MELAKA: The state government has plans to upgrade the Melaka Planetarium Adventure Science Centre (Melaka Planetarium) in Ayer Keroh here where part of its wall had collapsed.
State Tourism, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis said the incident on Nov 20 occurred before the state government had the opportunity to announce its plans.
He said the education-based tourism centre was closed immediately after the incident as a precautionary measure as well as to facilitate investigations by the authorities.
“I am thankful no one was present at the location when the wall collapsed,” he said at his office in Seri Negeri Complex, Ayer Keroh.
Also present was Melaka Planetarium Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Ariff Shah Abdullah Sani.
The Melaka planetarium
Muhammad Jailani said Melaka Planetarium is one of the white elephant projects implemented by the previous state government and the planetarium has been suffering losses since it was opened to the public in 2009.
“We decided a few months ago that the current building is not safe.
“Under the proposed plan, the building will be demolished to make way for a new one,” he said, adding that the incident (collapsed wall) occurred while the planetarium was preparing to close its operation.
Muhammad Jailani said Melaka Planetarium will also be given a new identity, and that some proposals included names as Galaxy Planet Melaka, Stargate Melaka, 2062 Melaka and Melaka Planet.
He said the new centre will be a one-stop centre for tourist information and that Snow World Theme Park Sdn Bhd will be its main tenant.
Meanwhile, state Transport, Works and Public Amenities Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sofi Abdul Wahab said the brick panel collapsed at about 1.30pm on Nov 20.
He said the panel, which is one of the four wall panels constructed at the planetarium, then fell on the plaster ceiling, causing a portion of the ceiling at the foyer to collapse.
“Currently the Public Works Department (JKR) forensic team is conducting investigations at the scene and we expect the report to be ready soon,” he said after visiting the planetarium.
The Auditor-General’s 2012 report has highlighted several issues concerning the planetarium.
The report pointed out that the planetarium failed to achieve its objective of being a prestigious space science learning hub in South-East Asia since its inception in 2009 and registered an income loss of RM674,368 in 2009, RM655,557 in 2010 and RM369,493 in 2011.
The report also stated that the planetarium’s management had not adhered to the standard operating procedure to achieve the targeted visitors and that the ticket collection target of RM5,000 per day was not achieved.
On another matter, the A-G’s report said a police report was not lodged when a telescope worth RM1,400 went missing from the planetarium in 2010.
It also outlined that two of the 10 CCTVs malfunctioned since May 2012, while five exhibits have not been listed as part of the planetarium’s assets.
The management also failed to table a budget for maintenance purpose between 2009 and 2011 to the board of directors.