The new Ketua Penguasa of the Penang Botanic Garden, Tengku Idaura, has a monumental challenge ahead of her in restoring and improving the Garden in line with best practices.
She is seeking the assistance of volunteer botanists and garden enthusiasts.
Says Tengku Idaura:
It’s heartening to read the comments about the Penang Botanic Gardens. After working here for seven days, I feel downright discouraged at the volume of tasks ahead of me. Most of all, can I remove all the unnecessary structures which the officials would declare as “structurally sound” and therefore…
Then where are the brains and the brawn? There’s not a single botanist although there’s a Botany Unit made up of clerical staff trying their best at identifying and classifying plants.
So, guys, who wants to volunteer, please come forward?
As for the brawn, the garden has expanded eight-fold from 72 to 592 acres, but the staff numbers remain the same, while 26 per cent of them are assigned to maintain the state’s VIPs’ gardens.
Any gardening volunteers? We surely need you here.
Several regular walkers stop to talk to me after noticing that I’m a “regular”. I’m really glad that they share the same ideals.
Thanks for wishing me luck.
Yes, Tengku, please do your best to remove all the unnecessary concrete structures. Folks, here’s your chance to step forward and lend a hand to make the Garden the pride of the region.
Meanwhile, a botanist clarifies the chain of responsibility over the Garden fiasco:
There is still a misunderstanding among many that Ministry of Tourism is responsible for the fiasco and the state government and authorities are blameless. The projects in the gardens were proposed by the Penang Gardens Department and implemented by the State Drainage and Irrigation Department. The design was approved and accepted by the Gardens Dept, DID as well as JKR.
The State government through its Exco member approved the design, according to some of the state officials. Perhaps it is time for the Exco to clarify to the public why he approved the design.
The Federal Government is guilty of many things, such as selecting unsuitable consultants which were not those originally proposed by the previous State government.
But the proposal of the gardens’ improvement projects and responsibility and supervision of implementation is that of the Penang Botanic Gardens Department.
The gardens’ projects are federally funded State projects.