Concerns for heritage conservation

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 20 May 2017

GEORGE TOWN: A non-governmental organisation fears for Penang’s heritage conservation after the state leased prime land along Peel Avenue to a private medical company.

Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser Yan Lee said the project on 3ha of land would affect heritage buildings in the surrounding area.

“According to the local councils’ One Stop Centre (OSC) portal, Island Hospital Sdn Bhd filed a planning permission to demolish a double-storey bungalow in March.

“Before approving it, the council should conduct a heritage impact assessment on the heritage value of this building, and also other buildings affected by the project,” he said in a press conference in Peel Avenue yesterday.

Lee said public consultation should also be carried out to let the public know more about the project.

“Other than the hospital complex and a hotel, we don’t know anything else about the project.

Lost splendour: One of the old buildings on the Peel Avenue land slated for the RM2bil medical tourism hub.
Lost splendour: One of the old buildings on the Peel Avenue land slated for the RM2bil medical tourism hub.

“Let’s have a public consultation and share with the people if you have nothing to hide,” he said, pointing out that a public consultation was held for the reclamation pro-ject on Penang island’s southern coast.

Lee also asked what would happen to the project if the investors could not obtain a hospital licence.

It was reported that the land, measuring about the size of four football fields, would be developed by Island Hospital whose present facility is just across the road.

The project site is near the affluent Pulau Tikus suburb labelled as Penang’s medical tourism hub in recent years with numerous other private hospitals located there.

Island Hospital director Benny Lim had said that the Island Medical City project would be the first medical tourism centre of its kind in Malaysia.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was earlier reported as saying that the deal was kept under wraps until this week because the state government was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.