This is no rumour.
I was reading an article by Raja Petra of Malaysia Today about Abdullah Badawi, Patrick Lim and rumours that someone had forwarded to me – when suddenly, the phone rang.
It was a guy, Tajudin, from Fox Communication.
Fox is the firm handling the PR for Patrick Lim’s Penang Global City Centre mega project. Lim is of course the executive chairman of Equine Capital, which is also involved in another project on mainland Penang – the 450-acre mixed residential and commercial development in Batu Kawan known as the Crescentia project. Crescentia, close to where the proposed second bridge is located, has an estimated gross development value of RM860 million. We are talking big bucks here.
Anyway back to the PGCC project. We are talking even bigger bucks here.
Tajudin was under the impression that I was the one coordinating on the NGO side the meeting between activists and the PGCC developers, which Lim wants to address on 10 Sept, just two days before the official project launch.
Whatever gave Tajudin that idea?
In the first place, I believe the Penang NGOs are none too thrilled about the project. And I don’t think they are terriby impressed at the thought of being “consulted” on the eve of the project launch when the project has been on the drawing board for four years.
Tajudin wanted a list of the Penang NGOs and their contacts. I didn’t have such a list, I told him. And besides, why should we make life easier for Fox – especially when they are being well paid for their spin job?
“Why does Fox want to meet the NGOs?” I asked him.
Well, we want to tell them about the project so that they know what it’s all about.
“Why don’t you tell the public about the project?” I countered.
“Oh, we will be doing that over the media,” he said.
In that case, the NGO activists can read the media too, I told him. No need for a special meeting. In any case, what’s the point of being consulted when we don’t even know the details of the project?
Tajudin was not getting anywhere with me.
Out of curiosity, I asked him where this “meeting” with Patrick Lim would take place.
He replied that the tentative venue was “The Mansion” in Penang.
A-ha! My PR guru friend was right to predict that they would want to hold such a meeting in a posh place – I suppose they might also throw in good food and nice girls, just as PR Guru had foretold.
The Mansion is a heritage building – just the sort of setting to convey the right (heritage conservation) message to the activists. Sorta kill two birds with one stone.
What I would like to ask Patrick Lim is how come he is so sure about this project. Has an Environmental Impact Assessment report been done? Or is that just a formality, eh? Are there ways of side-stepping the EIA process by developing the project on a piecemeal, phase-by-phase basis?
Anyway, if the activists were to attend such a meeting it would only allow Fox to claim that they had “consulted” the NGOs – when we all know this is going to be an eyewash.