THE STAR 20 March - 1 May 1998

Save The Botanic Gardens campaign

Over 1,000 people signed a petition to oppose the laying of "ugly" interlocking tiles at the Penang Botanic Gardens. The petition was forwarded to Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on 21 March.

The paving of the tiles is part of the RM230,000.00 allocation by the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry to upgrade the pavements which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Spokesman Pamela Ong said the petition expressed regret to the announcement by Padang Kota assemblyman Teng Chang Yeow on March 8 that the repaving would continue despite public protests.

Ong adds: "We have urged the authorities to explain how such an important decision affecting a public place like the gardens was made in such a grossly insentive manner. The management committee has indicated that it intends to brush aside all protests without attempting to justify its desecration of a park which is not only the pride of Penang, but also a Malaysian heritage."

The management committee, when contacted, said the laying of interlocking tiles was necessary to replace the old tarred road bearing potholes.

The Friends of Penang Botanic Gardens expressed support for the Save The Botanic Gardens campaign against the laying of "ugly" interlocking tiles at the gardens.

The society's secretary Dr. Tan Liok Ee and treasurer Mariam Lim in a joint press statement said the tiles to replace the existing sidewalk were unnecessary and a waste of  public funds, since no vehicles were allowed in the gardens, the existing tarred road were good enough.

"All plans for improvement to the gardens must be consistent with the primary functions of the gardens.

The gardens' main objective as a repository and custodian of our natural botanic heritage in the Client's Charter should be given utmost importance," they said.

They called on the gardens management committee to immediately scrap plans on the paving of the walkways.

Penang tycoon's mansion listed as heritage

The mansion of the late tycoon Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah has been identified as a heritage building by the Municipal Council.

The building is one of 16 privately-owned buildings and public institutions along Millionaire's Row here which have been earmarked for conservation.

It is learnt that the buildings are among more than 150 buildings and monuments outside inner George Town listed as having heritage potential in the review of the Penang Island Structure Plan.

The Art Deco mansion, designed in the late 1950s by architect Chew Eng Eam, was described by Pulau Pinang magazine as the "finest example of the compact George Town garden house."

It was originally constructed as an annexe to the Donnybrook which has since been demolished. The building's ornate gates, lamp posts and cast-iron pavilion makes it stand out among other bigger mansions along the raod.

A few doors away from the mansion, another property of the Loh family - Soonstead, has also been proposed for conservation.

Other buildings in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah which have been listed include Istana Kedah, Homestead, Woodville, Leong Yin Kean Mansion, Maple Gold Centre, Shih Chung School, the National Registration Department, Wisma Persekutuan, the Anti-Corruption Agency building and Wellesley School.

In Jalan Macalister, 13 buildings have been identified, including the Penang Tai Chio School, Sri Inai Primary School and Miyabe restaurant.

The heritage list also includes Thye Pin Villa in Jalan Paya Terubong which houses the state's oldest private swimming pool, Rumah P. Ramlee in Jalan Rawang, St. Joseph's Training College in Gurney Drive and Tengku Kudin House in Coombe Hill, Glugor.

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