RM50m ‘white elephant’ in the making?


For the coming financial year (2010), the Penang Municipal Council is projecting a budget deficit of RM40 million based on revenue collection of RM230 million, two thirds of which come from taxes. Over the last year, the council should be commended for making extra effort to collect arrears from various parties…

It is therefore strange that the Council plans to blow RM30 million in capital expenditure in its 2010 Budget on a new convention centre project. This centre will be located within the premises of the Penang International Sports Arena (Pisa) at a spot where the present fountains are. It is believed that a further RM20 million will be allocated in the 2011 financial year.

Now, Pisa as everyone knows is an under-utilised white elephant, saddled with expenditure – hardly the most productive asset in Penang. So where is the logic in building another convention centre next to it? And how is it going to affect the already ailing Pisa, which is owned by the Council and managed by a private firm, Penevents (formerly owned by the PDC until a management buyout)?

A few city councillors have openly expressed their reservations about the project while some others are also believed to be quietly unhappy about the weak financial justification for the project.

“RM30 million is a lot of money especially when you consider the Council has been scrimping when it comes to the upgrading of public markets, which has had to be done in phases, and in the provision of other basic amenities,” one councillor told me. “With that kind of money, we could do a lot to improve basic services and amenities.”

It is believed that another major developer has plans to build another convention centre not far away from Pisa several years down the road.

But certain decision-maker(s) in Penang are somehow convinced that Penang needs a major convention centre (in addition to Pisa) quickly in line with its aspirations to become an “international city”.

I am not sure how we can justify such a drain on Council funds and risk landing up with a Pakatan white elephant to accompany the present BN white elephant. The firm tasked with designing the new centre is apparently the same one responsible for Pisa, according to the councillor.

Is this use of council funds a case of penny wise, pound foolish? If Penang really needs a gleaming convention centre, couldn’t Pisa be spruced up and upgraded?

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why worry about what gerakan K and OES says? the whole world knows the sins of Dr M and his … gerakan, MCA, MIC. now PKR has to bear the … that drips from the fan.


I think MPPP has a report on cost and benefit studies in order to get state government approval before implementation. Private developers do have the viability study and public development like Convention Centre will also has a Cost & Benefit Study (It cover wider scope as it take into social factors such as environmental effects). Please ask for a copy of the CBA (Cost & Benefit Study)report from MPPP before calling the proposal a “white elephant”. I am sorry to say that most commentators here have no economy background and have the knowledge of the Local Council’s (MPPP) roles and… Read more »


Gerakan K,

You and fellow … KSK have (allowed) even more (misdeeds) than that upon the people of Penang.

I fail to see why developing an empty plot of beach front constitues the “rape and destruction of Penang”.


Gerakan is thinking that LGE is 2-face, 4-hand and 8-leg god and LGE can destroy Penang in 2 years or next 3 years? Gerakan thinks that LGE can be a dictator…

But, in fact LGE is just a head of state administrator to ensure all state government agencies to carry out their jobs to benefit Penangists.

Is Gerakan provoking LGE to abuse his power? Hook by the nose and lead by Gerakan and/or a bunch of commentators living in a dreamland cant discern the right hand from the left hand?


The rape and destruction of Penang continues…All hail the Cheap Minister and his Development Above People govt and policies… ======================================================= YTL to develop project in George Town heritage area By Marina Emmanuel [email protected] 2009/10/29 THE heritage enclave of George Town in Penang may see a waterfront development soon. It is learnt that YTL Corp Bhd will embark on a project, through joint-venture company PDC Heritage Hotel Sdn Bhd, to build luxurious condominiums and an eatery on a 1.4ha seafront site adjacent to the 124-year-old Eastern and Oriental (E&O) Hotel along Lebuh Farqhuar. PDC Heritage was set up about a decade… Read more »


In my opinion, the PISA site is not suitable for a convention centre. The site is too small to accomodate a convention centre with a capacity more than 10,000. May be should consider to have it in George Town Heritage Enclave to further enchance our heritage status. Further more, to determine a good location of a convention centre, surrounding factors or existing facilities should be considered. Unlike the KL Convention Centre, which is located within the KLCC area and supported with commercial and also hotel facilities. Also, PR Government may consider to hold online survey to hear the voice from… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

LGE just want to emulate Dr M. Dr M do want he also want to do. A real brainless copycat. PISA is the icon of inefficiency of KTK, yet he still want to build a convention center on it without finding solution to how to revive the PISA. This PISA is really wrong on every aspect of FENG SHUI; you won’t like it at all, when you set your feet on it. We vote for change but LGE want to be KTK or Dr M. He (may) do anything if you approach him as a developer with any strange idea.… Read more »



I think your are talking with no sense. Making all assumptions on your own. Your are emulate yourself like a “prophet” knowing what and how LGE think.

Wake up and talk sense. Be respectful to Penangists. The Chief Minister is not Cheap. You are not disrespect LGE, but you are in fact disrespect the Penangists as LGE was elected by Penangists.

If you cant respect Penangists, I cant respect you either.

no begger

Build and fully utilized it.But please don’t build a sub standard convention centre.If it is built by BN,it will probably cost RM150 million.Or even RM200 million.

PISA is for sports.The reason why it was used as a convention centre is because Penang doesn’t have one.

I love Penang.I hope to see it prosper with various world class practical facilities.

Penang government has good vision.I trust them and willing to give them a chance.

Gerakan K

People, it is better to vote BN in next GE because there are also issues of cronyism and white elephant projects. These mean PR = BN, but in BN there is no islamic state agenda. Under BN we can continue our good life despite the mentioned issues. BN never disturb our lifestyle directly. But PR because of PAS will. Don’t be too childish to think that PKR and DAP will contain PAS, because of seats number, they will compromise. We must act now before the punishment like stoning to death, beheading and cutting hands become legal in Malaysia.


To Gerakan K,

FINALLY you revealed your self as a Gerakan supporter. Where we you when Gerakan and UMNO wanted to build a RM1.5 billion PGCC?

Gerakan K

Any sin by not supporting DAP? I found no reason to support DAP after witnessing the cruel demolition of Kg Buah Pala.


Answer my question Gerakan K.

Where was Gerakan when UMNO wanted to build PGCC?

(hiding behind Ahmad Ismail of Pendatang fame)


I refer to Sunny’s comments . It is true that it was so very crowded when i went to PISA for property fair, 2 years ago – no where to park. However, the recent property fair was held in G Hotel and Gurney Plaza. I really do not know whether it is wise to have another convention centre next to PISA. Why is the Council head so keen on it??? I think it will be more prudent to just upgrade it and make it to international standard. True, Mahathir has left us enough WHITE elephants in the country. Tony Phua… Read more »


LGE must have forgotten his objectives. Now he is caught up with mega projects fever. He wanted tp act just the way BN .
LGE please wake up.


Have any of you attended conventions held overseas like in Taiwan(Computex) and US(CES)? Just because you lack vision and don’t think its important for you does not make it so for everyone else.

And lastly, look at the crowd each time PC and Property fair is held at PISA.



Just because PISA is occupied several times a year doesn’t mean we need a new mega convention center.

I am sure you will agree with me that we need to conduct an analysis on the vialibility and returns before we burn Rm 50 Million of our money right ?


People are jumping the gun based on rumours and speculation. It seems that all ideas have to be perfect before it can be discussed and news filtered out. THAT is an impossible standard to achieve under any govt.

Even if there are idiots in PR AND DAP who proposed it, there are plenty of young smart guys who knows how to do the numbers in DAP like Tony Pua and Jeff Ooi that will shoot it dead. You can bet your money on it.


Big Joe….

With due respects, Tony Pua and Jeff Ooi would not qualify as “young smart guys”, certainly not after their performance post 0308. Tony’s track record as a IT-entrepreneur wasn’t exactly a smashing success as he and his DAP supporters would like us to believe. As for Jeff, he has neither the intellectual/leadership abilities … even to run a kindergarten, much less being an exco member or an key policy advisor for a state govt. He better off sticking to his half-baked and patronising blog.

people power

My Dear Malaysians, A simple equation, do you find a correlation between inequality and democracy? Equality – ie disparity between the richest and the poorest of the society. Democracy – all that you have decided. Bottomline, how do you measure progress and well being of the society that has revealed the growing gap between official statistics and people’s perceptions of their standards of living based on indicators based on production ie GDP to one based on people’s well-being. Frankly not much. Maybe we the people should assess the levels of freedom, security and social contentment as the underlining factor. Maybe… Read more »

najib manaukau

Without the proposed new projects how are thee cronies going to get their shares of the money ?


Another NAIL in the Pakatan Rakyat coffin.
PR seems to be in a DOWNWARD trend now.
Are they lost or something?
Have they also missed the plot?
Is the RAKYAT the basis of these decisions?
Think carefully guys,
a decision now has long term repercussions!


hey k wake up what do you mean local councils are not under the purview of politicians,let it be bn or pr they are and always be under the purview of polticians or how (do) you think these politicians feed their followers its all about the contracts in these councils,wake up man.



I am well aware of these current practices, but that doesn’t mean who should just sit back and accept them. We are talking about our hard earned $$ here.


From the look of:
PISA isn’t doing the most amount of conference business ever. The website doesn’t exactly reek of success.

I too would have thought that Penang would be an odd choice of ‘major conference venue’ for Malaysia. It seems to me the rest of the world does this kind of thing in those parts of the country that need ‘cheering up’, could use some extra income in the off-season for tourism, or are – for whatever reason – failed tourist resorts. Port Dickson would seem like a more appropriate choice than Penang.


Sean…agree with you that there are far better locations for MICE events than Penang. PD would be one for sure along with Langkawi, KK,etc.

Loh Yeow Boo - Penang

Lain orang masuk lah….surely project awarded to their cronies in Penang lah …..like MEI, LLA… all those people who angkat DAP….

Gerakan K

LGE administration finally showing its spot! BN = PR = 2×5


SH Tan..well written and articulated letter, bravo ! Please allow me to add to the points that you and Anil have highlighted. 1. Based on the Local Council Act, Town councils like MPPP are independent bodies that are outside the purview of politicians. As such, how can the state govt dictate and direct key aspects of policies and decisions of MPPP ? In fact under Pakatan we expected (and demand) that local councils to be more responsible, transparent and people-centric but sadly the opposite seems to hold. 2. I am also curious to the process of decision-making in MPPP. If… Read more »

SH Tan

Anil: Coincidentally I sent a letter to the Star on the same subject and same argument yesterday. Also, my source told me that the Pesta site in Pantai Jerejak is being eyed by a group. They have approached LGE and he has asked them to come back with a proposal. Guess what? They are talking about a convention centre with a bus interchange. Below is my letter to the Star. ——————————————————— I refer to the report “RM50 mil convention centre in Penang” (Star 24 Oct). The Penang MPPP President announced that a multi-million convention centre will be built in Penang… Read more »