The Hanging Flowerpots of Butterworth


bworth phone booth
Unnecessary structures: Flimsy covered phone booths that fell apart soon after being installed

butterworth lamppost

Weird and tacky lamp-posts: Each lamp-post had the letters MPSP up in lights! Notice the hooks where flower pots once hung (you can just about see the hooks below the four lamps). What they didn’t factor in was what a tough job watering the plants would be! I guess they simply gave up on watering them and all the plants probably died a slow death. Today the “Hanging Flowerpots of Butterworth” are history. (Reminds me of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!) Wonder who got the contract to supply these lamp-posts.

I am not surprised that the Seberang Perai Municipal Coucil is almost broke. Over the years, they have indulged in all kinds of “beautification projects” costing hundreds of thousands of ringgit while the basics such as proper drains for the whole town were neglected.

In the name of “beautification”, they put new pavements in – only to dig them up several years later and replace them with newer pavements, in many places where people hardly walked. They put up all kinds of weird structures – especially tacky, ornamental street lamp-posts and dim pavement lighting for pedestrians. These pedestrian lights were largely unnecessary because they were usually in places where people hardly walked at night or they were near the main street lights, so that the additional light provided was minimal.

At about the same time, they put up these flimsy covered phone booths all over town, which started falling apart even before the phones could be installed!

There was a beautiful green space in town, the padang – but then they erected this enormous dewan named after Abdullah Badawi’s father. You can see a bit of it on the right of the lamp-post above. Sadly, the field is I believe no longer big enough for the football league matches that were once played there, and which were avidly watched by some Butterworth residents.

Almost all the recreational spaces in Butterworth have been lost. The tennis court next to the padang is no more. It has been converted to an artificial rock garden and pond with fountains, which few people actually visit. The entire beach front along Butterworth is not easily accessible to the public now, no thanks to the Butterworth Outer Ring Road. And then they wonder why the youth turn to unhealthy activities. Where are the open recreational spaces for them in town? Where are the parks?

True, they planted lots of trees and shrubs, so that Butterworth today looks a lot greener – but how much did all those trees and shrubs cost? And what about those huge flowerpots on the road dividers?

Meanwhile, the main drains of Butterworth, outside the town centre, remain in horrible condition with stagnant water, aggravated by haphazard ad hoc construction of drains by property developers.

The amount of public money wasted on “beautification” projects over the years has been scandalous. And all the while, urban pioneers in “squatter” settlements lived in deplorable conditions not far away until many of them were evicted to make way for “development”.

Hardly anyone in Butterworth knew who their town councillors were; nor did they know who was responsible for such extravagant expenditure.

Butterworth is a prime example of why we need to bring back local council elections – and fast.

Penang to make auditor’s findings public, says Lim
[email protected]

BUTTERWORTH: The findings of the private auditor into the financial status of Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP), whose reserves fell from RM229mil in 2000 to just RM25.6mil at the end of 2007, will be made public.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the public had the right to know how the council’s reserves had come down.

“If the municipal council had built a lapangan terbang (airport) here, perhaps we can understand.

“But, there is no lapangan terbang and yet the money could terbang (fly),” he said.

Lim said those who were not involved in any mishandling of funds need not fear as the auditing process was merely aimed at improving the council’s performance.

“But the guilty ones who took public money and became very rich will be investigated,” he said when opening Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Tanasekharan’s service centre in Jalan Bagan Luar here yesterday.

He said the new state government was worried the council would be broke by the end of the year.

Lim said many expected the new state government to continue helping the people with big projects, but that would not be possible when there were no more reserves.

“If there are disasters, we will definitely help the people. But to come up with projects, we must look at our financial situation first,” he said.

On April 1, state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the council, with an accumulated deficit of RM226mil over the last eight years, had been scraping the bottom of the barrel.

On April 4, former councillor Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said large portions of the council’s reserves were spent on the State Stadium in Batu Kawan (RM110mil), the council’s headquarters (RM83mil), Dewan Milenium (RM24mil) and the Central Seberang Prai district sports complex (RM12.8mil).

Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris said the council could have retained high reserves if it had asked for federal funds to build its headquarters and a district sports complex.

Sungai Dua assemblyman Datuk Jasmin Mohamed called for the council to tutup kedai (close shop) and hand over its duties to the state government if it was incapable of handling its finances.

He said the council’s land administrative duties should also be surrendered to the three district offices in Seberang Prai…

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Tok Janggut
Tok Janggut
16 Apr 2008 3.48pm

Please also look at the ‘new’ multi storey parking building constructed by MPPP at Union Street, next to Maybank ( on Penang site ). The lobby itself is like a 4 star hotel lobby. Look at the design, it can match any of the expensive apartments at Kelawai Road, Penang.

SH Tan
SH Tan
15 Apr 2008 2.33pm

Anil: Great job on highlighting the wastages of the previous Penang Govt. On beautification projects, I know Penang’s landscaping projects were singularly given to one contractor. The previous MPPP was also obsessed with fountains. I have brought this up to MPPP that fountains need maintenance and many of the fountains are no longer working after 2-3 years of installation. They become eyesores and cesspools after that. I would urge more Penang based bloggers to devote some space to highlight wastages and bad governance in their Tamans. Empower ourselves and our friends and we can make changes. We did this on… Read more »

15 Apr 2008 2.15pm

Why is it that it is always the playing fields that are always sacrificed when a new public building is constructed? More often than not there is no replacement for it. No wonder we are not producing any new Mokhtar Dahari or Soh Chin Auns nowadays, there is just no more place to play or even kick balls around. So EPL is the alternative so much so when Malaysia plays, there is nobody to cheer them on. Who wants to cheer them anyway since they are always on the losing end.

raj raman
raj raman
14 Apr 2008 11.36pm

To, Mr.ANIL. I have been in this trade of landscape almost 25 years and i do know a bit how the system work for a while to beutify. The problem is,the so call specialist is sometimes or most of the times overlook certain things needs maintainance.Who going to bother after someone award the contract and finish off state fund without looking into long term solution of taking care the public funds. For example,whenever PM/Menteri besar going to officiate something,you can noticed the amounts of money spend on plants.Its can be tune to hundreds of thousand of ringgit. The town council… Read more »

Pin Pan Dan
Pin Pan Dan
14 Apr 2008 11.12pm

This is precisely what happens when you have half-past-six appointed councillors from the BN who don’t care two hoots about the feelings of local residents who pay rates! There is a high possibility of corruption involved with the installation of fixtures not related to the wants of local residents but rather to line the pockets of appointed BN councillors in shady deals. Now all the more we should have elected local councils. In cleaning up the mess Mr Chow Kon Yow should investigate whether there is negligence on the part of the BN-appointed Butterworth Municipal council president or his predecessor… Read more »

15 Apr 2008 9.10am

MPSP is so broke that they don’t even have the fund to fix their garbage truck, resulting irregular service to the numerous taman. Look at the allocation for maintainance for these trucks, it has been used up even before the elections. How I know these facts? MPSP officer told me after I lodge complaint of irregular service for garbage collection.

14 Apr 2008 10.35pm

I believed that this wastages is not confined to MPSB alone. Under the BN government, it seems to be the rights of all state municipals to spend lavishly in the name of beutification. However if one were to go through their account one would immediately detect the exorbitant prices paid out.

We hope the Pakatan Rakyat state government will expose and bring all these culprits to courts.

14 Apr 2008 10.00pm

Sometime back, I saw it with my own eyes, the MPPP in Youth Park took their plants from a Chinese nursery. This nursery lorry dropped those shrubs to Youth Park and I was like..WHAT! they even sub-con the planting of these tiny plants to a third party? Back then, I already felt it so wasteful to buy the plants from a third party when MPPP can easily have enough labourers to plant these plants themselves or just forget about all those tahi ayam flowers along the road.

14 Apr 2008 9.32pm

Action must be taken against the rascals who used public funds as if it was their own.

Amarit Singh Sekhon
Amarit Singh Sekhon
18 Apr 2008 2.34pm

People,,,,,,, My greatest displeasure in Butterworth is, the distruction of playgrounds or feilds, to allow our young childeren, to play and develop their skills. If you were to take a drive around B.Ajam, B. Jermal, B Luar, Raja Uda, Mak Mandin and Sg. Puyu, what can and is happening is the removal of squatered houses and followed by housing developments and highway. Where is the feild?. When the squartered houses were there, hoola,,,there is a field craeted out of open space by the squartered residence, but with development and its gone. In Mak Mandin there is a feild and I… Read more »