More buildings for Penang Botanic Garden!


The draft Special Area Plan for the Penang Botanic Garden reveals plans for at least three more major concrete structures in the Garden.

The three buildings under the plans are a Visitors’ Centre, a multi-storey car park, and a so-called ‘Eco-friendly Garden Convention and Activity Building’.

Say what? A convention building right smack in the garden?

This is in addition to the ugly new concrete administration building recently completed.

And is the Visitors’ Centre really necessary? Why would visitors to the garden spend time at the centre when they can experience the gardens straight away, which is what most people would want to do. The Garden only needs sturdy informative display boards and maps at various strategic locations.

By the way, the Visitors’ Centre at the entrance envisages a ‘ticketing office’.

A ticketing office? For the Garden or the Visitors’ Centure? We don’t have many large parks in Penang and the Garden has doubled up as a recreation area. And now a ticketing office? Want to emulate Singapore? Well, admission to the Singapore Botanic Gardens is FREE. So too the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.

And a multi-storey car park (after the Kancil car park experience)? If car-park space is a problem, how about a shuttle bus service during peak hours from various points outside the Garden?

Why this urge to put up more buildings in our precious garden area? More contracts to be dished out?

Although the Garden is to be expanded from 72 acres to 598 acres, much of the expanded area is made up of hilly land, whereas the flat land, which most visitors use, is very limited. And they want to put up more concrete structures here. Sigh… maybe the sign at the entrance should read, “Welcome to the Penang Concrete Jungle”.

That said, the draft plan envisages the removal of the Shooting Club from the Garden. This is something we should support. A shooting club next to a botanic garden? Don’t ask me how that happened.

Download the Executive Summary (in pdf format) of the Special Area Plan from the Friends of the Penang Botanic Garden Society website.

One month is too short for the public to submit objections. Most people are not even aware the draft Plan is out. Two or three months would be more like it.

At the moment there is no provision for feedback via email. You have to print out the feedback form (available on the Society’s website), fill it up, and submit the hard copy.

In this day and age, when Penang is supposed to be an “intelligent city”, why is feedback by email not allowed? Don’t we want as many people as possible to respond?

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jenny teh

inside the garden,i cant even found 1 washing tub,or water tap to wash our hand,unless u go to the public tiolet.Penang water is the cheaper of all,water from the hill is even free, u must pay 30sen just to wash your hand.

ong eu soon

What do you expect from someone who doesn’t has any single ideas but want DEVELOPMENT? The glazing different between BN and LGe is that he does it willingly without bribery. Guess who is worst?


Casual tourists like to experience Nature with less hassle of trekking gears and sweating in the tropical sun. Why not build a canopy walk from the top of Penang Hill that winds thro’ the thick hundred feet tall trees and ends at the Botanic Garden? The downhill walk will bring Nature up close and personal like bird watching in a pleasant experience in the shades without the puffing under the sun unlike the hike up the tar road to 84. And at certain vantage points, one can enjoy panoramic views of Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, and of course to… Read more »


I asked around about the project of PBG, and some susgest that why not build some chalets as this can generate funds for PBG for maintenance and upkeeps of the garden. I think it is a good idea to get up in the morning surrounded by the greens and the running waters in the stream, and also the chirping sounds of the birds in the forest with a cup of coffee…hmnnn a getaway for the city folks for the weekends or for holiday makers, why not? A convention centre in the Garden, NO NO !!! Maybe an entrance fee need… Read more »


Our Waterfall Gardens was mainly the work of one man, Charles Curtis. There had been actually two other earlier attempts to create them, at other locations. Curtis’s driving force, his foresight and genius, carved out the present gardens from the jungle and a nutmeg plantation. “The origins of Curtis’ ideas as to the landscape design and laying out of the Gardens is unclear… His crafting of the Gardens displays… a keen sense of design and aesthetic considerations. This… is evident in his articulation of a design vision for the Gardens upon his arrival in George Town. This conclusion is reinforced… Read more »


Surely its only fair to pay for what u use. Why should those who enjoy concrete also pay for your garden anil? A little extreme but makes a point i hope.


Please please nothing is free nowadays
We have to look forward not backward, Lets be realistic !!! Surely you do not forever want to be having attap or wooden houses just to blend with nature. Moreover there are already concrete buildings build a hundred years ago so whats the fuss of a few more building for administration or security purpose.


I agree that wooden houses may no longer be practical for use in such cases due to the scale and capacity involved. And I agree that nothing is free nowadays. However, the funds used for the maintenance and development of PBG comes from the state, whose income comes from the rakyat. They have already paid for the maintenance and use of facilities such as public parks (in this case), roads, public areas etc. through the various taxes they pay periodically and even daily. How can they be then charged again? Just like it would be highly unreasonable if say you… Read more »


A garden is a serene place to unwind, to connect with Nature and to recuperate from the stresses of modern, materialistic living. Then why add more concrete symbolism of stresses to Penang Botanic Garden? Penang Botanic Garden is the only true nature garden with hundred years history and a reputation as one of South East Asia’s pristine botanic garden. We are privileged to own a rainforest garden with species of rare flora (including herbal plants) and fauna that don’t exist in other parts of the world. In recent years, notwithstanding the 80’s when I used to run daily in this… Read more »


I’m not sure if they intend to charge admission fees, but if they do then I hope it will only be for foreign tourists, or tour buses. The fact is that the botanic gardens has up till now not been able to sustain its own operations – with a low operational budget (and no qualified botanists or passionate administrators) and zero income, it cannot progress from being a third rate gardens – a real shame considering it is one of the oldest in the region. As for the multi storey car park, I think the plan is to remove the… Read more »


Pg Botanic Garden can operate night visiting for the adventurous ones. Night wildlife observation is different and exciting.
And this can add revenues from guided trail tours for added safety reason.
BG once allowed cars to enter the garden but most went in for other ‘earthly’ desires other than to see the amorous frogs or the early-night bees!


Sure a car park is very much needed and I don’t think anyone here is disputing that fact. But the location of the car park has to be chosen carefully. You do not want the car park to be inside or right next to the gardens surely. It has to be outside so that once ppl enter the garden, they do not have to worry about traffic and we can have a green and zero-emissions garden. Regarding funding, like all state departments, funds come from the state government (which have been making record surpluses every year). Ultimately, these funds belong… Read more »

Ong Ong

Who say the garden need ticketing system? Who say need to pay one? ALADUHAINYA. == == == == == the visitor centre is just a welcoming area and a wall to hide the secret and beauty of the botanical garden behind. this create a suspense for the visitor, let them guess and later they will slowly explore the true beauty for it. NOT BAD WHAT. you build the building there, but din cut down tree also what, only affect the GRASSSSS. build back the trees on the building and replace lo. the visitor centre perhaps can house locker room, and… Read more »


Ong Ong, I think you missed reading some parts of the proposal. It clearly states that there will be a ticketing office. Well one can only assume that a ticketing office sells tickets, presumably for entry into all or maybe just certain parts of the gardens. Either way, restricting access to the gardens by imposing charges just isn’t fair esp to those who cannot afford it. But yet whose money has been used to build, enhance and maintain the park. Having a visitor’s centre is one thing, but charging for entry is another issue altogether and I think everyone here… Read more »

Ong Ong

Oops my bad. Sorry didn’t see. But then I will sure object collecting fee for entrance to garden. What if the ticketing is for the event at the convention area?? ?? U shud state this possibility too….


Good point. It could very well be that you are right. Therefore the proposal should have been more detailed and thorough so that people may provide valid and logical feedback during this objection period. Based on the current plans provided, nobody is sure of anything. People are just making guesses.


Well, I cannot object to the extra building planned because there is simply insufficient information about it and its ‘eco-friendliness’. Moreover, these building are all located outside the gardens proper and except for the convention centre, seem to be directly related to botany and may be of interest to the wider population too. The Singapore BG too has conservatories and a mist house. If implemented correctly, they could serve as an attraction, so long as the gardens proper that we have now is not touched anymore. The car park, if indeed multistorey, is planned too close to the gardens and… Read more »


I agree with SamG Kampung styled wooden structures would be a better idea BUT it still doesn’t make any sense. The Botanic Garden is beautiful the way it is..just revam certain area..nothing major lah. Definately no need to build a convention center. Like Ravi said…we have the Esplanade to hold mass events. And this undersea tunnel proposal..that too should be scrapped off! (Although I’m aware this is probably not the right place to comment on it) Penang doesn’t need these mega projects…what we have is adequate to meet the demands of our small island. DAP..oh DAP..cmon, please prove to us… Read more »

Penang Voter

Instead of concrete, go for ‘wood structures’ to blend into the botanic environment with the minimal destruction of the surrounding trees. If possible, build around the trees. Whoever designed this must be …!!!!!


If any more buildings are being put up, why not pure Kampung style wooden huts or structures? Why concrete?
At least wooden structures will blend with the environment


this is what PR hasnt learnt from BN’s mistakes…..the people doesnt want to see more and more buildings to be erected…havent these guys learn about what has happened throughout the world…guess they are in their air cond room most of the times..n we have to suffer under the hot sun…and i wonder if they are really serious about cleaner, greener penang?? next, the unnecessary third link tunnel will be built…


From the feedback i get, most people are for the tunnel …


Leave Botanical Garden alone…


Anil, please identify whether this project is by the Penang state government or Putra Jaya. Thank you.

Ravi Vijaya

I was there at the launch. The project is by the PG state govt lah, not Putridjaya. I agree with Leena. How are unnecessary concrete buildings in the Botanic Gardens, eco friendly? Why on earth a convention center?! And why another building to sell tickets we shouldn’t be buying? The state is clearly confused. It seems to look at everything from a business perspective; even the natural assets of the Botanic Gardens which the public should enjoy as a right. To quote a friend: “A botanic garden is a botanic garden and should remain as a botanic garden. It is… Read more »

Din Yunus

I wonder if Leena and Ravi is living in the caves somewhere in Penang to be environmentally friendly.

ong eu soon

The planners and the CM should be sent back to stone age since they like concrete so much.


DAP showing its true capitalist colour…


Tan, you should appreciate that at least DAP made it public for feedback not like BN government, which you have NO say at all, betul ?


What the hell are they thinking? HOW THE F— IS THIS ECO FRIENDLY?!

now i’m really angry.

obviously, there is a ticketng system to cover the cost of this building. such a waste. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE ?!

I’m printing out the form and sending it to back to them via poslaju! I’m so fed up with this eco friendly BS.