Group raises concerns over Penang Botanic Garden corporatisation

Structure at Penang Botanic Garden
Penang Botanic Garden

The following are areas of concern raised by the Friends of the Penang Botanic Garden Society.

The society will be seeking clarification from the state authority before it decides whether to be for or against the new enactment to corporatise the garden as it feels the raison d’etre of the society is at stake.

1. Enabling legislation

This Bill seeks to repeal the Penang Waterfall Gardens Enactment 1923 [Enactment 11].
During the tenure of Dr Lim Chong Eu, the management of the garden in the mid-1970s was supervised by a Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Induk under the chairmanship of a state ExCo member.

Subsequently, under the chairmanship of Dr Teng Chang Yeow, the name of the garden was changed from the Penang Botanic Gardens Department (Jabatan Kebun Bunga Pulau Pinang) to Jabatan Taman Botani Pulau Pinang; the Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Induk was changed to Jawatankuasa Kemajuan Taman Botani.

It would be of interest to find out whether the 1923 enactment was ever amended to reflect the above major changes, or were merely implemented as administrative decisions by the state ExCo.

2. Objectives and functions of the corporation

The list of corporation objectives do describe the role of a botanic garden in “continuing the tradition of the original landscape parks and focus on showcasing native plant species and other tropical plants’, together with ex-situ conservation, strengthen herbarium and provision for scientific research (but no education component). However, it is glaringly very different from the published functions of the corporation to develop and exploit a park rich in natural resources and thrust as a centre of tourist attraction.

3. Membership of the corporation

When tabled in the Dewan, Clause 9 (1) (e) specifies the membership of the corporation which is blatantly imbalanced, where not more than two members out of not more than 20 has the requisite technical and appropriate expertise in botany and horticulture.

Unlike the Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Induk or Jawatankuasa Kemajuan, there are no appointments being reserved from IPTA/IPTS, relevant NGOs nor distinguished private citizens (anak Pulau Pinang) entrusted with the maintenance and preservation of a local natural heritage site and institution.

When the bill was debated, YB Yap Soo Huey (Pulau Tikus) successfully had it amended so that it now reads “.. including at least two members with expertise..”

4. Power to impose fees

The corporation under Clause 22 (2) (g) has the power to impose fees at its discretion and is not specified. It is troubling in that sub-clause (f) clearly spells out the “tourist attraction” purpose that conveys a sense of commercialisation to generate revenue for this new entity.

5. General manager responsible to the chairman

It is very restrictive that the general manager is answerable only to the chairman and not collectively to the corporation which has the devolved authority and power.

6. Giving directions of a general character

Clause 20 (1) empowers the state authority to give directions of a general character to the Corporation. Such catch-all fuzzy language detracts from the normal practice of giving policy guidelines such as not to interfere with nor micro-manage the administration of the corporation.

7. Disposal of assets

Disposal of assets by the corporation requires the approval of the state authority; it also empowers the state authority to direct the corporation to dispose of its assets.

8. Financial implications

In implementing this bill, it is clearly stated that the government will incur extra financial expenditure, the amount of which cannot at present be ascertained.

It is very important that the government clearly detail its financial plan for incorporating the Botanic Garden and purposefully transform it as a state park and tourist attraction.

While the corporation will have to administer a fund, what is its financial model? Does the government continue with its annual allocations for development and management, or does it envisage a financially independent entity with fully developed commercialised tourist attractions and a fee-paying clientele for the state park.

It is pertinent to note that in the past, the state government had commissioned many studies with the aim of improving the management and governance of the garden, amongst which was included a study on the corporitisation of the Botanic Garden by Deloitte Kassim Chan. Then, it was reported that there were no financially self-sustaining botanic gardens that do not require public expenditure and support.

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
Eric Kuek

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 29 ― The Penang government will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore’s Unesco-listed Botanic Gardens to exchange technical knowledge on managing the state’s botanic gardens. State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said he visited Singapore last July 31 and discussed signing an agreement to share knowledge and skills on managing and enhancing the Penang Botanic Gardens. “The Singapore Botanic Gardens has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with Penang and the main objective is to increase accessibility and knowledge, to transfer technological know-how in relations to horticulture, garden management, conservation and research,” he… Read more »

Eric Kuek

Managed by National Parks Board.


Public consultation on Penang cable car project next year GEORGE TOWN: Despite concerns raised, the proposed cable car project is one of numerous development projects included in the Special Area Plan (SAP) for the Penang Botanic Gardens (PBG). The SAP, which will be subjected to a panel review next month, will serve as a framework for the PBG’s masterplan. PBG curator Dr Saw Leng Guan, who confirmed the inclusion of the cable car project in the SAP, said a public consultation would be conducted early next year to gather feedback before a final decision was made. He, however, said… Read more »


From hush-hush of cable car project to public revelation, after more pressure of comments & concerns in! Such is the demeanour of Penang state authorities including the PBG management.
This makes us more suspicious.

Leong Yueh Kwong

The comments published here do not have anything to do with the concerns raised on the corporatization of the Penang Botanic Gardens which is being turned into a state park and going to be developed for tourism. In fact, it is converting a botanic gardens with a 130 year history into something very different from what is happening in other parts of the world where the conservation of biological diversity and study of plants is now regarded pf great concern and is part of key functions of gardens. The botanic gardens have very important role conservation.research and education because of… Read more »

Eric Kuek

Guided Walk at Penang Botanic Gardens
Meeting Point: Guard House, Penang Botanic Gardens, Waterfall Gardens, 10350, Penang
Date: 25 November 2017
Time: 9:30AM to 10:30AM
FREE prior registration, email [email protected] or call 012-427 6251

Ugly Betty Fan

Please open a Starbucks and a McDonalds inside Botanical Gandens. The place is so sian see.


If suab, you can teach monkeys to perform shows.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

@Shriek “Then we need you to show rakyat how to achieve even development. If people from border wants to move in, chase them out? Or like China, impose resident permit? But who is going to do the dirty jobs as the residents found out” Answer: Young Malaysia university graduates. “Young Malaysians Are Taking Up Jobs As Cleaners To Earn A Living” You can also read my blog post on the issue over here:- “MOVE UP THE VALUE CHAIN AND BE LESS EMPLOYABLE” “54,103 GRADUATES UNEMPLOYED SIX MONTHS AFTER GRADUATION – WELCOME TO THE INFORMATION AND SERVICES ECONOMY! ”… Read more »


What has unemployed graduates has to do with un even development? You mean uneven graduate employment in PH states like in pg and Selangor and where they can’t find jobs but even graduate employment in BN states?
If graduate doing clean why central gomen issue work permit to guest workers? Why millions of them?


Malaysian graduates are now working as cleaners.

Some even go to Singapore to take up cleaning jobs, dropping the Ketuanan ego?

Eric Kuek

Sembang Bajet 2018:
Kenapa hospital, universiti dan sekolah tak cukup duit.


Pg forum should consider moving sg. Siput. Malaysiakini reported residents moan there is very very slow development and dull place.
Here, state gomen helps to keep seniors busy and active with issues.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Landslide in Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur. This is a hilly area in Kuala Lumpur, even though not as hilly as Penang. —– KUALA LUMPUR: Jalan Medang Tanduk in Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, will be closed until further announcement due to a landslide that occurred after a hillslope retaining wall collapsed at 11.40pm last night. A Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said they received a report about the incident at 11.40pm. “The situation is dangerous due to movement of the earth and stones falling. “Furthermore, there is construction work going on in the area involving a condominium project on top… Read more »

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)


“You should organise a petition to Amno gomen to implement the strata management. What is well being and housing ministry?”

I don’t own an apartment, I have a landed property but I know of problems of relatives who live in apartments.

Yes there are laws relating to strata management.

However, there still are strata management problems for those whom i know who live in apartments, despite that.


How wonderful for each rakyat to have landed property and live like kiwis or Australians house with backyard. Very low density.
If there are problems, close both eyes like blind … and hoping things will go away? Of course, anything with Ph, can make noises like pg forum


AIMST University in Kedah to set up Indian heritage centre named after Samy Vellu.

Good news for Indian community ahead of GE14. Raj666 care to comment?


I am looking for new GOD. Samy in Tamils means GOD. I will call him Samy from now since I need GOD.

rajraman. Sami is my GOD now Jerome. Better to worship Sami then go to jail.What do you think Jerome?


We hope Anil from now focus on cost of livings, the matter of biggest concern to the people. Bread and butter (or roti dan majerin in Bolehland context) matter more for immediate life sustaining measures rather than garden indulgence not relevant to B40 or even M40 folks right now?!

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Generally speaking I agree that ricebowl issues are a bigger concern than environmental matters, as well as matters such as 1MDB, RM2.6 billion, Scorpene submarines, MRT3, Littoral Combat Ships, Altantuya, race & religion, etc. “Academic: Race, religion card no longer effective for BN” So yes, that is an issue worth highlighting, though I would not downplay local issues such as environmental, even if it interests a relative minority. UNIMAS-based political scientist Andrew Aeria complains about the lack of appreciation of democracy amongst the rural folk as well as fellow university academics. However, this should not come as a surprise,… Read more »


Down south is plan economy. North of South is Mas economy with millions of guest workers and thousands of local unemployed graduates who need further training tube provided by gomen. What hope is there for non graduates and secondary school dropouts? Graduates can think and need further help?


I was looking for a reason why Najib would visit Anwar. At first I guessed maybe he wanted to appear magnanimous. Then I realised he’s actually been pressured by the US who views Anwar as a prisoner of conscience. So show up to be seen that there’s still professional courtesy, that it’s nothing personal, Anwar is in jail not because he likes it but it’s the law took its course. In another words, all a sandiwara. Now, one might also wonder why Anwar would want to see him. Well, if he can make peace with Dr M, he can surely… Read more »

Eric Kuek

As many Malaysians can ill afford to buy a home, Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia, which is building 141,661 affordable homes, has managed to sell only 11,944 units, The Sun reported today.

The figures suggest that even PR1MA homes priced between RM100,000 and RM400,000 are out of the average Malaysian’s reach.

The daily reported that the federal government agency acknowledged that many registrants “dropped out” during financing stage.


Malaysians will have to brace themselves for a higher cost of living in the coming months as the year-end seasonal monsoon brings about higher prices for fish and vegetables. They will also have to cope with higher fuel prices, which has impacted the prices of goods given the higher transportation costs. An early survey showed the median expectation for headline inflation, which includes volatile fuel and food prices, hovering at the 4.1% level in October. However, official inflation numbers which will be released on Wednesday could even surpass the country’s inflation rate of 4.3% last September. Meanwhile, food and non-alcoholic… Read more »

Eric Kuek

The number of unsold residential properties are at a decade-high, with the majority of units being in the RM250,000 and above price category, beyond the income of most Malaysians, said Bank Negara Malaysia in its latest quarterly bulletin. The central bank also said the oversupply of office space and shopping complexes in the major states is expected to be exacerbated by incoming supply, potentially becoming more severe than during the Asian financial crisis. Within the country, Johor is poised to have the largest property market imbalances (highest number of unsold residential properties and potentially the largest excess supply of… Read more »


Check up the ‘Ghost Town’ at JB’s newly completed Country Garden Danga Bay, about 9000 units of condominiums.
Rental yield in JB has gone down. Used to be RM1650 per month for 1000 sq ft apartment, now going down as low as RM1200 per month due to the oversupply of newly built condominiums around.


They continued to build, build, build expensive + unaffordable properties b’cos it is super-profitable, hailed as good investments by surreal property gurus, & supported by money-money-state gomen solely out for maxi-profits from taxes & ass. rates collection. Now, we see the Karma effect of such frenzied property push – low demand + deferred purchase in the face of over-supply that nobody wants to buy. They can go on maintaining the pricing status quo until property bubble burst. Or wait until another round of howling winds bringing happy ghosts into these unsold units. What a bad business anticipation based on surreal… Read more »

Eric Kuek

The government has frozen indefinitely approvals for luxury property developments from Nov 1, to control the oversupply from adversely affecting the economy.

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani said the Cabinet decided this after scrutinising a detailed Bank Negara’s report published in June on the real estate glut.

He said there was an overflow of luxury projects which had outstripped the market demand for affordable homes.

Khun Pana

I don’t think that is important. It is up to the private developers and their financiers to forecast , target and push out their project/s. The high end properties are for the well to do and foreigners on MM2H visa(Malaysia My2nd.Home Visa) Or maybe had something to do with the ” High Income Malaysians” as envisioned by Mo1. Which is an extremely doubtful vision. As Malaysia is NOT known for inventing new science. Therefore the Mo1 “high income Malaysians” is a mere feels good, looks good propaganda. Example in China, their provincial govts are building ‘ghost towns”. There are hundreds… Read more »


There is a dire oversupply of residential and commercial properties but why do property prices keep increasing, and as reported here, it has even outpaced salary increase? What is the BN government doing to lessen the chronic demand of affordable housing? The record of the number of PKRT houses the past five years is just derisory. BNM could only lend their voices of caution but they are actually enfeebling the industry and not making the situation any easier for those many families who are unable to afford even their own shelter.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Well, RM250,000 for an apartment in the Klang Valley is much lower now than what it was say atthe beginning of this year, thanks to the much touted market forces resulting from an oversupply. However, by relying on market forces to determine property prices, the authorities, whether BN or Pakatan allow for overbuilding to do the damage first before prices come down. If property prices go down further, it could well make more properties affordable to Malaysians but I don’t expect they will be nice places to live in. One of my friends rents an apartment in an apartment block… Read more »


You mean if 10% of apartment is sold, the usage is still like pasar mlm or chow kit road? Ghost buster have to work hard. You should organise a petition to Amno gomen to implement the strata management. What is well being and housing ministry?

Eric Kuek

More KL folk take on City Hall to fight overdevelopment

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Report on a similar issue in The Sun Daily.

Taman Desa residents file report with MACC to look into sale of land

The problem here is irrespective of whether a BN or Pakatan government is in charge, it’s the same story of overdevelopment.


Then we need you to show rakyat how to achieve even development. If people from border wants to move in, chase them out? Or like China, impose resident permit? But who is going to do the dirty jobs as the residents found out?


Shiess, report has been made, why dont camp outside Macc? Maybe under the influence of your no 1. Action, slow slow and then lost direction?

Khun Pana

We are now living in a world of the internet.
The internet is a super fast and super efficient world wide communication tool .
Question- Why can’t the state government put up the proposal on their web site?
People can input and share their expectations, desire and recommendation.

As for the economy, it is completely insane to have the GST when 7- 8 million adult Malaysians are on BR1M/cash handouts.
The claim that having GST translate to lower price never materialised and is a fiction.


GST is a compounding piranha-biting-into-our-spending-power system whereby if one product has changed hands, no need for an accountant brain to figure out how detrimental can the GST multiplier effect on its original price. Even a lembu can figure this out while eating multiple GST-ed grass.
We are all conned for putting in power a stewardship that cares not for the Rakyat.


GST really cause price hike.
The revamped KR1M unlikely to offer competitive price compared to Tesco or Giant.

Mary Sim

I dunno. Np


Irreversible price hike caused by higher transportation costs due to fuel hike, with or without GST. More repercussion in 2018.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

“Question- Why can’t the state government put up the proposal on their web site? People can input and share their expectations, desire and recommendation.”

The Internet may be great for access to news and information worldwide and sharing ideas on this site but when it comes to governments, don’t expect them to make it easy for us when it does not serve their interests.

Anyway, why not propose that to your state government and see what they have to say.


Why not central gomen too?


Penang Corporation can be headed by Penang Forum, then we can be sure of no corruption, clean oxygen, happy and healthy and fulfilling Penang?!

So we hope Forumers be brave to be people’s champion to seek office GE14!


Rakyat are more concerned with the rising food price along with rising fuel price. According to the Food Policy Institute (IDKM), the country’s high food prices were due to several factors, with the monopolies over food imports and supply of locally sourced fresh produce having the greatest impact. Monopoly, a weak ringgit, and consumption tax will further push food prices above Malaysia’s inflation rate in the coming years, despite better economic data. IDKM laboratory chief Dr Yusof Saari, who has advised the government on food policy, said as the rise in prices did not match the slower rise in… Read more »


Need more discussion on increasing cost of living now affecting even middle class.
Could it be a factor that voters will consider in PRU14?
BN may increase BR1M payout to offset higher fuel price?
Now economy rice also went up in price.

Mary Sim

Life is tough now. I hope Penang Forum can raise issues on higher cost of living today. Thank you.


Times are bad, people more immediately concerned with high price and high cost of living, not so much of Botanic Garden.