The mothership is landing…


And so Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi launches the masterplan for Patrick Lim’s RM25 billion Penang Global City Centre project on 12 Sept.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Have a look at these graphics visualising the PGCC, which I am reproducing here from architect firm Asymptote’s website in the public interest

I don’t know about you, but it looks like a soulless alien colony to me – as if a mothership from a distant galaxy has docked at the Turf Club land!


Now, what did the developer say about having 40 per cent green and open spaces?

In a recent NST interview, PGCC master planner Nasrine Seraji was asked what “zero carbon” meant.

She replied: “It means natural light, green buildings, vast parks, clean air, recycling policies and natural ventilation. A better life, a healthier environment.”

Vast parks? Do you see vast parks (see image below)? Looks like the only “vast parks” are those narrow strips of green between rows of building complexes. The 10 hectare one-kilometre-long narrow “Central Park” is just a little bit wider.

PGCC overview

Even the “Central Park” will be full of “development” worth RM40 million: “playground, fitness stations, multipurpose outdoor courts, jogging path, children wading pools, garden pavilions and an amphitheatre.” So how much actual, untouched green space will there be left?

Does the 40 per cent include the 24-hectare “Penang Hill Park”, which apparently cannot be developed – and which doesn’t look like it is even in this graphic?

Just so you get your bearings, the road curving from the left of the graphic to the top is the proposed Penang Outer Ring Road (another controversial project!). The road at the bottom right corner is Scotland Road. Jesselton is somewhere at the top right corner. And the half dozen grey buildings on the far left make up the Batu Gantong crematorium and columbarium complex.

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It was at this columbarium that I placed the ashes of my late grandma and my late father on two sad occasions over the last several years. How they landed up in a Chinese columbarium is another story but I chose the spot to place their urns precisely because it was peaceful and green and facing lush hills not far away. (Notice how the PGCC architects have left another little green space to separate the crematorium from the rest of the PGCC project, presumably to keep some distance from all the bad, bad fengshui lest it creeps in and eats into the developer’s profits. Hmm, I wonder if having a crematorium next door will affect property prices though. Maybe the crematorium could be turned into a “zero carbon” area too!)

For everything there is a purpose. Now, I am going to request my dear grandma (she was a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi) and dad, who I know are in the company of God and his angels and saints, to watch over these green spaces. I know they will ask Him to protect these green spaces from greedy developers and to create a Penang State Park as a legacy for future generations of Penangites.

Already, I hear the main Penang NGOs are holding a press conference this Saturday to make public their stand on the PGCC. Stay tuned.

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13 Sep 2007 11.36am

its going to cost more than 25 big ones to do this unless the image in the Star is a ‘feel good’ picture, which is what most internaltional architect will show but when it comes to local implementation, the local arch. and structural engineers will not be able to carry thru without the cost approval from the developers. Note, developers are born greedy. Its in thier blood. At the end of the day i bet you will bet a ‘Run of the Mill’ square block and possibly some ‘funk’ thrown in, but only in the high end condos. In terms… Read more »

jordan Tan
13 Sep 2007 10.38am

we need 1 kilo of food
2 litres of water and 13.2 litres of air
a day to live,
this life giving oxygen is from the trees

the trees are the life of man’s survival.

pity the poor purchasers of this billion $
project. they have to pay air tax in years to come!!

jordan Tan
13 Sep 2007 10.31am

when the last fish is caught,
when the last river is poisoned,
when the last tree is cut,
then they only know, money cannot be eaten.

” Red Indian proverb”

Johnny Ong
12 Sep 2007 5.23pm

really getting out of hand

12 Sep 2007 12.20pm

Wow. Deja vu. I recalled exactly the same thing happening in Kuala Lumpur during the 1990s when the Kuala Lumpur City Centre was built over the original site of the Selangor Turf Club. It’s not so much the project itself that is of concern, but the effects it will have on the surrounding area. Although there was already some degree of development in the area, the KLCC led to skyrocketing land value and the former suburb of colonial-era mansions and kampungs became a hotspot for property development. Who knows how many historical buildings and villages were demolished in place of… Read more »