NGO calls for so­cial im­pact as­sess­ment stud­ies on state land sold to hospi­tal

New Straits Times - - Front Page - AU­DREY DERMAWAN GE­ORGE TOWN au­dreymd@nst.com.my

THE Pe­nang gov­ern­ment was yes­ter­day told to con­duct her­itage and so­cial im­pact as­sess­ment stud­ies at a prime piece of state land at Peel Av­enue here which has been alien­ated to a pri­vate hospi­tal.

The land was sold to Is­land Hospi­tal for RM156 mil­lion on a 99-year-lease with­out go­ing through open ten­der.

Cit­i­zens Aware­ness Chant Group (CHANT) said the her­itage im­pact as­sess­ment study was nec­es­sary to de­ter­mine the her­itage value of the old bun­ga­lows cur­rently sit­ting on the land, more so with Ge­orge Town be­ing an Unesco World Her­itage site.

CHANT ad­viser Yan Lee said this fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions that Is­land Hospi­tal Sdn Bhd had ap­plied to de­mol­ish a dou­ble-storey her­itage bun­ga­low on two lots of its land, lo­cated at the cor­ner of Peel Av­enue and Pierce Road, ad­ja­cent to the state land.

The ap­pli­ca­tion, sub­mit­ted on March 14, is still pend­ing ap­proval.

“We are against the de­mo­li­tion of the dou­ble-storey her­itage bun­ga­low or other old bun­ga­lows sit­ting on state land for de­vel­op­ment pur­poses.

“Since Ge­orge Town is a Unesco World Her­itage site, we feel that all these struc­tures should be pro­tected and pre­served.

“As such, we call on the state author­i­ties to con­duct a her­itage im­pact as­sess­ment study at the site be­fore it is too late,” he said.

Lee said there was noth­ing the state gov­ern­ment could do now since it had “sold its soul” by sell­ing the land.

Checks by the New Straits Times showed the struc­ture was run­down, with trees grow­ing in­side it.

Lee said a so­cial im­pact as­sess­ment study was equally im­por­tant as the pro­posed project to de­velop a RM2 bil­lion Is­land Med­i­cal City was bound to im­pact its sur­round­ings.

Mean­while, Lee also de­manded the state gov­ern­ment to come clean on what would hap­pen to the sale trans­ac­tion if Is­land Hospi­tal failed to get the nec­es­sary hospi­tal li­cence.

“We have seen be­fore how state land was given to de­vel­op­ers for the pro­posed Pe­nang Un­der­sea Tun­nel project with no out­come to date.”


CHANT ad­viser Yan Lee in front of the dou­ble-storey her­itage bun­ga­low, which a pri­vate hospi­tal has ap­plied to de­mol­ish for de­vel­op­ment pur­poses.

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