PENANG: Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has been urged to direct the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to issue a stop-work order on the controversial nine-storey columbarium project in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Tanjung MP Chow Kon Yeow said work at the project site at the former Shih Chung branch school should be halted pending a review of the project which had upset neighbouring landowners, occupants and the general public.
With nine storeys and 300,000 niches, it may become one of the biggest and tallest columbariums in the state and possibly the country.
It will affect the state's tourism packaging and image, or are we trying to sell Penang as the state with the tallest columbarium? he told a press conference outside the project site as workers and heavy vehicles moved in for preliminary work yesterday.
Several landowners and occupants around the area who were not consulted on the project have since made their objections known through the media and appealed to the authorities to reconsider the decision.
It was reported on June 6 that the MPPP had last month approved the building plan of project developer Stamford Raffles By The Sea Sdn Bhd.
Last year, the MPPP approved the layout plan for the project which involved the restoration of the existing five-storey school building and construction of a multi-storey Buddhist institution-cum-columbarium block and a car park.
MPPP president Mahadi Mohd Ibrahim was quoted in a June 15 report last year that they had sought the opinion of four neighbouring landowners in March and since no objection was received, planning approval was issued on May 24.
Chow, who is also state DAP chairman, urged Dr Koh to intervene and direct a review of the project.