Penang Global City Centre: Spot the difference!


pgcc with patrick

This is the PGCC (based on Equine’s model of the 38 towers) (Patrick Lim is on the right)

pgcc nasrine’s presentation

And this isn’t? (The PGCC campaign group’s model of the PGCC which PGCC master planner Nasrine Seraji says is based on a “misunderstanding of the masterplan”) (photo credit: Sin Chew from Nasrine’s powerpoint presentation)

Err, pardon me… but what is the difference between the two?

Why did Equine not display its own model of all those towers during its recent exhibitions at Queensbay Mall and Gurney Plaza in Penang? Why only show the two “iconic” towers? (Did anyone bother to ask whether Penangites wanted more “iconic” towers?)

Patrick Lim flew in Nasrine Seraji, the master planner of the Penang Global City Centre project, to attend a local government consultative forum meeting (for a select audience) last Friday. In her powerpoint presentation, Nasrine said that the campaign group’s model of 38 towers was based on a “misunderstanding of the plan”. They were merely “aspirations”.

But Equine obviously had its own model all along – showing 38 towers, give or take a couple of towers. The picture of its model (topmost) was obtained from its submission to Bursa Malaysia. Why hasn’t that model been widely shown in the media?

On Friday night, the PGCC Campaign group held a public forum at Dewan Sri Pinang. Patrick Lim and Nasrine did not show up even though they were in town earlier that day. I wonder why they are so “shy” about meeting the Penang public face-to-face and telling them personally what a great project this is. Instead, they seem more comfortable addressing invited audiences.

Some key questions emerged at the public forum on Friday night (the one Patrick and Nasrine did not attend).

  • Under normal circumstances, a project of such a size would require around five (normal) schools, complete with school-fields. But the developer is only talking of one international school (would that include a field as well?).
  • Why is the project only talking about building around 1,300 low-cost flats – less than the usual 30 per cent quota requirement for the 7,000-odd residential homes planned for the PGCC?
  • Why are these low-cost flats going to be built in Rifle Range – and not on the Turf Club land? And how is it that these low-cost flats will be built on a site that was designated for a badly needed car park at Rifle Range? What about the interests of the residents of the already over-crowded and congested Rifle Range? Doesn’t this abhorrent move amount to reinforcing a kind of ‘ghetto’ for Rifle Range that would be against the spirit of the regulations requiring on-site co-location?
  • Nasrine had talked about planting 750,000 trees at the Turf Club site. Can you really fit 750,000 trees on the Turf Club land if you follow the Council’s planting guidelines for distance between each tree? Isn’t the real figure closer to 20,000 trees – and that too if no buildings are constructed?! Or is her figure another “aspiration”?
  • Seeing that the land has been converted from open recreational space to mixed development, was there a conversion charge imposed on the developer which could have earned the state government substantial revenue?
  • At the public forum, environmentalist Gurmit Singh laughed off the developer’s idea of putting windmills at the PGCC, saying that Malaysia just doesn’t have the wind-power necessary for it to work. Where are the feasibility studies?
  • But most of all: Where are the detailed independent Environmental Impact Assessment and Social Impact Assessment? Shouldn’t these be made public before the project can be approved?

So many questions, so few real answers.

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10 Dec 2008 1.28pm

You know why the environment and social impact assessment reports are nowhere to be seen, because there is none, no study is done on this project, period.

8 Sep 2008 8.19am

The people of Penang have already chosen.

“Together we must tell the CM that it was we who elected him to lead this State and that he owes us his primary obligation and he is not beholden to no one else but to us.”

We’ve elected a CM beholden to no one but the People.


Joe the Penangite
Joe the Penangite
30 Aug 2008 3.31pm

Anil, thanks for the extensive coverage on PGCC development. We are well informed through your follow-up.

3 Dec 2007 9.56am

I suppose there will be a detailed EIA eventually. But it could be just a formality – unless the people pressure the DOE/the authorities to take it seriously and allow for full public consultation and review.

Eye on Penang
Eye on Penang
28 Nov 2007 9.06pm

No transparency as usual. The requirements for an independent DIEA and SIA will be most likely be effectively circumvented, as will all other requirements. Parick Lim has the ear of the PM, and it is certain that the PGCC will go ahead as planned, (it will be a massive cash cow for all those implicated in it) unless there is strong and persistent protest against it. Are there enough strong willed, dedicated and brave Penangites who are willing to stand up and be counted? Will the PM threaten to use the ISA against those who do no favour the PGCC?… Read more »

29 Nov 2007 1.08pm

The EIA that is approved listed on the DOE website is probably the preliminary EIA report. Not the DETAILED EIA, which should be made public before the project can be approved.

29 Nov 2007 12.40pm

The one in the centre is Ian Lim of Lim Cheng Chuan and Company, Advocate and Solicitors and Director of Equine BHD

29 Nov 2007 12.39pm

I have checked the Department of Envinrinment Malaysia website, search it in GOOGLE and you will see under EIA that the DOE had already approved this project.



3 Dec 2007 9.42am

A project the size of PGCC, only a preliminary EIA required ?? In the Environment Protection Act , does not mention a prelim EIA, a EIA is needed and consultancy with the public is needed.

For the next 100 years we will not see another project this size in Penang.

Approved base on a Prelim EIA, this is a joke right !!??

DOE what r u doing ?? What r the NGO’s and Residents Association doing about it ??

Save Penang !!

2 Dec 2007 5.02pm

A proect size of PGCC can be allowed to be approved with a prelim EIA. u mean only Nuclear plants u require a Detailed EIA ???

ahmad chik
ahmad chik
1 Dec 2007 12.21pm

There are enough brave and dedicated people in Penang who are against this project and who are prepared to speak out; of that I am sure. The question really is whether we can speak out loudly enough for our leaders, the CM and the rest of the decision makers in Penang, to hear us. The evidence so far is that they prefer to close their ears to our voices and listen instead to carpet-baggers from KL and Putrajaya. That makes it necessary for us to speak out very loudly with one voice. Together we must tell the CM that it… Read more »