UPDATE: Polling closed at 5.30pm sharp on 15 June 2010.
Just before it closed, it was 9,608 (about 66 per cent) saying No to the arches and 4,981 (about 34 per cent) saying Yes.
URGENT ALERT: The percentage of those saying No to the arches in Penang Botanic Garden has inexplicably plunged in a poll hosted on the Tourism Ministry’s website.
Caught in the act: See how the poll results appear to be manipulated
From 91 per cent who said ‘No’ to the arches a few days ago, it is now only 54 50 48 per saying ‘No’. That is an unbelievably sharp drop in the percentage opposing the arches in just a matter of days. When observed, in the space of an hour on a Sunday afternoon (today), over 200 more “Yes-es” were recorded in favour of the arches. And that’s just in an hour.
The poll may close anytime soon and then the government might use the final result to justify its decision on whether the arches should stay or go. So make sure you vote now before it’s too late.
Here’s your chance to tell the government whether those large arches at the Penang Botanic Garden – one of which is believed to be tilting – should be removed.
The Tourism Ministry is carrying out a poll on its website. But be careful, you are asked whether those arches should remain.
Vote ‘Ya’ if you like the arches or ‘Tidak’ if you want the arches to go. For the poll, go here (see right column).
Some background info:
The Penang Botanic Gardens, established in 1884, is Malaysia’s only Botanic Garden and is one of our most beloved treasures, enjoyed by thousands daily and by more than 2 million a year. Recent developments due to a RM7.75 million grant from the Federal Government are resulting in inappropriate and destructive projects that are ad hoc in nature and do not conform to any principles and good practices of botanic garden planning.
The arches are merely the most visible of these abuses to the Gardens. Others involve a non-existent RM1 million bambusetum, a RM1 million eco-stream walk that turned a natural flowing stream into a glorified drain with nothing ‘eco’ about it, a RM2.5 million visitor centre, which is being built below unstable hill slopes, and various developments within the gardens such as two suraus, the destruction of historic plant houses, and the destruction of the beloved formal gardens.
The arches are part of a RM2.5 million mall entrance with lots of concrete, a large open storm drain, decorative fountains and car parks. Large trees were removed and a pre-war art deco cafe was demolished. The NGOs have proposed an alternative salvage job where the arches are removed, the fountains removed, lots of trees planted
in the car parks and the pools turned into ponds for water plants and fish.
The removal of the arches would at least be symbolic and would allow us to work towards greater transparency and better management of the Penang Botanic Gardens.
And a report from The Star of 8 June: