David vs Goliath – MPPP and Boustead


The Penang Forum, a coalition of public interest groups and individuals, notes with dismay that Boustead is claiming compensation from the MPPP for consequential losses in having to reduce its hotel from 12 to five storeys.

Before the matter develops further, perhaps Boustead would wish to reconsider its position carefully taking the long-term big-picture view and the following.

Boustead should not have been given approval for 12 storeys in a heritage area in the first place by the previous administration. It was the Federal Government that chose to apply for and accept having George Town and Melaka jointly inscribed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, which brought with it several obligations, one of which was to restrict the height of new buildings in the core zone. The Penang Government was merely its fulfilling international obligation. Not to have done so was unthinkable; losing the listing so soon after getting it would have been extremely damaging for our international reputation.

Questions of international prestige aside, being a World Heritage Site brings with it enormous economic benefits, which everybody, Boustead included, will enjoy. Some sites have reported a five-fold increase in visitors in as many years. For Penang, the world heritage listing is a god-send that has the potential to reverse its slow decline as a destination for international tourists.

The issue now is that Boustead is seeking compensation from the local government in Penang, ultimately at the expense of Penangites. As a responsible corporate citizen, Boustead, with a group profit before tax of RM502 million from revenue of RM5.4 billion in 2009, should not penalise the people of Penang (who will ultimately pay) for the folly of our past leaders. Bear in mind that the MPPP is operating on a tight budget: its projected revenue for 2010 is a mere RM230 million, giving rise to a budget deficit of RM40 million. An economic Goliath bullying a puny David (like the MPPP) is an unpretty spectacle that is unlikely to do Boustead’s image any justice nor would it be a manifestation of good corporate social responsibility.

The company should also remind itself that Penang’s gain is also our (and Boustead’s) gain and similarly Penang’s loss is our collective loss. In the long term, Boustead will probably earn more from a down-sized hotel in a World Heritage Site than from a full-scale hotel in a de-listed World Heritage Site.

Finally, we call on the Federal Government to take a more active interest in these developments and take some responsibility in resolving this unfortunate situation.

Ahmad Chik
Dr Francis Loh
Anil Netto

on behalf of
Penang Forum Working Group

10 April 2010

The Penang Forum is an informal network of some three dozen Penang-based NGOs along with concerned individuals who came together in April 2008 for the inaugural Penang Forum to chart a possible way forward for Penang after the historic 2008 general election.

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

For goodness sake! Why does it all have to come down to food with everyone here in Penang! I try not to get political because it just nose dives into a total mess-kids in a kindergarden make more sense! State Government made a stand in this particular case. They used political will. For this they have to be congratulated. I would love for them to use more. Public health and environment has to be protected- MOVE SWIFT FARMING OUT OF GEORGE TOWN, ALL URBAN AND TOWN AREAS, COMPULSORY GREASETRAPS FOR A RESTO LICENSE! ETC.ETC. If the UNESCO listing has to… Read more »



wanna initiate a national boycott?…


Anil, please allow this as it has to do with JUSTICE.

Did you guys read that Dr Pornthip is not allowed to come to testify because of pressure from the bodoh land…

Iron, I am really running out of stuff now as i really dont know what to say anymore.

Yang and O and those who have souls, can i leave this to you? TQ !

Hidup Pakatan Rakyat !!!

Gerakan K

Dr. Pornthip maybe unable to proof that 80% thing (LOL !!!), so the best thing she can do is to run away.


BERSEMBUNYI KERANA BERSALAH !!! (also applicable to RPK LOL !!!)


Gerakan K,

Dr. Pornthip not coming is a shame to all Malaysians!
And do not benefit on someone’s misfortune! Just imagine how the family of TBH feels? Look at how Abhisit is doing in Bangkok?

Fed up only, to go to Bangkok next week!

Gerakan K

I wish you good luck in Bangkok. Why not delay this trip ??? Very dangerous there currently.


Gerakan K,

Thanks bro! Bro, what is the meaning of “pore lum pha” which Iron Bakar Ikan mentioned?

Is he referring to the famous Szechuan bread noodles? He is very fond of spicy food, so I guess it must be it, am I right?

No wonder, he loves his Ikan Bakar so much, mixed with the lum pha noodles/bread, it will be great. I can fancy that.

Cheers bro!


Ai yoh yoh, Gerakan K, you are a really very very naughty boy! You scared the hell out of me! I cannot sleep the whole of last night because of your scary tales! You see, I am already up at this hour, infact, I was up the whole night! Luckily, I can afford to start work at 1pm because of time difference of 4 hours! Gerakan K, after reading your comments I started doing my research and I found it in Zorro’s blog! You please visit and see for yourself, is that what you had been talking? Next time please… Read more »


Gerakan K, You are just too blind to see the truth. Here again you are spewing lies after lies. All over the media, she has said she is under pressure not to testify. Nazri said she told lies at the inquest. Tell me what lies did she said. What she said is her intuition based on her experience and expertise. Do you call that lies. Ask yourself whether you have been telling lies or not when you said there are RM30,000 house being built now in Penang. And Anil is just being biased by deleting comments…. Anil we want the… Read more »


Who knows what facts lie behind the recent Pornthip announcements? The truth is a long way down the priority list when political parties and their friends are facing each other in court. What is the source of the alleged reason for Pornthip not attending the Inquest? If it was a Malaysian news agency, I wouldn’t believe if it they said 2+2=4. It’d be nice if we could read an interview with the Thai expert about her involvement in the TBH Inquest, but conducted by a foreign news agency. Have you got her phone number Anil? I’d mostly believe an interview… Read more »


Hi, O, I am fine, TQ v mh ! For the past few days, I was monitoring my stocks, hoping to make more profits so that i can donate to PR comes the next GE. Winning 5 states is not good enough, I want to see a government changed this time. May God bless Malaysia before it sinks deeper. Amen !!! By the way, so, those bunch of losers (you know who you are ya) have to eat your own words now – please, to save your own face, in the future, make some homework first before you bang bang… Read more »


I will start boycotting BHP petrol station and its products and services. I will not step into BHP even when I have to push my car to the next petrol station


Shiok Guy

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi Anil,

Is it possible for The Penang Forum to spearhead a signature campaign of Penangites, online and/or otherwise, to petition and appeal to Boustead not to pursue its compensation claim from MPPP?

Afterall, I do agree fully with The Penang Forum that Boustead shouldn’t even have been granted permission by the previous Pg State Govt for its 12-storey project within the heritage enclave area!


World Heritage or not, who bothers? BN/UMNO Baru of today are not interested in the Rakyat! Najib, is too weak! Corporate citizens? Corporate responsibilities? Do we have any in Malaysia today? As far as you vote against BN, you pay! Further, it is falsely projected as always to the Malays and perceived that Penang is a Chinese/Indians majority state, when in actual fact today, Penang like the rest of the country is a Malay majority state. Only the UMNO/Bn want to project it that way as though the Malays in Penang are being shortchanged! Do Penangnites have the guts to… Read more »


“Or shall we be like Iron, who because of his favourite nasi kandar store being demolished continues to criticize LGE till today, with such vile and venom?” Oh wow ! Yet another “nasi kandar” fella ! It’s IKAN BAKAR, man, I-K-A-N—B-A-K-A-R !!! And by the way, I criticize LGE not because of that Ikan Bakar store. I criticize Lim Guan Eng because he is not, and I repeat NOT, serving Penang as he should be. Lim Guan Eng’s only interest is Politics. Since 308, Lim Guan Eng has done nothing but political game. In the Kampung Buah Pala case —… Read more »


Hello Ikan Bakar Iron, Sorry, I thought it was nasi kandar Iron, thank you for your clarification. We are living in a democracy and you are practising democracy! Good. Even in America, no one is happy with Obama, and we do have people, like Iron Ikan Bakar, who sits and vent their frustrations each and every day on the computer. Well done, Ikan Bakar Iron, continue your good work, but, then I feel, we are all wasting our time commenting here instead of turun padang and bangkit! Just get off your comfort chair and turun padang! God Bless PKR! PR!… Read more »


Iron Bakar Ikan, Bro, why don’t you contest the next state GE? With due respect to you, you are very well versed with Penang’s politics, surely, you will make a good Chief MInister. Let me be frank that I am telling you from the bottom of my heart, with your wealth of knowledge, you should do very well to lead Penang. But, then you still will have to face people like Gerakan K. As PR is continuing to gain so much support, why not give it a try? I will surely come to support you in whatever way possible. I… Read more »


Aiya, O, stop pore lump par la !

But if you are really really REALLY serious, I suggest you go contact Dr. Toh Kim Woon.

Beliau is, IMHO, the best candidate for Penang’s next CM.


Iron Bakar Ikan, “pore lump pha la”? What is that? You are referring to the famous “lampha” noodle bread from Szechuan? Toh Kim Woon also like that too? He is good but he does not have the confidence of the people and the Rakyat. There is no way the people would want him to be the CM because he chickened out in 2008. Unless the PKR wins more seats than the DAP! Another thing, it will not be practical to bring those bread/noodles to Toh, as by the time we bring it back here, it will be too dry, wrinkled,… Read more »

Gerakan K


my business (mini market) in Hulu Selangor is increasing in 2-fold due to by-election. More money available for me to support BN. What surprise me is that most of the buyers are PR supporters !!! They keep telling me the great PR story. As usual I just repeat what you had said in this blog in order to please them. Anyway this may be a good news for PR because their people are starting to campaign but it is rather unfortunate that their money will channel to their opponent.

O, support BN now to avoid disappointment.


Gerakan K, Bro! You had just opened another mini market in Hulu Selangor? Fantastic! Which part of Hulu Selangor? Good to note that your business is prospering, and do you want to donate mineral water? Special price to you? You seem to open a business wherever there are by elections! And how is BN doing in Hulu Selangor? It is still too early to tell, but, at this point of time, bro, it is advantage PR! Heard that Ezam and Toyol ceramah? Pitiful for these guys, people of all races are just fed up with these frogs…! Cannot even attract… Read more »

Gerakan K

No lah. That store I opened few years ago. I tell you the best selling items are cigarettes, bottled water, individual packed biscuits, and Ap**** layered cakes. Ha ha all old stock from this and other outlets being cleared now (* peace *). Not so peaceful in Hulu Selangor now. Both camps turn out very aggressive. I will attend some of the “ceramah” organized by the big guns. Your idol Khalid Ibrahim looks very old and “lembik”. He lacks firepower to spiced up the crowd. I cannot “tahan” his voice.


Gerakan K,
Here is another lies from you. Previouly you said you are from Penang and you are based in KL cos they have several office. Now you said you have open a mini market in Hulu Selangor. Next I believe you will be operating a hotel in Sibu, maybe to welcome your favorite Najib and CSL for the by election.Make sure you have enough hot water for your PM to bathe cos the water he bathe in one of the settler home in Felda scheme are just too cold. Also make sure it not too hot…

Gerakan K

Aiya Yang, that office for me = real office and business outlet like mini markets, pop corn stall, wafer stall. I’m operating many small businesses, mind you. I love money very much. Yang, let me teach you something. It is very easy to get rich in Malaysia. I guess you still working for somebody. I guess I maybe richer than you monetarily. So listen. Here is my recipe for success in business: 1) must build excellent relationship with BN. This is a fact maybe you don’t like. Support them during election. Then you can ask them for help when needed… Read more »


So no wonder you always want to be a wannabe cos you still need that CRUTCHES. What a pity. We don`t need that but rely on our grit and hardwork to get where we are. Having some small business and yet still want to boast. Don`t even understand what sustaining and big business is. OH MY GOODNESS…….Why should I get jealous, anyway I do not like to boast. I know what i am. better off than you.

Gerakan K

Finally you have to * beg * federal government. Fine tune your attitude now. Drop your MM and chanting 1Malaysia slogan first.



game to start a boycott of all business under Boustead and LTAT?

such irresponsible corporates and that own by government agency.

… No petrol from BHP.

I am prepared to sacrifice my time to initiate this boycott in support of the Penangnites. Oh, I am an Ipohan who has moved to KL 20 years back.


Maybe, just maybe there is a silver lining in this thing …

Boustead’s lawsuit claiming 60 millions from the Penang state government may, and I stress, MAY cause Lim Guan Eng’s 50 Million PICC pet white elephant project to be put on hold.

At least for the foreseeable future.

No point of spending 50 Million now while a lawsuit of 60 Million is pending.