Botanic Garden deteriorates again after Tengku Idaura leaves


Tengku Idaura’s short stint as ‘pengarah’ of the Penang Botanic Garden was “truly outstanding in the face of little official support, no expert botanist staff, despite many requests, and often virtual daily insubordination”.

The Garden was in turmoil when she took over. According to the Penang Forum:

The public in Penang were outraged at the obliteration of the Formal Gardens, the mismanagement of the Fern House, the construction of meaningless and inappropriate structures throughout the previously pristine site, the bambusetum with no bamboo, the eco-stream walk that resembled a neglected drain, the general lack of maintenance and the non-existence of any botanic enhancement, expansion or progress. Coupled with this was a total abandonment of any pretense of public participation, committee consensus or expert consultation.

Thanks to Tengku Idaura’s efforts,

… the Formal Gardens have been re-installed, the Herb Garden has been protected from pillaging wild boar, the Fern House is looking quite respectable, the Botanika Shop has been renovated and upgraded and is all set for a whole new era, the main entrance has been cleared of old bus stops, telephone booths and various paraphernalia, new interpretation signs have been put up, the site of the arches has been re-engineered and most importantly, no new structures have been allowed to be built.

But with few capable dedicated staff to support her, Tengku Idaura left. And who can blame her? Two months have passed – and what has happened?

already the lily ponds at the entrance are covered with a film of water fungus, the water is stagnant and the plants are slowly but surely deteriorating, the show-piece of giant Amazonian Lilies have not been fertilized and are shrinking instead of expanding, the eco-stream walk is filled with rubbish, as is the storm drain next to the lily ponds.

The lack of maintenance culture is rearing its ugly head with fallen branches and trees lying unattended for weeks, hawkers are starting to come back to the entrance, banners are starting to be put up illegally, the so-called Visitor Centre continues to have no electricity and no qualified botanists or experts have been formally appointed to take over the helm of the Gardens.

Penang Forum has urged the relevant authorities to immediately appoint a qualified and competent person to head the Gardens. And a qualified botanist on contract if necessary or second an experienced administrator to helm the Gardens or change the Gardens portfolio to another Exco member.

It’s incredible that the Botanic Garden does not have a qualified botanist when the Singapore equivalent has a whole team of them.

See the full statement on the Penang Forum website.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 Nov 2011 8.18am

maintenance money was spent at Garden Show in England where only the selected 1% can afford to be there while the 99% over in Malaysia not able to ?
You call that cuti-cuti when the penang gardens is such a mess without federal fund to upkeep it ?
now you know where my vote goes to

Nk Khoo
4 Nov 2011 1.16am

I did suggest to LGE send his tourism exco to Sri Lanka to see himself how a third-world country can maintain a first-world gardens. Sri Lankan government was also facing shortage of fund during the civil war, but the gardens were still well maintained. This Royal Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka is 10 times better and larger than Penang Botanical Gardens.,_Sri_Lanka It’s time to collect entrance fee to support the gardens daily operation like Sri Lanka, where it hired 450 staff to maintain the gardens. The gardens charge foreigners 10 times more than local people. I paid local… Read more »

3 Nov 2011 11.09pm

What seems lacking is the culture of maintenance and responsibility @ work. Just walk around in your morning walk, you will come across lepak culture at obscure corners not consistent with gardening or agro culture. And piles of thrash greens waiting to be taken away are left for the ants to build nests. If we want to pride ourselves as having the oldest Botanic Garden in South East Asia, then keep it in good maintenance and beauty. A garden is no place for half-hearted works or 9-5 no sweat work. Just compare it with Youth Park and the MPPP gardeners… Read more »

5 Nov 2011 10.32am
Reply to  tunglang

why move to Belum when a nature/heritage lover like you can work wonders at botanical garden after retirement ?

just make sure you don’t introduce picnickin with street food at the gardens. this is bcoz penangites like to litter except at home.

think of such option and remain staying in the island – firstly approach penang nature society …….

5 Nov 2011 7.53pm
Reply to  Josh

Actually I had plans for Penang Botanic Garden and Teluk Bahang theme park while working simultaneously on Penang Street Food Museum Proposal. Being in the MARCOM business as well as in the visual fine arts, I find it a challenge to contribute purposefully for Penang’s strategic tourism and conservation knowing what we Penangites have as rare heritage assets to be promoted, conserved as well as nurtured as living icons for now and the future. But the way things are moving for this museum project, I sometimes find it very skeptical and am wary of the culture of doing things involving… Read more »

Lim BC
Lim BC
3 Nov 2011 6.07pm

The whole design of the Lotus Square is not correct. There is totally no planning at all. (1). The water are stagnant (2) no proper walkway for people to view the lotus, they have to walk on grass. (3) After spending million of ringgit, they only plant small plant (along the new manmade channel which is always filled with rubbish). (4) No porper landscrape. These are all the work of Baran Naik.

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
3 Nov 2011 10.06pm
Reply to  Lim BC

No lah, now rocket in charge. Everything is rocket fault !!!

Lim BC
Lim BC
4 Nov 2011 6.51am
Reply to  Gerakan K

If Rocket in charge, why Ng Yen Yen bring down the two famous arches?

4 Nov 2011 8.49am
Reply to  Gerakan K

We need no rocket science or political science to know or understand why those 2 Arches had to be demolished!
The issue was Gelak-Gelakan for Yen Yen-ny & Co to sort out using hard-earned public coffers. And yet (have the conscience) to made off with ridiculous Sub-Sub Shoay profits for mistakes made in full public view!
If it is not a shame, there’s no better word for Satu Lagi Projek ‘Kos Sederhana?’.