Demolition of shophouses along Magazine Road


The Penang Heritage Trust has come up with the following statement on the demolition of several shop-houses in George Town.

Photos by Penang Media

The PHT regrets the initial demolition by the state government of the traditional shop-houses along Magazine Road which is part of the historic ‘Sia Boey’ enclave.

We had earlier inspected the buildings and spoken to the residents of the area on their invitation. While these buildings are not situated strictly within the heritage enclave (which is bordered by the Prangin Canal), they nevertheless form part of the established communities living and providing services in the inner city.

PHT is very concerned with the rapid depopulation of many precincts in the city which may lead to a completely new population taking over and changing the traditional cultural life of the city. This is a concern that conservation experts in Unesco would definitely share.

We have alerted the YB Chow and appealed to him to consider integrating these buildings and their residents in their proposal to make the Sia Boey area into a public park. There is no reason why these attractive buildings cannot be restored and upgraded and the traditional businesses allowed to carry on in the vicinity of a public park.

PHT has also been working with like-minded group like CHAT (Cultural Heritage Advisory Team) over this issue and several Aduns have also been alerted. We are happy to note that the PDC (the landlords) have finally decided to put this action on hold pending further discussions and investigations ‘unless they become a threat to public safety’.

We hope to convene a meeting with the local authorities and PDC soon future, to discuss a possible development plan that would include revitalising the Prangin Canal area as a recreational public space while integrating the buildings and communities along Magazine Road.

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iefa ridza the penangites

i am agree wid ray…and its all about planning…we need landscape architect to do planning…


Sia-bui is a heritage building. The shop houses there built along the Prangin River, which are the earliest transportation mode in Penang. It is of prime value to conserve the building. KOMTAR is an eyesore, continue of this project is meaningless, especially Georgetown is now a Heritage city, and when Time Square is coming(which will created traffic problem, I wonder why the plan is approved, especially when with the narrow Dato Kramt Road ). KOMTAR will remain the pain of Penang. Look at Germany and other European countries, how they conserve their heritage building. They are the money generating source… Read more »


just demolish the whole of peneng and build new condominium then maybe (state govt) n Nusametro can make money la


I think no point preserving this building. It has no cultural or heritage value, just like Kg Buah Pala. Better demolish and build condominium there.


i agree with kee (and a few others) that ever since unesco’s heritage listing, suddenly everyone is treating everything as gold and heritage! justifying their support on certain things because of penang’s heritage status. ayoh! and whyfunyou was correct – this area had already been ear-marked for demolition years ago when the komtar project started (see, it’s like going back to the previous govt. – BN! who started it). anyway as many said, the houses are already old and worn out, so it is not safe to have them around. if the buildings need to be conserved, they should start… Read more »


It is not difficult to look at good practices all over the world to learn what and what not to do. While Singapore’s approach is regarded by conservationists as property-development led, it’s success is due to its Urban Redevelopment Authority’s ability to get developers and investors to “buy in” its district conservations plans through its Sale of Sites Program. These are conservation areas, comprising rows of shophouses, not individual buildings, which aim at preserving the integrity of the heritage area. ==== What the world heritage status achieved by Singapore so far? None. Singapore is a bad example of heritage preservation.… Read more »


Nkkhoo, it is people like you who are not directly affected in everyday chores can yack like you are a wise person. Please keep it to yourself, do not try to blow your trumpet!!


It is clear that many of those who post comments here are ignorant of town planning, heritage conservation and the values of world heritage sites. I don’t blame them as it reflects the failure of those government departments at the federal, state and local level to inform the public and present a clear vision of how heritage conservation and economic development can be complementary. Indeed politicians also need to be educated on these issues. It is not difficult to look at good practices all over the world to learn what and what not to do. While Singapore’s approach is regarded… Read more »


September 12th, 2009 at 11.38am

Anil, I just wish that only Penangites are allowed to give their comments as it concerns Penang only. All those who are not from Penang, if you do not know the situation please refrain from commenting. It make you all look like fools!


A typical islander parochial mindset.

I am not Penangites, but was stayed in Penang for over 10 years. I can recognize every single road and lane in Georgetown by heart unlike many real Penangites.


We cannot say everywhere in Penang is heritage country. We already have the core of old Georgetown preserved as heritage for all eternity.

What is the purpose of keeping dilapidated eye sores where owners have zero interest to maintain because there is no commercial value in them and the state does not have the monetary resources to expand the heritage zone?

We can only propose that those buildings/structures outside this zone should, as far as possible, be esthetically built to blend into the environment.

Wong Ka Wai

Kepada nkkhoo,

oklah saya di sini minta maaf kepada kamu supaya kamu boleh bebas daripada kebencian. Komen kamu juga saya baca dan renungkan. Sila jangan baca komen saya jika perlu.

Wong Ka Wai

Kepada Mist, isu Kg Buah Pala sudah selesai. Apa yang perlu saya komen telah dibuat pada tajuk yang lalu. Taktik perhubungan awam bagi memburukkan nama DAP dan Pakatan Rakyat tidak lagi berkesan kerana ramai sudah sedar akan hal ini. Sila jangan bertindak memcuba memperkecilkan hakim atau keputusan kehakiman. Ini merupakan tindakan menghina mahkamah dan boleh dipenjara. Kamu sekarang rasa selamat kerana tiada orang memaklumkan hal ini kepada pihak yang berkenaan. Komen anda tiada akan dipadam dalam masa yang singkat kecuali Anil cuba bantu kamu. Jika Anil berkerjasama dengan polis atau Anil dipaksa berkerjasama dengan polis, identiti kamu akan diketahui. Sila… Read more »


That area already mean to demolish since the announcement of Komtar project since 20 years ago.Thus as you can sea what show in pictures, there are no resident stay at there. I wonder how the PHT get invitation from the resident at there? If there are, there are just merely rent at there and not the owner of that area. Since when the owner cannot do anything on their belogings? Currently I wondering how many people who wish to preserve that area are really concern to bring back the glory the Georgetown? does bad shape of trafik, ghost town at… Read more »


Developers’ rulez in Penang with LGE in authority. why must everything old, has to be demolished. what about conserving for our own and future generations.


Frankly, just make a serious study and recording of the colonial architecture of these “heritage” buildings, and rebuilt a new structure with the same frontal facade/design. No use trying to flog a dead horse aka structurally unsound old buildings.


Yes, i agree with Wong Ka Wai, we all need to stand behind Lim Guan Eng, the Pakatan govertment, give DAP our full support in Penang, as i believe DAP deserves a chance to prove itself. Pakatan rules Penang for only a mere 18 month compared to Koh Tsu Koon’s 18 years and yet we criticise LGE so much… Rome is not built overnight. Therefore, I would like to plead to all the Penang people, stand united behind Lim Guan Eng and let us REBUILD Penang. It is not that easy to clear all the mess leave by Gerakan. It… Read more »


Anil, I just wish that only Penangites are allowed to give their comments as it concerns Penang only. All those who are not from Penang, if you do not know the situation please refrain from commenting. It make you all look like fools!
PHT is only doing what they are supposed to do. One question to them: Is there anyone of them living on the island and using that stretch of roads everyday in their course of their work?


kee September 11th, 2009 at 10.18pm I agree with Tommy and Khensthoth. I feel that Penangnites are like a bit crazy now. Since the Unesco listing, Penang people treat everything which is old as gold – heritage. Therefore, need to be preserved. === Let read the dossier submitted by Penang previous government to UNESCO, you will be in shock that almost all old buildings (more than 10,000 units!) inside the heritage enclave are declared heritage. PHT is either overzealous or do not know what they are doing is crazy and overkill. Let use the Pareto principle, preserve 20% selected important… Read more »


“Sebenarnya, kes Kg Buah Pala mempunyai kesudahan yang sebegitu kerana perintah Mahkamah.” –Wong Ka Wai LGE himself had stated that there were elements of fraud. 3 members of his administration had went to file a police report on the same. He set up a committee to investigate these “elements of fraud”. If there were such “elements of fraud” what does justice dictate before these “elements of fraud” were fairly resolved ? The federal court… ruled that the residence/settlers had no legal standing. Darshan singh tried to argue that they do have but the federal court again ruled that legal standing… Read more »


Yes go ahead and preserve any old buildings at ALL COSTS> Spent billions on that. But mate, my area is lack of clean drinking water. I have been drinking teh traik sully FOC by the gomen. My roads are worst that East Timor with pot holes. The garabage are not properly dumped. I live under the fear of dengue and pig flu. The transport is very congest and the air qaulity is very bad. So never, we can still live under such conditions and spent Billions to perserve the heritage but allow the air and water environmemt to go rot… Read more »

Wong Ka Wai

Saya sudah baca pautan yang dipos oleh khensthoth,

memang Kerajaan Pulau Pinang dibuli. Kepada setiap pengkritik kepada Ketua Menteri YAB Lim Guan Eng, sila insaf dan ingat kesusahan kerajaan negeri sekarang.

Wong Ka Wai

Kee kata:

I think you all should visit Kedah, the kampong that i came from is exactly like Kg Buah Pala.

Betul, kampung saya di Pahang juga sama seperti Kg Buah Pala. Saya rasa kampung saya ini pun sama dengan kampung-kampung lain di Malaysia. Tiada nilai warisanlah.


… but up to date he just has no plan but blame the federal government for not allocating RM25million for conservation purpose.


LGE’s accusation is true. Melaka also got the fund promised by Pak Lah.


I believe Penang government is overkilled for protecting too many pre-second war buildings in Georgetown as the world heritage.

Macau authorities did not declare all old buildings in the heritage zone as the world heritage unlike Penang.

Not all old buildings are having good historical values, selective protection on important few is much better and effective than a full blanket protection on every old buildings.



You forget that Penang’s heritage status is about the “living heritage of Penang”

Would you condemn fellow Penangites to live in buildings on the verge of collapse?

Get real please! I’m sure you have evolved as a better being than years back so why can’t you allow others to do the same?