Can the Penang govt direct MPPP to build PICC?


Can the Penang state government direct the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to implement the proposed Penang International Convention Centre?

On 30 November 2009, in response to an oral question in the Penang State Assembly by Pantai Jerejak member Sim Tze Tzin (PKR), Chow Kon Yeow, responding on behalf of the Chief Minister, replied that “in line with a state government directive, the MPPP had been directed to implement the construction of a convention centre at a site determined by the state government, that is, at the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) in Relau, Penang”.

He added that the proposal was in the planning stage, and the MPPP would decide if a traffic impact assessment was needed once it received a detailed proposal.

Is it within the power of the state government to issue such a directive to the MPPP? 

Section 9 of the Local Government Act 1976 states:

9. Power of State Authority to issue directions
(1) The State Authority may from time to time give the local authority directions of a general character, and not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, on the policy to be followed in the exercise of the powers conferred and the duties imposed on the local authority by or under this Act in relation to matters which appear to the State Authority to affect the interests of the local authority area, and the local authority shall as soon as possible give effect to all such directions.

The operative words here are “directions of a general character” on policy matters. Now, the question here is, does a directive to implement a specific convention centre on a specific site determined by the state government amount to “directions of a general character” on policy matters?

One blog reader made the following observation:

The issue is not whether Penang needs a convention centre. The issue is:

(1) whether PICC is the business of MPPP to build and maintain. Obviously MPPP had done a bad job for Pisa and now it is being asked to shoulder another monument.

(2) where is the feasibility study and why is MPPP being pressured to build it in a hurry – to be completed by 2010, tender to be called in January?

(3) why no competition for design and why the reliance on the same architect who built Pisa?

(4) why the location? does everyone know that it will be located at the front entrance obstructing Pisa?

(5) will any exhibitors come to a RM 50 million convention centre (with no hotel, auditorium and inadequate parking) in congested Penang when there are much grander and better equipped convention centres in KL, Singapore, Bangkok?

(6) what will happen to Pisa during and after construction?

Let the private sector or state government build and run it. Don’t ask MPPP to spend ratepayers’ money in a hurry for this when all the above questions remain hanging in the air.

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Kah Seng, you are right.

DAP promised us local council election and now they deny us the right.

And they blame the Fed for it.

With local council election no one, not even Lim Guan Eng, can push the PICC like they are doing.

And btw, the newspaper says (today) that the state gomen has met with a delegation from some business group to discuss the PICC, however everything was done closed-door style.

Can you find out what they have discussed, Kah Seng?

Anthony Tan

Iron, I am not being personal but making a general statement using “SOME OF YOU without targeting any individual as there were a few people who mentioned the architect’s name and alleged they are inexperience or not qualified etc. When a person zeroed in on any particular name or person that means, that is the target you want to hit, right? How can one quantify a person not qualify to do a job when it is very subjective? I have come to a general conclusion after going through what was posted in blogs for examples like Anil’s,,, justice4otk etc.… Read more »

Kah Seng

Can the Penang govt direct MPPP to build PICC?

Yes, by fiat, because we don’t have local election!

The ability to control local councils and their revenues is perhaps the biggest reason why DAP, PKR, and PAS are not pushing hard for local election.

That’s why we need local elections – to strip the state government of too much power, and keep them our humble servants.


Kah seng

You are right. I may also add that by not having local council elections, Pakatan also able to use the lucrative positions to reward its supporters and also as a channel to (allegedly) distibute contracts and concessions to its supporters and cronies.

I must say that they have learnt fast.


Unless you can prove that we have all become architects overnight, please stop your senseless and baseless libeling that we oppose the PICC because of we don’t get business, Anthony Tan.

If you ran out of sensible arguments you can shut up. Personal attack and insinuation on our motives won’t make you a better person.

But then, what else can you do, Anthony Tan, other than personal attacks?

Anthony Tan

Iron, are you confusing yourself? At one point you are saying LGE is forcing MPPP to spend RM50 million on PICC is a waste of funds and it is going to be another white elephant. Now you give some suggestions for MPPP to build something to your personal expectation of an international five stars convention/exhibition centre which you had earlier claimed and do have any confidence it will succeed as there is no market for such facilities for even a small one. Can you have a clear mind which direction you are heading to? Please bear in mind with a… Read more »

Anthony Tan

After doing some background search on the unhappiness of some people on the PICC project on why some of you did not like to see the PICC to take off is because some of you don’t like the appointed architect company for your own reasons. If it is business rivalry, than one has to understand the works of nature that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Worst still in Malaysia, cronyisms are order of the day and different political parties have their own sets of cronies. As in this PICC project, many had claimed cronyisms is in play and… Read more »


Congratulation, Anil !

One “enemy” blog is carrying your article !

Looks like Lim Guan Eng has shot himself in the foot really bad this time. 😀


LGE is no Mahathir. As much as I dislike that old (man), I still to admit that Mahathir is smart. Lim Guan Eng? So sorry. No one can understand why Lim Guan Eng appoint an architect who has no prior experience on Exhibition Center to design PICC. One needs to understand that a Convention Center is not the same as a warehouse. A warehouse is a building with four walls, with a loading bay. A Convention / Exhibition center is much MUCH more than a warehouse. One has to have some idea what a convention center is used for to… Read more »

Anthony Tan

Iron, Have you forgotten the third option? You threw me the challenge and I am waiting for your answer. Don’t continue to be negative, give some constructive solution to the problem. LGE is not to satisfy you alone and you must remember you were not the only one that put him there as CM. LGE has to satisfy all other Penangites that had voted him in, that includes me. Please wait and let see if there are enough support to STOP the PICC. If there is, LGE has no choice but to stop the project or he will face the… Read more »

Ong eu Soon

Prove me wrong by getting rid of ISA, OSA, Sedition Act, Printing and Publishing Act, University And College University Act. Reinstate local election. Stop wanton hill cutting. Stop stealing public lands in Penang. Stop wasting our money on white elephant projects. Stop transforming Penang into Darul Sampah. Prove to us that Pakatan is really different from BN. Where is the right to information act?

Ong eu Soon

LGE is not just a slogonist, he is a great supporter of Mahathirism. That is why me, the voter who vote for change not the same, will find any opportunity to nail him down. All his apologists only resort to personal attack without offering any iota of rebuke to my points on this controversial issues. Shame on those so called reformists. After 50 years of oppression by BN, why should we just substitute the oppressor with someone else and switch to denial mode pretending all is fine. Overthrowing BN is our target, but not to the extend of giving blind… Read more »


This LGE fella, the way he put this PICC thing, giving us the Rakyat only two options:

It is either –

We build the PICC


You build the PICC“.

How about the option of “NOT building the PICC” ?

How about the option of “Build a larger and more functional convention center some where else with more land for supporting facilities, NOT in the PISA complex” ?

Lim Guan Eng, if you want to continue be our leader, STOP limiting our options !


From The Star: “Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said on Dec 22 that he encouraged anyone who felt that the PICC project was too costly to apply through the tender process to build it at a lower price.” Sounds like political gobbledygook. The average Penangite is not a contractor, and cannot tender to build the project at whatever price, but this is supposed to be a democracy, and he or she has the right to object to the spending of the RM50mil, without having to build it for cheaper! More and more, it’s starting to look like LGE is… Read more »

Anthony Tan

Correction to this para:

IRON, I am (missed out: not) an expert in everything but I am will to learn to understand what is the new trend in the market. As I managed some small businessesin MICE, I am willing to share my experiences with anyone.In any investment, be it big or small and for long or short term business investment, you will expect an ROI. We are not running charity or welfare departments.

Anthony Tan

Why are you following me in writing long messages now? I believe you want to share your thought with your comments, isn’t it? This is what I am trying to do, try to share my thoughts with the concerned Penangites about the directions and future we are heading to. I believe when you reply my comments, you are very angry so much so and again you did not read in between the lines in my two comments. Looks like many comments made by some people like you is to complain, complain and complain with negative agenda. What we need is… Read more »


You like to write long long message, don’t you, Anthony Tan. Although I know I am stupid, I still believe I am not the only one “Catching no ball” here. But anyway, back to the topic. No, I do not have crystal ball or anything like that, but my experience tell me, and I have been around the globe, attending a lot of conventions, for the past 40 years, tells me ONE thing — there are a lot of not-so-large convention centers are not being utilized for one simple reason — they are NOT big enough. If you really want… Read more »

Anthony Tan

Iron, Are you a qualified fortune teller or do you have a crystal ball? How do you know the RM50 million is going to be wasted? Have you seen the design of the building? Have you seen the business plan? I believe it is still in its planning stage, why jump the gun? The MPPP is asking for input before the 8 January, why don’t you submit your protest and suggestions to them? Get yourself heard! You said you have been to many convention centres around the world, wouldn’t you want to share your knowledge with us in the designing… Read more »

Anthony Tan

Iron, If “catch no ball” of what I have posted in Anil’s blog, please go and read in full and slowly again! I was pointing out that whatever the government spent there must be ROI. Didn’t you read in between the lines? I DO NOT CONDONE WASTEFUL SPENDING OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY ANY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS. I am a typical Penangites and we are renowned to be kedekut… I, like many others had work hard and paid the incomes and others taxes. It is very painful to see government departments spending wastefully for the wrong reasons. I have comment on this… Read more »

SH Tan

Hi Anil: would you be able to help put up the link to the petition in yr main post? Not everybody goes to the comments section and they will miss out the link. Thanks..


I think the state government should clear up the matter once & for all. Hmmm, reminds me of the Esplanade in Singapore. To those who doesn’t cherish art, it’s a total waste of money. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support it either

Lets see what the state government gonna say. By the way, heard of Kelantan government got to pay 800 millions MYD as penalty

Wouldn’t you agree after all



Referring to the other article on your blog, Anil –

Can you please give us THE INFORMATION like

* The address
* The name
* The department
* The phone number
* and other essential informations

regarding how to write to MPPP to object the building of that silly mini-convention center !

I have read the whole article, there were a few mention on writing to MPPP


Stop asking people to write to MPPP while you guys never give any detail.

Sheeeeeeeh !



What happen if MPPP strike oil in the convention centre?…
Why so negative? Our friend is talking about ROI in view of Gerakan Party supporting UMNO in GST and reduces the revenue from the State Government.
Do you mean the 50M is to sit in the bank and getting a interest less than Gerakan/UMNO created inflation?

Ong eu Soon

We need the state government to conduct market study based on the following methods: 1) Identifying local and regional competitive supply and comparable convention centers throughout the nation 2) Identifying and interviewing sources of demand 3) Identifying and characterising samples of potential users of convention facilities in the nation and neighboring nations. 4) Interviewing and gathering relevant data from various government entities and research firms and publications The state government need to analyse the potential market support. Is there any upscale, full service, chain affiliated hotel with sufficient guest rooms and more than adequate meeting space in the neighborhood? All… Read more »

Ong eu Soon

Where is the market study, cash flow estimates, economic impact analysis? No information what so ever regarding the physical site inspection? Any analysis of local and regional economic and demographic information? Any discussion with local area and regional hotel/conference center operators? Is there any gathering and compilation of data from national convention industry research firms and publications? Any discussion with representatives of hotel and convention center management companies? Without analyses that based on estimates, assumption and other research of the market, knowledge of the industry, information regarding the project, how on earth the public, MPPP going to comment and participate… Read more »


Anthony Tan, You wrote a long piece but please tell us your main point. Please learn how to discern totally different matters, would you mind? MPPP’s inefficiency is one matter. Lim Guan Eng’s attempt to force MPPP to build the 50 Mn ringgit white elephant is another separate matter altogether. We know MPPP isn’t perfect, but that still doesn’t give LGE a blank check to waste the 50 Mn ringgit in erecting yet another white elephant in Penang. As for what to do with that 50 Mn ringgit, wouldn’t it be better if the money is saved for future emergency… Read more »



I concur. Today it is Rm50M and tomorrow t will be 50Billion if we do not stop this Cheap Minister now.

DAP supporters seems think that LGE was given chance to lead is not a privileage but a right. They think it is OK to allow LGE the same excesses done by BN as long it is done by Pakatan. It seems to them that Pakatan leaders are some sort of political royalty whom the usual laws and the needs for accountability do not apply.