Pave paradise to put up 800 parking bays in Youth Park


Canadian song-writer Joni Mitchell felt compelled to write the song “Big Yellow Taxi” when during a visit to Hawaii she took a taxi to a hotel and peered out of the hotel room window the next morning. She described what she saw to journalist Alan McDougall:

… I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.

The line “Paved paradise to put up a parking lot” could well describe what we are doing to our Pearl of the Orient, which is rapidly turning into one big parking lot.

“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”

Now I have stumbled onto plans to put up 800 parking bays at the Penang Youth Park. 800?! Are they out of their minds? We have such limited recreational areas and parks – and they can think of putting up 800 parking bays? Someone, please tell me it’s all a misunderstanding…

I got this information from an official-sounding website Adun PP Net. This is what it says:

Sementara itu bagi untuk Taman Belia/Taman Perbandaran ianya adalah seluas 167 ekar. Di bawah Rancangan Malaysia Ke Sembilan (RMKe-9), Majlis bercadang untuk membangunkan Fasa 2 Taman Belia/Taman Perbandaran seluas 80 ekar di kawasan taman yang sedia ada. Kementerian Pelancongan Malaysia (KPM) dijangka memperuntukan sebanyak RM4 juta bagi projek Pembangunan Pelancongan Taman Perbandaran Fasa 2 ini. Kemudahan-kemudahan yang akan disediakan adalah seperti berikut:-

(i)    Pintu gerbang masuk dan keluar
(ii)    Tempat letak kereta [800 petak letak kereta]
(iii)    Padang serbaguna [2 buah padang]
(iv)    Sebuah bangunan/kiosk informasi
(v)    Tapak perkhemahan
(vi)    Manaiktaraf infrastruktur iaitu jalan dan laluan pejalan kaki
(vii)    Lampu-lampu jalan
(viii)    Taman permainan kanak-kanak

Tempoh pembinaan adalah selama 12 bulan dan kerja-kerja pembinaan akan dijalankan selepas mendapat kebenaran memulakan kerja daripada pihak Kementerian.

Our beaches are being polluted and silted, our green hills and parks are disappearing.

Think also of all the new approach highways and road-widening that we’ll have to do with the second Penang Bridge. Paving paradise, that’s what we are doing… and then we wonder why we are getting hit by flash floods more often.

“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”

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They paved paradise And put up a parking lot With a pink hotel, a boutique And a swinging hot spot Dont it always seem to go That you dont know what youve got Till its gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot They took all the trees Put em in a tree museum And they charged the people A dollar and a half just to see em Dont it always seem to go That you dont know what youve got Till its gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot Hey farmer farmer Put away… Read more »


Oh ya, we all love Youth Park, we all love Botanical Gardens, we all love Penang so let’s all vote for more car parks.

What a bunch of stupid morons!!!

Or is it for the love of money in my own pocket more like it!!!


Why are people talking about the need for car parking?

What’s the use of car parks when the parks are so congested already?

The point is we need more green lungs!


I agree with the need for a carpark. But the devil is in the details, isn’t it? As things stand, we DO NOT have an efficient public transportation system. In order to go to the Park, almost everyone drives (anyone care to hazard a guess on numbers; minus those who live within walking distance?) I am not so sure about the rest of the structurs though. The faster Penang develops an efficient oublic transportation system, the faster such an issue would be a thing of the past. Having that one park in the midst of Penang does have its pros… Read more »

Justin Choo

I concur with Racheljansz and Mag M.

I go to Youth Park every Saturdays.

A properly planned car park will serve both The Botanical Gardens and the Youth Park.

(Funny “politicians”; when everyone is used to calling it “Youth Park” they must change the name into who knows what!!)

Mag M

Taman Belia does need a carpark as the crowd there on weekends in pretty huge. Lots of people take their kids there and there is no where to park at all so people park indescriminately. However, the carpark should be well planned so that it does not spoil the natural surroundings.

Dalbinder Singh Gill

first of all, where is this 800 parking spots gonna be located anil? any idea? where is youth park, if can source out some pictures would be great. As i am sure its gonna take a lot of space, 800 lots k not 50 or 100 lots, n 800 more vehicles in the youth park, pollution will increase and so many other factors, what is happening to penang, i agree with you ANIL.


Botanical Gardens is packed even on weekdays. Youth Park is so very packed. People are walking into people; groups of people are doing their exercise all along the roads.

So what does the @#%%^^^^ of a politician think of???

Build 800 car parks of course! Build “ecotourism” project of course!

We dont want car parks, we don’t want PROJECTS! We want our trees, we want our air, we want space for our children!

Who the hell is responsible for this clever idea anyway???


Anil, I used some of your photos of the PP by-election in my blog for a new post concerning the Kuala Terengganu by-election. However, I acknowledged you as my source. Thanks.


How many do you think is the right figure?
You drive a car too, and isn’t the current parking situation a source of our daily stress and frustration?


funny you should mention this today, as I left the Botanic gardens to get my bus home I was puzzling why there are any cars in these recreational areas, at all. How about park and ride areas with shuttle buses?
Life is beautiful without cars.


A big NO from me. I’d be the first to go against that!!

Green Penang

With a new state government in Penang we hope that such nonsense will not get implemented. Penang’s beauty is in its greenery and heritage. We do not want to be Themepark Bolehland!
Can the CM please look into this?


I note that a RM4 million allocation is needed from the Tourism Ministry in KL for this project. Under the present political scenario this will take some time to realize!

Perhaps they can build the carpark as a multistorey structure on the existing carparks, so that no greenery is further destroyed. And they should then CHARGE parking fees! They might even RECLAIM some greenery sacrificed for the nonpaying existing carparks scattered haphazardly along some of the roads.


I was at the Kebun Bunga Charity Run 2008 recently which started at Youth Park and the route included Botanical Gardens. The place is still good. Whether we need the 800 parking lots, I must say they should build more but whether its 800 or not, its to be determined after proper study. But what is obvious is more lots are needed. Go there Anil at 7.30 am and 5 pm when there are most people, then perhaps you can see the cars parked haphazardly everywhere, even on the playground. C’mon Anil, lets not be anti-development just for the sake… Read more »


I hosted an Aussie friend in Penang early last year. To this day, the most memorable and hilarious experience for her was hiking up Penang Hill to find gym equipment! She still laughs her head off whenever it comes up in conversation. (We’re best friends, so she’s not demeaning, just finds it very random!) I kinda like that it’s there, but it reflects on our lack of appreciation for natural beauty. The amount of tar in our “Botanic Gardens” is another example. Sad. I used to cycle to school (rarity in urban students these days, only few of us did… Read more »


Pave paradise
Eyes can see it is alright
The concrete ground nature gone
As people walking by

Vehicles drive in
Drivers smile
Pave paradise
They come to spoil

Nature scream
Loudly in the wind
Only concerned citizens
Crying out for the environment

Pave paradise
Eyes can see it is alright
Money to be made
The state government forgets
About pledges keep the environment

Pave paradise
The concrete on the ground
Drivers smile
Nature cry


Obviously you guys haven’t been to the Park to see the numbers of cars there. Whilst I would agree on being eyesore, intrusion of the natural setting,.etc, there need to balance convenience of the visitors vs preservation of the park. I would not hold my breath waiting for the underground public transport, maybe not until the Pakatan becomes the Federal Govt. In the meantime, if there is to be a car park then, it is our responsibility to see it build with minimum impact to the environment and it’s able to encourage more visitor/users, especially the young people, to the… Read more »


Uh-oh. Tough call.
I’m a regular at the Youth Park. On normal days, there is no parking problem, even though the car park has only err.. modest capacity. A lot of locals walk or jog to the park.
However, on those days where they hold public occasions at the Youth park, its absolutely chaos.

Depends on where the car park is build, I suppose. If they can do it without disturbing the core area, and blend into the environment, maybe…


A teenage girl went up to a counselor and told her that she felt so out of place when she is with her friends. Whenever they sleep over in a friend’s house, they would all talk about their experienced with guys. All her friends have slept with guys before except her. She is still a virgin. She feels she has been left out and her friends always teased and laughed at her. The counselor told her to go back and tell her friends that she can always be like them, BUT THEY CAN NEVER BE LIKE HER AGAIN! You can… Read more »


Penang not unlike Singapore, with it’s population highly concentrated in a small area cannot afford to have a high vehicle population that eats into precious land for roads and car parks. The best solution is to go for underground public transport like MRT. The cost is high initially but once the system is in place, normal traffic congestion on the roads will be much reduced. Great savings can be derived from less petrol usage not to mention the reduction in carbon monoxide. If the system is efficient and have good coverage, people will prefer to travel by MRT rather than… Read more »


way to go bro the song touched my heart, haven’t heard it for years.
thats how the gov. planning unit thinks. read about the floods on one of the hills in penang, with pics to boot too lol, since the gov. is famous for their book of records isn’t this an item to be prouds off?
keep up the good work bro will try7 to go up north in three weeks time to burn a candle.
regards julian


are you stupid anil?

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

The 800 parking lots to be sited in a single huge parking area would definite not in consonance with the natural setting of the recreation park! It would certainly become an eyesore!

The MPPP, State Govt and other authorities concerned should seriously relook this aspect of 800 parking lots, with utmost consideration that whatever parking space planned does not intrude into the natural setting of the Youth Park. Reduce the scale and make sure that it does not ‘deface’ the recreational park.

Save The Trees

The sad truth is that even those in charge of our Parks are quite often clueless as to what Parks represent. I used to take my 18 month old daughter to the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur to experience one of the last slivers of green in the city. We went there I’m like most others for the solitude, the sound of birds chirping, insects and just being as close to nature as one could expect to be in the heart of the city. With every visit I noticed changes – most often additional concrete. The last straw was just… Read more »