Demolish first, talk later?


More demolition of shophouses appears to be underway this weekend to make way for Komtar phase 5, sparking outrage in heritage circles. The George Town World Heritage Inc office had earlier commissioned a study of the heritage significance of the area.

Was that just lip service to keep NGOs at bay? Why the age-old tactic of weekend demolition work? Why the demolish first, talk later attitude? This suggests something is not right.

In the past, PDC had complained the shophouses were derelict but heritage activists argue that government agencies or local authorities, as landlords of public property, should not have let them fall into disrepair in the first place: if they are unsafe, make them safe!

Demolition is not the answer. Remember the illegal demolitions next to a hotel in town for a joint-venture project?

It looks as if those responsible have a habit of clearing these areas to make way for other ambitions. They seem to be out of touch with what makes a city great. Maybe it’s time they attended some of the Think City talks on urban futures.

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Komtar started Penang’s experience with the traffic jam. JICA, the Japanese consultants who advised MPPP, had said the same things many years in a row: that for a left-side driving public, you should be passing a huge magnet like Komtar on your left, rather than on your right like you do now. The same architect who designed Komtar resisted. So the roads converge, and left traffic fights with right, and every trip to Komtar requires a clash of natural vehicular flows. Traders Hotel [previously Shangrila] must be the only hotel of its ilk with the coach doors opening on the… Read more »

Andrew I

A very truthful assessment, mooosh. Unfortunately, we can’t vote Komtar out. As you say, we can only work around this aberration. LGE’s efforts, though not without merit, are not having their intended consequences, I feel. With I Avenue just around the corner representing the “new toilet”, Penangites are basically spoiled for choice of air conditioned spaces to lounge around in. There are so many malls and very few bags in sight that it becomes mind boggling how shops can even survive. Times Square? Let’s not even go there, no pun intended. Something has to be done about this laissez-faire attitude… Read more »

G Jenkins

yep the public need to see the local plan which may or may not suggest reversing the traffic flow around Komtar – If we have a local plan exhibited to the public then this idea can be put forward. Ignoring the public in the planning process, especially more wordly/experienced/informed public, could be a mistake. Look what happened when the Penang HIll development reached the ears of the public… OOPS.
and as for the trees ripped up for that failed Komtar Walk – they are all huddled in one corner behind the public toilet!


If Penang Gomen is politically willing enough, get the duty free status back to Penang, and we will see a magic transformation for all these shopping malls. Presently there are not that many free spending high income shoppers vis a vis shopping malls to make it a happy profitable equilibrium for business owners at these shopping malls. With ever reduction of spending power, no thanks to Barang Naik Shiok Shiok, don’t blame the Penangites for window shopping only. Who doesn’t want to enjoy free air con in leisure? So the solution is to reduce the price of goods thro’ duty… Read more »

Andrew I

I’m not blaming them for window shopping. What I don’t understand is why allow so many malls to be built when they’re not being fully utilized? Imagine the amount of electricity needed to keep these spaces cool.

It’s the blatant waste that I find unacceptable. It’s not about making a profit or not. Look at the perishable sections in hypermarkets. We just don’t have that kind of demand and yet this is allowed to continue.


Komtar was a mistake; it’s a blight on Penang’s fair face, an aberration amidst the rich tapestry of her architectural past. It was a pompous statement made by an architect who erringly thought that was the way of the future. There would have been some saving grace if this “modern” development in the sea of old, graceful shophouses had design coherence rather than slap-dash bits of jarring incongruity and bad spaces, had considered the pedestrian, had sought to integrate the tropics and nature in its spaces with pedestrianised skystreets, spaces that thrill and elevate and complement Penang’s lifestyle and weather… Read more »

Ong Taik kheng

Hi Anil, The buildings (opposite the Prangin Market) were left in a depleted state many years ago. As a matter of fact, the houses along Jalan Magazine were half demolished many years too and have been an eyesore. If my memory serves me right, along this row of shop house stood a Nine Emperor God temple that has since relocated to Macallum Street Ghaut. In my opinion, convserving heritage buildings is welcome but I can’t say much for those demolished buildings in Jalan Prangin. Are they a lost to the heritage cause? I beg to differ caused I grew up… Read more »


My statement was meant for decent and upright politicians… definitely not meant for corrupted and dubious creeps in UMNO!…obviously, a cherry picker like you. Remember, any development done with honorable intention for the betterment of the city and the rakyat is praise worthy and deserve support! By the way Gerakan K, Petronas is our national source belongs free to Malaysians!!


Geraka K, is there nothing in there for you?…. Sometimes, if you chakup, chakup too much, you will not get things done. UMNO (plundered) the nation unjustifiably, why the stone silence. This remind me of the Democratic Movement in Hong Kong. They allowed the British to treat them (badly) for 200 years! When the Chinese took over, they were making all the noises…. Look at how Singapore grew and became a beautiful Island city developed by the PAP govt…don’t you see the similarity? As long as no corruption is involved, the action taken is justified!..proposal a better way,or, forever zip… Read more »

Gerakan K

Gila !!!

Your statement: “As long as no corruption is involved, the action taken is justified”

Using your logic, can we sell Petronas for RM2 as long as no corruption is involved ???

Where is CAT ??? Still sleeping or what ???

By the way, who knows that there is no corruption in any project ???

Andrew I

When something which is supposed to cost 1billion ends up costing 4.

Andrew I

Don’t forget lots of new investment the angel government has brought in, thanks to TI:

You know, Gherkin K, people might begin to think you’re really a troll if you don’t give any input when the subject is not political. If it’s any consolation, I prefer you to Komentenmelodie. At least, you don’t pretend to be knowledgeable.

Gerakan K

Issues in politics are more interesting and for man. Other “mak cik” issues like in-law problems ( * LOL * ), best foods in Penang ( * sorry, no free promotion for those stalls/food vendors * ) are best for old folks here and certainly not for me. Oh, to make your Sunday happier, there is rare good news for that angel government: The Star today reported that those houses for ex-Kg Buah Pala people are ready in June. Thumbs up for the developer. My thumbs down still unchanged to that angel government for not keeping their promise to save… Read more »

Andrew I

Other “mak cik” issues like in-law problems ( * LOL * ), best foods in Penang ( * sorry, no free promotion for those stalls/food vendors * ) are best for old folks here and certainly not for me.

Do your grandkids call you Peter Pan?


Some homosapiens are half-developed, semi-‘cultivated’ or has never lived the normal phases of life stages. These are poorly guided or jarred in their courses of human interaction which is a journey for our wholesome MESP (mental, emotional, spiritual & physical) improvement. The lack of any essential part of MESP will impair his or her jaded view or self-aggrandized perception of a balanced living. This is also true in our so-called advanced-beyond-reproach society of the materialistic standards of E-Games, shopping malls and flashy lifestyles of the rich and famous. The good old cultures of the 50’s and 60’s of our simple… Read more »

Gerakan K

They call my English name.

Andrew I

Willy or John Thomas?

Gerakan K

Yes, that angel government can talk later. Just talk. Just like lottery ban reversal talk.

Just talk. That is all. That is what they are extremely good at.