A second Speakers Corner was opened in Penang, this time on the mainland, on the same day as Anwar’s acquittal on Monday.
More photos at rajauda.com.
The MPSP had spent some RM700000 to restore the unkempt 6500-square-metre open space, now known as Tugu Kota Demokrasi Bagan Park, at Taman Cantik (near the Petronas station along Jalan Permatang Pauh) in Mak Mandin, Butterworth (see map for directions from the ferry terminal). (I wonder why not at the Butterworth esplanade in Bagan though.)
From what I hear, anyone can speak on at any time (until 10.00pm), any day. It might be better to have designated days and time, so that people know when speakers are likely to be holding court. Perhaps it can coincide with the Kedah weekend as well to make it easier for folks from the neighbouring state to check out the action. (The Speakers’ Square on the island is open on Wednesdays and Sundays, but most of the crowd is there on Sundays.)
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was reported in The Star as saying that an anonymous private company had sponsored RM600000 to develop the park under their corporate social responsibility programme.
Which private company is this?
During the ground-breaking ceremony last year for the second Speakers’ Corner, the state government’s website reported Guan Eng as announcing that MMC-Gamuda would be sponsoring RM607000 as part of its CSR programme.
MMC-Gamuda had run into problems in the last few years with the Penang state government over its railway double-tracking programme. It was fined RM7.4m in 2009 (Bernama).
According to latest company Annual Reports, Syed Mokhtar Shah bin Syed Nor Al-Bukhary has a 51 per cent indirect interest in MMC, while among the substantial shareholders of Gamuda is Raja Dato’ Seri Eleena binti Raja Azlan Shah.
Hmm … I can’t help thinking about what happened in Perak. Maybe Perak can now have a Speakers’ Corner under the fabled Democracy Tree.