang

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Update: Now, there is talk that there is a plan for a much smaller station at Sia Boey. This could be located at the car park so the archaeological findings and the canal are not disturbed. But then this would make it difficult for the planned monorail from Tanjung Bungah (under Phase 2 of the SRS proposal) to come by.  So, who knows, that monorail line could be scrapped. All the same, the people of Penang are being sold the idea that a ‘Big Bang’ approach that requires massive land reclamation is needed – which is not the only option available to us. We shall see how things pan out. 

Three months after the responsibility for Sia Boey was transferred from the Penang Development Corporation to George Town World Heritage Inc, this is the derelict state of the site.

The PDC had earlier been involved in a RM2m project to brace up the old shophouses and spruce up the site for the Sia Boey Reborn project, which would have seen Prangin Canal being revitalised and the area turned into an arts and heritage district. During the work on the site, the team unearthed an older canal.

USM archaeologists were then asked to carry out excavation work at the site, and they uncovered remnants of an old police station and other artefacts. The USM final report is now believed to have been completed and submitted.

But a proposal to turn the site into a massive transport hub under an exorbitant RM50bn proposal for Penang transport infrastructure could overshadow any semblance of the original vision for Sia Boey Reborn.

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This controversial proposal stands in contrast to an alternative “Better, Cheaper, Faster” initiative put forward by Penang Forum that could be incorporated into Sia Boey Reborn by using the old market as a tram interchange.

GTWHI’s main job is to protect the world heritage site of Penang. But now this (photo above) is the state of Sia Boey, which lies near the fringe of the heritage buffer zone and is part of the broader setting for the world heritage site.

Said one observer: “The canal smelled and (it could potentially be) a mosquito breeding ground. Not to mention the wild vegetation that is growing in between the historic granite blocks. Look at the shophouses. Disintegrating before our eyes.”

In the excavated pit, wild grass has grown.

In June, civil society coalition Penang Forum, in accordance with Unesco provisions, alerted Unesco about the possible fate of Sia Boey.

Unesco then contacted the National Heritage Department about the issue.

In August, the National Heritage Department intervened to issue an interim protection order on Sia Boey under the National Heritage Act 2005. This, however, could only be enforced with the approval of the Penang state government.

At present, Unesco is believed to be waiting for the department’s report on the proposed transport hub and its impact on Sia Boey. How will GTWHI answer Unesco if it asks why the site is left in such a dire state?

In line with CAT principles, GTWHI should immediate make public the USM archaeological report as well as an expert historian’s report on the historical socio-economic significance of Sia Boey.

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In some ways, what is happening at Sia Boey reflects a clash of two competing visions for the future of Penang.

One vision delights in skyscrapers and towering luxury condominiums (never mind if there could be a glut), massive land reclamation and artificial islands (at the expense of fishing grounds), and six- and eight-lane highways. It is the same vision that would like to see 1,200 homes on Pulau Jerejak, a relatively unspoilt natural green lung.

The other vision seeks a more balanced, sustainable approach to development, taking into account the state’s limited financial realities. It includes a  call for a more holistic transport masterplan that would be cost-effective and cause minimal harm to the natural environment, while taking into account the mobility needs of ordinary people, especially vulnerable groups. It also seeks to preserve or revitalise historically significiant sites, as links to the past, to ground our present, and carry us forward into the future.

Sia Boey is the latest battleground between these two competing visions for Penang.

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42 Comments on "Sia Boey: Battleground for two competing visions of Penang"

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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Penang Gerakan launches campaign to highlight traditional kopitiams https://sg.news.yahoo.com/penang-gerakan-launches-campaign-highlight-traditional-kopitiams-070900081.html Hop Hop Kopitiam is a noble effort to rekindle interest in old world charm kopitiams of Penang. But to encourage the X, Y & Z generations to patronise these kopijiams requires more than just a publicity stunt. Make it a hot spot like inviting DAP to play Chinese chess with Gerakan opponents starting with LGE. Any Nora Miao look-alike in Gerakan? Sure an attraction @ Kopitiams for our youth! Bruce Lee would be more than happy to come resurrected! Oh yeah, Superman Hew (of HK Kung Fu craze) also may be… Read more »
zoro
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zoro

what has sia boey has to do with gilakan party and kopitiam? apt to be gila. out of point and vision.

David Loman
Guest
David Loman
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

[email protected] official launching date?

David Loman
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David Loman
gk ong
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gk ong

15 new attractions at The [email protected] including Jurrasic World, will appeal to those families that could not afford overseas trip for this school holidays due to the falling Ringgit. Official opening on 18 December.

David Loman
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David Loman

The 68th floor Komtar Skywalk is officially opened:
http://www.orientaldaily.com.my/north/bm68

zoro
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zoro

Lucky if without developer penang will not have compareabe world class facility like macao bungle jumping sky tower or zhangjiejia get glass skybridge. Skywalk add another attraction. Angmo drink Starbuck coffee long or short bean not kopi. Angmo being daring and is an added tourist attraction. Penang lang need not to fly to macao or china to have the skywalk but can drop by to say Salam to tokong

james k
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james k

If the update is true, it should be considered positive news.

But I still think the Sia Boey Reborn project should be continued – to be a a hub for heritage and arts as planned earlier. They can move the station to the Macallum empty land. Or at Komtar walk as suggested by BCF Pg Forum. If they are listening to the people, they must consider.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

Election is coming too soon.
CAT will press B. to listen & accommodate to public outcry.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Penang planning committee the final arbiter in planning conflicts https://sg.news.yahoo.com/penang-planning-committee-final-arbiter-planning-conflicts-101500744.html Q: Why is the Penang Local Plan still in the oven? Q: What direction is Penang development taking with diverse plans & diverse interests conflicting each other? Q: Can a state develop well & sustainably without an integrated approach based on a master ‘blue print’ i.e. The Penang Local Plan? Q: Is State Planning Committee doing a sincere job of prioritising Penangites’ interest or is it more for realising state gomen’s favoured developers’ fancies? Without a compass, we are heading nowhere or somewhere disastrous! GEORGE TOWN, Dec 8 — The… Read more »
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Penang’s rotting pre-war houses raise ire of heritage buffs https://sg.news.yahoo.com/penangs-rotting-pre-war-houses-061550025.html GEORGE TOWN: A row of six local council-owned pre-war houses here has been left to rot within the heritage enclave, and this has irked civil liberties group and visitors. The state government had announced in June that the structures, at Lebuh Kimberley, were up for restoration – but a check on the dilapidated site today showed that works have yet to start. Penang Heritage Trust council member Clement Liang told the New Straits Times yesterday that the delay by the local authority has tarnished the image of George Town as… Read more »
zoro
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zoro

penang heritage shophouses a fire trap. recent 8 were affected within minutes. after so many years baking in the sun they burn like bbq or satay charcoal.
lucky it is during day time. night habis.

gk ong
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gk ong

The old electrical wiring is also a hazard. We should be thankful that foreign buyers could restore these old buildings to their past glory, and give them a new breathe of economic life to make the old city vibrant once again with activities.

zoro
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zoro

it is electrical dream. otherwise how to sleep peacefully when bright spark can ignite

Renato
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Renato

China to help 1MDB settle multibillion-dollar legal dispute
Troubled Malaysian state investment fund ready to make repayment to Abu Dhabi’s Ipic
https://www.ft.com/content/48689508-b6ae-11e6-ba85-95d1533d9a62

The current dispute between the Abu Dhabi fund and its Malaysian counterpart arose from a bailout deal last year in which Ipic agreed to lend $1bn to 1MDB and assume payments on $3.5bn of the Malaysian fund’s debt. It also forgave some debt that 1MDB owed Ipic. In exchange, the Malaysian fund was to transfer assets to cover the amount of the loan, the assumed debt and the forgiven debt.

David Loman
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David Loman

The Straits Times of Singapore said in July Chinese companies were looking at buying a piece of prime land on Penang island for about RM2 billion, or entering into a joint development deal with 1MDB that would guarantee profits of about RM3.5 billion.

But 1MDB president Arul Kanda said 1MDB would issue a statement at an “appropriate juncture”.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/china-to-help-1mdb-settle-multibillion-dollar-legal-dispute-with-abu-dhabi-financial-times

George Tham
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George Tham

Is it the land at Air Itam?
Maybe more 1MDB development in Penang if BN is returned to power?

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

Selling any Malay owned land is a “buatan pengkhianat”.
But selling Malaysian assets to foreigner power by Naik Jeep is not!
They should reassess their loyalty to the nation…

Soon Fong
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Soon Fong

That is part of the syllabus in BTN.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

But Naik Jeep can flip the BTN like a coin to his urgent needs!
But these folks can’t see too near!

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
This is regarding land use: Something beneath our feet keeps us all alive Read more at http://www.star2.com/living/living-environment/2016/12/06/something-beneath-our-feet-keeps-us-all-alive-soil/ Will farming end after 60 years? Generating just 3cm of topsoil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official told a forum marking World Soil Day in 2014. What’s worse, about a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded, said Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as reported in the Scientific American. “Soils are the basis of life,” said Semedo, the… Read more »
zoro
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zoro

we need you to be macdonal has a farm to do sustainable farming. ye ya ye ya oh.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
zoro
Guest
zoro

yes and you go and tell angmos and koreans in chulia street. why not your non bumi friends too?

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Vision for Penang? Piece meal ad hoc developments are the order of the day from Arrogant Komtar CAT. Tied to any part of Penang Local Plan? My foot! The chameleon shifts of development more in favour of super-expensive projects reflect the state gomen’s super-reliance on development money from developers, who actually made the final-hour calls of what to development in Penang. Greed, zero understanding of heritage conservation (tangible + intangible) & sustainability, & zero integration to a much wider scope of development (made up of ad hoc pockets of development) are threatening to change Heritage Penang into a plastic version… Read more »
zoro
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zoro

penang no vision. vision in belum. why bother to stay in penang? snakeoil belum is better for you

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

Try harder!!!

Sanzai
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Sanzai

All in all. simply ask the no-back-bone Lim Nasty to get out of Penang, forever !!!

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
A change of CM could most probably do Penang better in the future. I fully support Chow Kon Yeow as our next CM as he has in the past bravely ‘tha chheng-chi’ (take the shots on behalf of someone bo-hoot) from angry public concerning disputes & environmental issues. Also, he is more diplomatic in most crisis to come to an amicable solution unlike that Arrogant Niao Kong. Hopefully, the future will see the (political) demise of this Niao Kong which did nothing sustainable for Pg development but instead (allegedly) brought about social engineering (migration of the bo bin-chui Penangites to… Read more »
Ijoe
Guest

the former “vision” is short term greed. Penang doesn’t have the high income jobs to sustain gleaming condos. Wrong focus.

zoro
Guest
zoro

high rise = high income. same with kl with high rise to generate high income. what industries create high income when we are getting the scrums millions to do low paying jobs? now viet congs are also here.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

Hi-rise = high income? You must be joking…!

zoro
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zoro

try harder your goodself go and tell your friends in property development building low rise creates high income and high rise bldgs low income.

Ho Say Leow
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Ho Say Leow

Vulnerable folks due to massive unsustainable development may be a force to reckon with in next state election, and its about time many like Anil to enter politics as independent candidate?

gk ong
Guest
gk ong

Time for Anil to step forward and contribute as as an independent YB. Thumbs up if you agree to lend your support.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
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tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

You will get many volunteers, Anil.

tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6
Guest
tunglang supports Bersih 5 & coming Bersih 6

Anil, don’t wear skirt if you decide to walk on the slippery see-thro’ glass @ The [email protected] 🙂 🙂 🙂

gk ong
Guest
gk ong

The [email protected] opens officially on 18 December. Good news to average and low income families in Penang to enjoy the 15 new attractions, including the Jurassic Research Centre, during this school holiday as low Ringgit no longer permits overseas travel.

Don Anamalai
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Don Anamalai

Thumbs up from me!
But Anil please do not join PCM.