MPPP pre-empted as building is demolished

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The MPPP has been pre-empted in its plans to assess a site at Pykett Avenue for a proposed luxury condominium project.


All that’s left of 20 Pykett Avenue.


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The structure, which sits on the site of the original Westlands house, was demolished over the weekend before planning approval for the condominium project had been obtained and while neighbours’ views were being sought, according to a source. This could amount to a planning violation under the Town and Country Planning Act.

The Planning Division of the MPPP had only on Friday invited a group of experts to assess and inspect the 3.4 acre-site after neighbouring residents expressed concern and objections over the RM280 million high-rise project. 

See what the developer has in mind for the site here.

The developer had bought the site from a private company in December 2009 for RM38.7 million (RM262 per sq ft), according to a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

From a broader perspective, the project appears to be yet another high-end development aimed at the wealthy and at foreigners (notice the introduction to Penang on the project website, presumably for those who haven’t heard of the place).

Meanwhile, the low-income group is gradually being priced out of the island. Will we eventually see the rich largely on the island separated by the channel from the not-so-rich living on the mainland? What about low-income workers employed on the island? Where will they live?

The photo below is of the building before it was demolished.

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Jimmy
Jimmy
18 Jun 2012 6.24pm

Please stop Mah Sing from building any condo at the site forever!

disregard of the law
disregard of the law
19 Aug 2010 11.53am

the developers dont care, demolish pay fine cost it all in to the purchasers, who will buy buy buy.

Who cares if ur breaking the law, pay fine what, no criminal record. All our buildings in town are not safe.

MPPP dont give planning permission for the next 50 years as punishment

wira
wira
29 Jul 2010 12.42pm

Dear Pearl,

Yes, thank you for pointing out that I wrote “restore the destroyed building to its original form.”
It is not what you said I wrote which is “restore the original building to its original form.”

Geeze … you don’t even know what you quote.
I suppose this is not surprising going by the volume of nonsensical rancor you spew here.
I think you simply cannot keep track and keep focus. 🙂

LimBC
LimBC
29 Jul 2010 12.03pm

If you guys so love heritage building, buy up and keep it as long as you can….this heritage building is owned by other people…the owner can do whatever he like under the law. Why blame LGE? Sound so stupid.
Did you make any noise when the Pudu prison’s wall was torn down? Don’t try to very clever jumping into conclusion.
Anil, has this building been gazetted as a heritage building? If not, why are you all jumping…? If yes, let wait to see what action the revelent authority is taking?

wira
wira
28 Jul 2010 9.56pm

Dear Pearl,

I did not write “restore the original building to its original form” ?
I wrote “restore the destroyed building to its original form.”
Let me teach you how to quote correctly before you attempt to teach me Queen’s English. 🙂

Now tell me who tore down that building?
MPPP?
Lim Guan Eng?
Why are you so sore with YAB Lim in this when he is not the one who destroyed that building?

Pearl
Pearl
29 Jul 2010 8.05am
Reply to  wira

Here is what you wrote:

“If the developer is forced to rebuild and restore the destroyed building to its original form, that penalty would certainly be a bad joke on him.”

In it there is one sentence: “Restore the destroyed building to its orignal form.”

You want to lie again, machai?

tunglang
29 Jul 2010 12.56pm
Reply to  Pearl

Stop abusing the Queen’s language!
Who is the lying abuser?

Pearly, your antics are such a joke…
Please read your fine prints you wrote (28 July 2010 at 11.16am)!

Loh Yeow Boo - Penang
Loh Yeow Boo - Penang
28 Jul 2010 7.18pm

PHT quiet lah…..later no Datukship for all of them….

Penang people stand
Penang people stand
28 Jul 2010 6.06pm

It is not the time to talk politic. It is the time to cry for the Khaw Sim Bee mansion, to cry for Heritage City…Our heritage law is too fragile… If you love Penang heritage, let us now list down all our heritage buildings not listed or not located in Heritage Zone Let the Penang people stand up, regardless of political inclination, to take steps to set up a communication system to alert the authority or newspaper or the NGOs on any attempt to demolish our heritage buildings. There are still many around, where no body care….Let us be the… Read more »

green living
green living
28 Jul 2010 2.43pm

Colour blind, the law was broken mate – don’t forget that first, it does not matter if this was the Eiffel Tower, the law was broken wasn’t it?

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 9.56pm
Reply to  green living

Question is, why they broke the law _NOW_ ?

The sale was completed way before 308, but they did not demolish the house before 308, did they?

Why do it now?

Is it a “show of force”? A “middle finger” gesture to the current state government?

Especially before MPPP could send people there.

Is it a signal to the world that “Hey, you all come to Penang to do everything you like since the present Penang State Government is practically useless” ?

green living
green living
28 Jul 2010 2.39pm

Pearl you need to visit Suffolk House to see how a building can be rebuilt in its traditional method and form when it was a near ruin – they you will understand better that it is possible to rebuilt 20 Pykett Avenue. plenty of examples all over the world – just needs people with skill and knowledge, and there are plenty here in Penang no worries. What shouldn’t happen is the strange example of the illegally demolished Metropole hotel ( 25. 12. 93) being re built 3 meters in the air, adoy what nonsense is that – but that was… Read more »

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 10.02pm
Reply to  green living

That was a “near ruin” building. Near ruin building means the building is about to collapse. Restoration for a near ruin building mean you need to take away something to make the building more firm before you add something else on to it. But this one is different. This building is not even near the “near ruin” category. This building was purposely torn down. Which means, this building is _NO MORE_. Any “restoration” on this building is meaningless, for any building that resulted from this “restoration” would be not the same building. It is like tearing down the Egyptian Pyramid… Read more »

Sean
Sean
29 Jul 2010 10.25am
Reply to  Pearl

I don’t think it matters if the site of a heritage building is turned to glass by a nuclear blast. The building must be re-built, as faithfully as possibly, using specialist contractors who understand the original techniques and tooling if needed. The alternative is that “restore unless the site is completely swept clean” is a loophole in the law, the effect of which would be to guarantee that every errant developer will be sure to have a broom with them before they start to erase heritage. For that reason, any really useful heritage register must be much more than a… Read more »

Sad
Sad
28 Jul 2010 1.40pm

A crying shame!!! Many, many years ago, I had the golden opportunity to visit the house, when it was still occupied, and I’d say it is definitely a heritage building.

ColourBlind
ColourBlind
28 Jul 2010 11.18am

No doubt a heritage house like the above is worth preserving if it is not seated on a large 3.4 acre site that can be developed into a marvellous cool project like Icon Residence. I personally like the architectural design very much.

The fact is we have too many heritage buildings similar to this all around the island. Some have to be preserved but some can be demolished to give way for development.

At the end of the day, we Penangites still need to eat isn’t it? What’s wrong with bringing in more well-heeled foreigners to stimulate our dying economy?

MalaysianinNewYork
MalaysianinNewYork
28 Jul 2010 10.31am

Anil, All the bickering that I observe between the UMNO gang & PAKATAN gang in your blog sure is very defining on the mental state of our fellow Malaysians. You spoke on where will the low income people stay if everything is priced out for them, yet what we in majority is a spade of accusation from both the gangs on how and what should be done and foremost everything political? One may gain political and individual material independence, but if one is a slave to his/her own passions and desires, one cannot feel the pure joy of real freedom… Read more »

kl_boy
kl_boy
28 Jul 2010 4.36am

sad…..there goes a piece of our memories. nit’s just stones and rubble now

tunglang
28 Jul 2010 10.57pm
Reply to  kl_boy

When some Malaysian histories can be erased or amended, this heritage destruction is no big surprise at all.

When others are trying hard to conserve and preserve their culture, nature and heritage values, we are discarding them like old furniture.

It appears like anything that cannot deliver instant profits or generate corrupt monies are literally taken off the Malaysian soil.

Alas, the future of our younger generation will be in ‘extreme heritage poverty’.

Kaki pulau
Kaki pulau
28 Jul 2010 1.06am

Well, do we value our history or don’t we? We have lost so much already and people seem to keep arguing about being within the heritage enclave or not. It really doesn’t matter. History is history and, in the case of historical buildings, artifacts etc, won’t be repeated or restored by mere talk. College General in Pulau Tikus, is a classic example, we’ve also lost 2nd World War bunkers in Mt. Erskine and Tanjung Tokong and who knows numerous other valuable pieces of history. So what will be left for our children and grand-children? Yellowing photographs? It doesn’t compare with… Read more »

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 11.41am
Reply to  Kaki pulau

“Well, do we value our history or don’t we?” Actually, we do. But Lim Guan Eng is not part of the “we”, and there lies the problem. Lim Guan Eng being an outsider does not share our heartache when heritage building such as this one being torn down. Lim Guan Eng does not appreciate the history of Penang. All Lim Guan Eng is interested in is to make himself a superstar – blasting this guy / blasting that guy / let loose his lousy canon all day long. Exactly what Lim Guan Eng has done for the environment of Penang… Read more »

wira
wira
28 Jul 2010 12.20am

If the developer is forced to rebuild and restore the destroyed building to its original form, that penalty would certainly be a bad joke on him.

That will teach errant builders to respect the rights of society.

Lim Kit Siang had severely condemned KTK’s government stand and action on Metropole hotel before. Now it’s time for his party to do it the way Uncle Lim wanted done.

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 11.16am
Reply to  wira

Oh man.

“Restore to its original form”?

The original building has been torn down and how on earth can anyone “restore the original building to its original form” ?

Stop abusing the Queen’s language, Wira.

Restoration does not include tearing down a complete building.

Restoration means something else – with the original building intact.

When you tear down a building and rebuild it, it isn’t restoration anymore since the original building is gone. What you got as the final result is a fake copy of the orignal building, a cetak rompak, if you will.

green living
green living
27 Jul 2010 11.35pm

would you buy from a developer who has shown such disrespect for the law even before the project has begun. would they also disrespect the engineer’s advice, turn a blind eye to the requirements of the building guidelines and fire department, skimp on materials etc etc. mmm I think I would put my money elsewhere. this is nothing to do with an old building being demolished. its about trusting when the law has been ignored – what else will happen? who will get all the complaints afterwards – MPPP? CM? so better think about letting such behaviour continue – the… Read more »

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 11.30am
Reply to  green living

It boils down to this: No one respects MPPP / Penang State Government anymore.

You can thak Lim Guan Eng for that.

Yang
Yang
29 Jul 2010 12.11am
Reply to  Pearl

Its only the Federal Administration under UMNO and Najib that tried to break (the) rules and law that is in the book.The people of the country and Penang will always respect MPPP and the current government unlike Pearl who still condone such illegal activities of UMNO and (its leaders). One such act is the Perak takeover.

Andrew Aeria
Andrew Aeria
27 Jul 2010 10.39pm

Dear MPPP YDP Pn. Patahiyah and CM Lim Guan Eng

I am waiting with bated breath to see what you are going to say – and do – about this blatant disregard for town planning regulations under the Town and Country Planning Act.

Go ahead. Make my day!

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 11.25am
Reply to  Andrew Aeria

Please do not withold your breath.

Your face may turn from green to blue to black and still there will be no action from Mr. Lim Guan Eng.

Sean
Sean
27 Jul 2010 10.00pm

I’ve a feeling if a developer tore down a protected building in the UK they could precisely be held liable for the cost of rebuilding it – but it appears the law goes softly first: http://www.putneysw15.com/default.asp?section=info&page=planningbrandle05.htm Conservation is pretty much an all-or-nothing problem. If there’s the slightest hint that a lenient view will be taken by the authorities, old buildings are as good as gone. I disagree with the soft approach in the UK article. I think the land should have been forfeit to the care of the local council for reconstruction by a specialist contractor, to be given back… Read more »

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 11.24am
Reply to  Sean

But there is no law on the book to enforce what you have suggested, Sean. The DAP-led government, 2 years after 308 still hasn’t produce _any_ meaningful law to protect the environment / heritage value of the city / help the people. They are the legislature and they ought to have some people (lawyers) who can write laws. For 2 long years they have done none of that. None. All they have done is to let that loose canon Lim Guan Eng let loose his lousy canon. Bombard here, bombard there while Penang continue heading Southward. Is this what “Change”… Read more »

Yang
Yang
28 Jul 2010 1.32pm
Reply to  Pearl

iGNORANT FOOL, pEARL, tHE LAW HAS BEEN ENACTED BY THE PREVIOUS STATE GOVERNMENT BUT IT IS SO VAGUE

Pearl
Pearl
28 Jul 2010 2.57pm
Reply to  Yang

There – Machais calling me “Ignorant Fool”.

Dear Machai,

Could you kindly show me the law that can satisfy Sean’s suggestion:

“If a developer tore down a protected building in the UK they could precisely be held liable for the cost of rebuilding it”

Please show me, nay, show all of us _THAT_ law.

Please !

Yang
Yang
28 Jul 2010 7.18pm
Reply to  Pearl

The law clearly state that if a protected building has been torn down without approval, then that land cannot be approved for development. But your weakling KTK and the white hair under their guise use every … means to have the Metropole approved.

NJP
NJP
27 Jul 2010 7.15pm

The developer should be fined the value of the proposed project of RM 280 million plus the amount of RM 38.7 million which they paid for the purchase of the land. The application for planning permission should be ripped up and thrown out. Not only the developer should be stripped of their license but the names of directors, stake holders etc blacklisted to prevent any of them setting up a new company. Hit them where it’s hard and that is in their greedy, selfish pockets. I have seen the proposed project and it is ugly, aesthetically not pleasant and not… Read more »

Pearl
Pearl
27 Jul 2010 9.34pm
Reply to  NJP

You really think Lim Guan Eng has the guts to do that?

Nah!

… everything will surely be okay, just like the case of our Botanical Garden.

Loh Yeow Boo - Penang
Loh Yeow Boo - Penang
27 Jul 2010 6.58pm

MPPP and LGE would not do anything. they are working hand in hand with …

kingkong
kingkong
28 Jul 2010 12.36am

How come MACC do not come and investigate so that the PR Government collapse and Gerakan K, ES and Pearl take over to become Pearl of Orient?

Yang
Yang
27 Jul 2010 5.48pm

Penalise the owner in accordance with the heritage conservation law that was set up by the zero kpi Gerakan government.

Pearl
Pearl
27 Jul 2010 5.35pm

So what the machais going to blame now? The FED?

MPPP under Lim Guan Eng has been shown to be totally incompetent, as incompetent as Lim Guan Eng.

Not only the FED sees MPPP as nothing even developers don’t heed MPPP anymore.

And Wira’s suggestion to “rebuild” the thing – what a sick joke can that be?

Demolish the original and rebuild a fake one, does that counted as “okay”?

Yang
Yang
27 Jul 2010 10.21pm
Reply to  Pearl

Pearl, If its a joke why didn`t you talk that to the weakling KTK and (the previous administration which) fined metropole 10,000 and let them rebuilt with only the facade intact. Are you simply full of idiocy or hypocrisy.!!

wira
wira
27 Jul 2010 5.35pm

Given the severe comments Lim Senior had written about the Metropole Hotel (similarly destroyed before the approval to build was given), I don’t think MPPP can be allowed to go easy on the developer.

LBJ
LBJ
27 Jul 2010 3.37pm

This is Malaysia, lah. Buddy buddy with people in power and the developers can do what they want. Wanna bet, nothing will happen. The few people making noise in the blogs are nothing but nuisance and obstacles to progress.

Kaki pulau
Kaki pulau
28 Jul 2010 1.11am
Reply to  LBJ

What’s progress, Buddy? Becoming extinct?