Plans for Penang Hill similar to Berjaya’s proposal?


So are the plans for Penang Hill similar to Berjaya’s original proposal? Politicians and businessmen would do well to recall what really prompted the ‘Save Penang Hill’ campaign in 1990.

Ahmad Chik writes in to clear the air:

I refer to the report in several newspapers today which quoted Dato Ng, BLand’s CEO, condescendingly ” commending the current government for setting up Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) to develop Penang Hill similar to Berjaya’s proposal”.

As someone who was deeply involved with the original ‘Save Penang Hill’ campaign and with Penang Hill ever since, my observations may be pertinent.

I do not recall anything in Berjaya’s original proposal for a set-up similar to the PHC, which was conceived by the present government in consultation with the stake-holders to streamline and to avoid duplication of services on Penang Hill.

He is also wrong when he suggests that PHC will be developing Penang Hill according to Berjaya’s proposal. From what I know everything that PHC has done or plan to do is accordance with the local plan and respectful of the environment very unlike Berjaya’s environmentally insensitive proposal of golf courses, condominiums, shopping malls, hotels and theme parks.

I hope this puts the record straight.

Meanwhile the Consumers Association of Penang refreshes our memory about what really happened 20 years ago:

The Consumers Association of Penang deeply regrets statements by Berjaya Corporation criticising Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon’s administration for decisions made over the Penang Hill project in 1993.

Both Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Berjaya Land’s chief executive officer, Datuk Francis Ng have distorted the facts and have not presented the complete and true picture of what happened as regards the proposed development on the Hill by Berjaya Corporation’s subsidiary, Bukit Pinang Sdn. Bhd in September 1990.

The original plan by the developer involved several large-scale projects involving 900 acres on the Hill that included proposals for two large hotels, a condominium, an ‘Acropolis’ complex on the summit with shopping and sports centre, cinemas and night clubs; over 300 units of houses and chalets; a golf course and other features. A large part of the land area on the Hill is comprised of forested areas and is either located in water catchment areas and forest reserves or is closely connected to them.

Penang Hill is an environmentally sensitive area. The environmental and social implications of such a mommoth project on Penang Hill would have been very severe including deforestation of water catchment forests resulting in landslides, flooding, impacts on water supply for the island and etc. The impacts would extend beyond the Hill to the downstream areas, affecting several hundreds of thousands of communities and the general public.

The announcement of the proposed development by Berjaya in Penang Hill generated a major controversy from the general public of Penang and many public interest groups which led to the formation of an informal grouping called “Friends of Penang Hill” (FPH) that included CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

A public petition campaign was launched by FPH requesting the state authorities to review the project and public forums were held to save Penang Hill from the Berjaya proposal. Due to the campaign’s massive support, the Department of Environment (DOE) invited several groups from FPH to sit on the panel to review the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by the project proponent which led to the rejection of the EIA as it contained many flaws and the developer was asked to scale-down the project.

The developers then submitted another proposal which was allegedly scaled-down but a further scrutiny by FPH showed that the project was not scaled-down but was in fact scaled-up, which led to the EIA once again being rejected by the DOE.

In the meanwhile, the Penang Hill issue became a political issue in the 1990 elections.

The newly elected State Government of Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon met with FPH for a briefing on the project to understand our concerns.

Following these events, the State Government rightly did not give the go-ahead for the Berjaya project and asked the local authority to prepare a local plan for Penang Hill which was also subject to public review and comments.

In view of this, it is unfair of Berjaya to criticize Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon’s government for its decision over the Berjaya plan, when the previous government acted rightly, following the outcry from the people of Penang.

We hope that the recent spate of criticisms of the previous State Government by developers involved in proposals to develop Penang Hill based on distorted facts is not intended to generate public opinion to pressure the current State Government into allowing similar environmentally damaging projects on the Hill.

25 August 2011

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Rush Sam
Rush Sam
30 Aug 2011 2.16pm

Last nite I watched TLC’s ‘Passage to Malaysia’ new segment on ‘The Hi Life’ where the host Denise Keller featured famous hills, mountains and high ground of Malaysia.

Strangely, Bukit Bendera or Penang Hill was not given a mention.

Syiok Syiok
Syiok Syiok
31 Aug 2011 10.21am
Reply to  Rush Sam

Bukit Bendera no mention because the present hill residents selfishly want to keep the Bukit for their own benefits like making loads of RM with their jeep service up the hill.

Ho Hia Tee
Ho Hia Tee
27 Aug 2011 5.07pm

aiyah for once let Penang Hill as it is and let’s savour what Berjaya can offer to Penang’s Tham Chiak Kuis :

27 Aug 2011 9.16pm
Reply to  Ho Hia Tee

Still can’t beat the Ori-Maestros of humble street hawker cuisine in terms of affordability, heavenly recipes and genuine heritage ambience. And no ++ service charge plus
Oh yes, I can still choose to eat anytime and not look at the silly timetable. Must I tell my already hungry stomach to fit someone else’s cooking convenience?

26 Aug 2011 5.20pm

Just build andother casino in Penang hill

27 Aug 2011 7.01pm
Reply to  Yang

Yang, why casino? No la. Can i say Penang Hill needs to be developed a bit otherwise my impression is nothing up there actually.

Yes, build affordable hotels and chalets and of course there must be restaurants too.

And forest parks and beautiful gardens !!!

Golf course, apartments, shopping malls (my goodness), No No la !!! We want more of nature !!!

Cant leave Penang Hill just like that, need to be developed, that is for sure but not a grand one suggested by Berjaya.

Syiok Syiok
Syiok Syiok
31 Aug 2011 10.24am
Reply to  kee

Want casinos in Penang ?
For fast n cheap thrills look for those RM3.35 chain of shophouses (alledgely protected by u know who)
For more luxury, hop onto the boat off the shores of the Pier – can karaoke till you drop n eat till u r high while you throw your dices/hit the jackpot there.

26 Aug 2011 5.19pm

Although THN’s announcement seems like crying wolf, at least there is a positive outcome.

LGE has to publicly assure that ……. “(as reported in the Star) there would be no further projects on the hill after the restoration of Craig Hotel and the building of a new canopy walkway which had been tendered out”. Penangites will take note of this.

Penangites always monitor the state govt (PR or BN) ……… without the need of request from any party or parties ………. and feelings normally made known …………… come Election time.

hanana bt abdulla
hanana bt abdulla
26 Aug 2011 2.50pm

it would appear that the bn machinery is outsourcing its
spin doctor to improve its image and to denigrate all the hard work
and achievements of the pr gomen.

… outfit had been used by … before to
bring down the legitimate perak gomen…

Ric Francis
Ric Francis
26 Aug 2011 2.03pm

I agree with Ahmad Chik,never was a subject corrected by one who knows.You do not live on the Hill and not know what is going on.
Two many so called experts that just get it wrong .Just take the stuff up with the railway that’s causing so much heart ache to try and correct someones mistakes. I will say no more

26 Aug 2011 1.59pm

In today’s papers, LGE clarifies that apart from Crag Hotel and the arboreal canopy, no other development is being proposed. This is as Ahmad Chik points out above. So, much ado over nothing. Teng making noise like an empty vessel. Like suggested in the Aliran letter above, it might well be a ploy by developers to drive their own agenda, tying their own ambitions to Tun Lim Chong Eu’s supposed vision for Penang Hill. Sneaky. Berjaya owns various properties on the hill, and no doubt hopes to be able to reintroduce some grandiose scheme. LGE would be wise to note… Read more »

26 Aug 2011 3.24pm
Reply to  myyertt_hyatt

We already lost the iconic Penang Hill train and antiquated European machineries symbolic of an easy slow ride up the Hill, a world record for hill railway incomparable any where on earth. What are we going to lose some more in Penang Hill? 25 years ago, Penang Hill till the RMAF base was my ideal training route for the 80’s marathons. Today, it is not the same, what with the regular, noisy plying 4WD vehicles and rubbish thrown along the route starting from Botanical Garden. In those earlier days, I could regularly see cobras, squirrels, tortoises, scorpions and Murai birds… Read more »

Ho Hia Tee
Ho Hia Tee
27 Aug 2011 2.40pm
Reply to  tunglang

due to “tamak”, many things u mentioned (I hv witnessed myself) is now irreversible 🙁 🙁 🙁
like Elton John sings – sorry seems to be the hardest word and goodbye yellow brick road.
more reason for you to join bandwagon (tuakee etc) going to “Belum” or elsewhere and leave island penang for those who want to create new icons (don’t blame them),

27 Aug 2011 8.37pm
Reply to  Ho Hia Tee

What right have you to say that? My vision of Penang will never change for the fleeting blink-blink of superficialities or mindless commercialization or soulless prostitution of our heritage and grand parents’ legacies for a depreciating dollar of tomorrow. Penangites with visions know what is right direction to follow, not the animal-greed instinct of the Serengeti wildebeest after glossy materialism make-over which will never stand the test of time. BTW, I love Belum rainforest for its pristine nature and awe-inspiring works of God. Meditating the contrast of ‘stainless’ nature and man-made fallible egos, you will realize the futility of man’s… Read more »

26 Aug 2011 1.22pm

Speaking of CAP, I really do not trust their words nowadays after their claim on the ‘fake eggs’ in Penang not too long ago. CAP regularly makes noise to justify its existence.

As for Penang Hill development, it is natural for development to come about. Let’s look at the proposal from Berjaya first before making all the noise.
26 Aug 2011 8.16pm
Reply to  Rango

Are you a bigot to relook 20 years old Berjaya proposal?

There are many hills in BN state in Johor, see Abdul Ghani dare to approve similar destructive development project in Gunung Ledang or not for Vincent Tan.

LGE will not an idiot, he will not commit political suicide to allow Berjaya to build giant golf course, hotel, night club, etc on Penang Hills.

Muar Ranger
Muar Ranger
27 Aug 2011 12.24pm
Reply to

Not everyone are like you that is old/senior enough to remember events 20 years ago. Even KTK and Kok Ping cannot produce those documents. Please do not be rude in calling people bigot when you are one given the noise you make in your own blog.
27 Aug 2011 10.23pm
Reply to  Muar Ranger

I know the political game played out by BN and Vincent Tan. They wanted LGE and PR to eat dead cat by implying LGE supports Berjaya original plan.

All civil-minded Penangites wholeheartedly opposed Berjaya proposed project two decades ago, and someone with no brain suggested to relook at the same proposal is not bigot, then what is this guy?

BTW, I am not PR supporter, but only PR friendly.

Syiok Syiok
Syiok Syiok
31 Aug 2011 10.30am
Reply to

can we say you toe the line (being friendly here n there n not stand up be counted where you truly belong) like Tan Tee Beng (formerly Gerakan, then PKR now “Independent”) ?
1 Sep 2011 9.21pm
Reply to  Syiok Syiok

It’s that hard to understand that a hard rock cafe in the world heritage core zone and a hard rock cafe in Melaka Ali’s backyard are two different subjects?

Ho Hia Tee
Ho Hia Tee
27 Aug 2011 2.42pm
Reply to

nkkhoo is quite ironic (not iconic, sorry)
he’s against Hard rock hotel at Melaka and yet he has Hard Rock banner in his blog ?
27 Aug 2011 10.24pm
Reply to  Ho Hia Tee

Are you blind to see NO sign symbol?

Syiok Syiok
Syiok Syiok
31 Aug 2011 10.18am
Reply to

why anti Hard Rock chain ?

we love Clapton, Hendrix, Beatles etc.

Tell me where in Muar or Melaka we get to listen to rock n roll in cozy settings besides the rock memorabilas ?