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
By DERRICK VINESH
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…