Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Penang's Unspent Budget

I remember reading a few weeks ago in the media about Penang's CM Datuk Koh Tsu Koon lamenting about Penang's unspent 2006 budget allocation. Can anyone refresh me on which paper it was reported on and the date? I can't seem to find the on-line version anywhere...

The sorry "state" of Penang

LITTERED with cigarette butts and plastic bags and vandalised – that is the dismal state of the cenotaph in the Espla-nade which is dedicated to the fallen heroes of World War I (1914-1918).

A bronze sword sticks out from the face of the memorial but minus the hilt. The bronze and copper plaques bearing the names of those who died in World War I have also been stolen.

What’s left is a bare stone structure, surrounded by broken stones and withering plants.

Penang Veterans Association (PVA) president Harold V. Spelde-winde, 82, said the association has been urging the state to restore the cenotaph since 2005.

“We have engaged the services of architect Lawrence Loh who restored Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion to draw up restoration plans for the cenotaph. The plans have been submitted to the state.

VANDALISED:Withering palms surrounding the cenotaph and the plaques have been stolen.
“The cenotaph will celebrate its 85th anniversary on March 31. We plan to have a grand parade complete with bagpipe players and the armed forces, navy and high commissioners in attendance.

“If we are unable to get it restored in time, we will have the grand celebration on Aug 15 – the day the Imperial Army of Japan surrendered, ending nearly four years of Japanese Occupation in the state,” he said.

He said they planned to erect a gold and black plaque to remember those who perished during World War II (1939 – 1945), Siam and the Burma Death Railway (1942 – 1945), the Malaya Emergency (1948 – 1960), the Indonesia Confronta- tion (1963 – 1966) and the Communist Re-insurgence Period (1968 – 1990).

“We recently received word that the state Tourism Action Council is waiting for the budget to be approved to restore the cenotaph to its former glory.

“I am very excited. The cenotaph has been left at the mercy of vandals for at least 20 years,” Speldewinde said.

State Tourism Action Council chairman Teng Chang Yeow said the cenotaph must be preserved because it is a significant monument that marks an important event.

Teng, who is also the State Tourism Development and Environ-ment Committee chairman, said it would cost about RM150,000 to carry out repairs and fence up the area.

“After repairing the cenotaph, we hope to deter vandals by putting up fencing.”

To commemorate the surrender of the Imperial Army of Japan 62 years ago, PVA members and war veterans gather at the cenotaph yearly to pay homage to the fallen heroes of World War I.

The cenotaph was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on March 31, 1922, at the Esplanade seafront where some World War I battles were fought and where many sailors lost their lives.

Still wondering why Penang is NOT in the World Heritage list??

Trees in Penang are slowly dying

Trees in Penang are slowly dying - The Star 8 Jan 2007:
"Lack of proper maintenance for trees, especially heritage trees in George Town, resulted in the gradual decay of some of Penang’s magnificent trees.

Certified arborist Ridzuan Yahaya said ignorance on the part of local authorities to implement proper maintenance and treatment programmes had caused harm.

‘Tree doctors’ at work: (From left) Mohd Zailani, Ridzuan and Hasim checking a heritage tree along York Road on Saturday.
He said a majority of the heritage trees here were found in densely populated areas, next to roads with high traffic volume.

“Problems such as unsuitable soil, lack of earth space, trunk base covered in tar, absence of treatment, wrong pruning methods, pollution and lack of nutrients are some of the main concerns affecting these trees,” Ridzuan said.

Regarded as a “tree doctor,” Ridzuan and fellow “doctors” Hasim Ismail and Mohd Zailani Jamil, also certified arborists, were in town under a pilot programme introduced by the Penang Municipal Council to assess the condition of the trees and make recommendations.

The “tree doctors” were seen checking over 200 trees on Saturday in York Road, Macalister Road and Residensi Road where the majority of the heritage trees were found.

Mohd Zailani said trees could not talk to them and their job was to find out what they need to remain healthy.

Hasim explained that two reasons which caused the gradual deterioration of a tree were the way a tree was topped and pruned.

“Topping of a tree is usually done to reduce the weight of the crown area but when it’s done excessively, it destroys the natural architecture of a tree.

“Pruning, if done in the right way, is the best thing for a tree but it can be the worst thing if done wrongly,” he said.

Hasim said some of the trees he had checked here revealed that the flush cut method was used in pruning the trees, where a tree branch is cut too close to the trunk.

He said this causes the tree to gradually become rotten due to cavity and subsequently collapse. "

So much for trying to make it into the UNESCO Heritage list.

Penang losing its shine to Xiamen

Penang a ‘poor’ relative of Xiamen - The Star 27 Nov 2006:
"IT is a general consensus that Xiamen’s development is much faster than its twin city, Penang.

This was how people perceived Penang in the past few years, said Penang Xiamen Friendship Association president Datuk Dr Kang Chin Seng.

He said Penang was lagging in many ways.

“When we visit Xiamen, we feel like a poor relative visiting the home of a richer relative.

“We freely admit that Xiamen is doing better. And that includes the view of our Chief Minister (Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon) and his exco members.

“But things may be starting to change from now on with the groundbreaking of the second Penang Bridge recently,” he said at the association’s fourth anniversary dinner in Traders Hotel recently.

He said the launching of the RM3bil project showed that the state and Federal governments had finally put their act together to bring back some shine to Penang.

He also said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the Government had committed two more infrastructure projects for Penang – the Monorail and Penang Outer Ring Road.

Dr Kang said if all three projects were to take off in the next year or so, this would give a fresh and positive boost to Penang."

So whose fault is it that Penang is in such a dour state?

Bloggers must be responsible? What about the Govt?

Bloggers must be responsible - The Star, 24th Jan:
"Bloggers must be responsible for what they write on the Internet as there are laws on defamation and sedition, Malaysian PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

The Prime Minister said these laws were enforceable and bloggers must bear in mind that they could not hide or take advantage of the Internet to do something that was against the law.

They cannot hope to cover themselves or hide from the laws,” he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his three-day working visit here yesterday.

He said bloggers, just like newspaper journalists, must be responsible for what they wrote or risk facing legal action from others.

Abdullah was commenting on the legal action against bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan by the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP), its deputy chairman Datuk Kali-mullah Masheerul Hassan, Group Editor in Chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun and former Group Editor Brenden John Pereira. "

If only the same rules applies to him and his officials...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Malaysian Bloggers Sued In Court

Malaysian bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahiruddin Atan are being sued by govt controlled media New Straits Times.

The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad,
Kalimullah bin Masheerul Hassan, Hishamuddin
bin Aun and Brenden John a/l John Pereira have
jointly taken an order, via an ex-parte injunction
obtained in the High Court of Malaya Kuala
Lumpur (Civil Suit No. S6-23-3-2007) on January
11, 2007.

The plaintiffs have cited 48 postings (under Schedule 1, the List of Defamatory Articles complained of in the Statement of Claims filed in this action).

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