Angry Penangites speak out against PGCC


Sentiment against the PGCC is clearly running high, judging from the angry and disgusted comments I have been receiving from concerned Penangites.

Here’s a sample of comments:

Regarding the sale of the Turf Club land, the sale of the Batu Kawan land etc:

What exactly was the role of the Penang Development Corporation in all this?

How did rank outsider Patrick Lim get the better of Ananda Krishnan, who was eyeing another KLCC-type deal, in acquiring the Turf Club land?

Who chairs the PDC Board? Who decides on re-zoning? It’s time the State government came clean on this, don’t you think?

The PDC or its chairman and the Chief Minister should be invited to the PGCC Campaign forum this Sunday to explain the role of the state in this project.

Another reaction: Past, present and future…

In 1974 an article in Far Eastern Economic Review described Penang Island’s brave new world:

.. by the end of this decade a traveller will be able to …speed across the 4-mile bridge to Penang Island, there linking up with a north-south expressway running along the east coast, mainly on reclaimed land. This means the traveller will have a quick access to either the new Penang International Airport, the new Bayan Lepas Township to the south, or to a new focal point of the city – visible for miles because of its 45-storey rounded skyscraper centre piece (Komtar) (Stockwin, 1974).

2007 – 2023

.. three years post the Wawasan 2020 deadline a traveller will be able to …speed across TWO 4-mile bridges to Penang Island, unless they stop for makan in the middle of one, there linking up with a north-south expressway running along the east coast, mainly on reclaimed land. This means the traveller will have a quick access to either the new Penang International Airport, the new Bayan Lepas Township to the south, or to a new focal point of the PENANG GLOBAL CITY CENTRE obscured by 38 towers and a whole load of other unimaginative nondescript concrete monolithic blocks – The rounded skyscraper centre piece of 65 storeys, now almost 50 years old, will remain the only visible icon of ‘development’ (??2007).

Yet another reaction: re the public forum on the implications of the PGCC

9.30 am, Sunday, 7 Oct at Dewan Sri Pinang, Rooms A/B/C

(The PGCC developer has indicated that none of its reps will be attending)

Hypocrites: all that bull about wanting to meet the NGOs and the community. All they wanted to do was to meet small groups and manipulate the subsequent ‘news’ using their lackeys in the media.

And the YDP has denied saying that he wanted a public hearing. Meanwhile back in the ranch, the CM is keeping mum, in spite of several letters to remind him to send a representative to the forum.

One concerned Penangite has come up with several slogans:


While another long-time Penang resident has coined a couple of new names for the PGCC:

PGCC – Tombstone City (not a few people have remarked that the model of the 40 towers resembles a graveyard).

PGCC – Penang Graveyard and Crematorium City (The Bukit Gantung crematorium is next door.)

With so many disgusted Penangites around, it is perhaps no wonder that the developer is reluctant to face the Penang public in an open forum.

Finally check this out:

PGCC – Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete.

Written by Timothy Tye of AsiaExplorers.

I will call this project Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete. Like soaring mesas, Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete will sprout concrete towers, some over fifty stories tall. There will be 40 of them or perhaps more, in Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete. Unlike the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Penang’s artificial version will have people living in them. Thousands of unfortunate souls who thought they have bought a piece of the Malaysian Dream, only to have reality dawn on them every morning, when they inch their way to work, through the massively crowded Scotland Road and Jalan Utama (both transformed each morning to look like parking lots than roads; a scene with an encore later in the evening). An alternative is for these commuters to pay toll and inch onto the new Penang Outer Ring Road (which will probably also be jammed). Every evening they inch their way home again, to expire into one of many nondescript pigeonholes of Penang’s Grand Canyon of Concrete.

And what has happened to Komtar, the PGCC of the 1980s and 1990s? According to AsiaExplorers again:

The list of negative issues resulting from Komtar is indeed a long one. To make way for Komtar, whole streets and neighbourhoods were erased without much regard to its consequence. This wholesale displacement of the population from the city core results in a dead town around Komtar. This includes Gladstone Road and the original Cheong Fatt Tze Road (Hong Kong Street was renamed Cheong Fatt Tze Road thereafter). The transfer of the bus and taxi terminal into Komtar and the lack of space for buses and taxis contributed further to traffic congestion and pollution.

The economy slowdown of the late 90’s exerted a heavy toll on Komtar. Both its anchor tenants, Yaohan and Super Komtar departmental stores, succumbed to financial difficulties, subsequently closing down. Without a good anchor tenant, Komtar is incapable of holding on to the title of premier shopping destination. A poor track record of maintaining the building further compounds the problems, resulting in a run-down, smelly, garbage-strewn structure with many dark, deserted nooks. This makes the whole complex all the more unattractive to potential tenants. In a way, all the problems caused by and resulting from Komtar is a shameful reflection of the aimless way that Penang is being governed – indeed the state of Komtar can be compared to the general state of abandoned shophouses around George Town.

…At the time that Komtar was being constructed, a foreign critic noted that this tower will stick out like a sore thumb over the city…

Well, if you thought one sore thumb sticking out of Penang was bad enough, wait till you see 40 of them!

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11 Dec 2008 8.41am

Penangites need to free their state from KLCC type of deals, those are not suitable for this tiny island’s eco-geological environment and terrain.

29 Oct 2008 5.28pm

saya sokong kalau PGCC di bina di Penang. Come on Malay,chinese and indian to cooperate bg membangunkan malaysia ke persada dunia…

16 Nov 2007 11.39am

I suspect the PR folks are doing their level best to put positive comments about this project in all the blogs/websites related to the project which they can find.

16 Nov 2007 11.24am

Saya berdoa agar PGCC berjaya kerana untuk generasi masa depan . Inilah peluang kita untuk melihat Penang setanding dengan bandaraya di dunia yang lain.

Ong Eu Soon
Ong Eu Soon
29 Nov 2007 11.14am

The REAL PROBLEM of PGCC REVEALED The Penang Turf Club is an area regularly prone to flooding. Use of geologically or environmentally sensitive areas for high density development as proposed by the PGCC will have adverse impacts on the surrounding ares especially in term of flood control. Drastic alterations of a ground surface, such as compaction or paving can reduce the infiltration capacity of a surface, which can cause a serious reduction in groundwater recharge and an increase in runoff. The proposed development density of nearly 30 units to an acre may result in increased cost to local governments and… Read more »

8 Oct 2007 1.03am

You didn’t know that Komtar will be salvaged as swiftlet housing that will boost the Penang state coffer?

6 Oct 2007 11.45pm

Terimakasih, Feena. atas prihatin sdri. Ada pihak yang telah nampak pelan projek ini – dan dari situ jelas kelihatan 40 menara… banyak di antaranya melebihi 40 tingkat. Cuba tanya pihak developer.

Feena Rasol
Feena Rasol
6 Oct 2007 10.20pm

Saya sokong dengan Pigeon. Saya cadangkan saudara Anilnetto buat petition bagi mereka yang membantah dan marah dengan pembinaan PGCC. Saya sebagai umum begitu terpanggil dengan hujah-hujah saudara dan juga NGO lain yang menyuarakan pandangan dan bantahan keras terhadap pembinaan ini. Saya harap dapat lihat sejauh mana kebenaran rakyat Pulau Pinang benar-benar tidak setuju. Ini kerana, saya terfikir jika majoriti Penangite membantah kenapa mereka tidak ramai-ramai keluar membantah sama ada didalam penulisan mahupun demo aman. Saya lihat, semasa NGO dikatakan berkumpul didepan majlis bandaran untuk membuat demo yang ada cuma 7 orang yang memegang satu banner. Jadi adakah ini sebenarnya yang… Read more »

Sing Lin
Sing Lin
5 Oct 2007 5.57pm

Oh? the Forum will be changed to 9.30a.m?
My studiomates will be joining in on the ‘fun’ this sunday. will u be there as well?
this is going to be SO interesting…

6 Oct 2007 4.26am

Perhaps you would like to organise a petition, collect as many as signatures you can find. And look for Penanglites within and outside Batu Gantung. While it could be a futile exercise, it’s also a good assessment of sentiments toward the PGCC in the state. Cite other examples in the country (i.e. Kuala Lumpur) on the effects of disorganised urbanisation on older cities. Relegate petitioning work all over the state. Go door to door. This is a matter more important to Penanglites, native or former, than any others in the rest of the country. I for one wouldn’t want to… Read more »