Saturday, 26 June 2010

Penang Botanic Garden arches will go!

Yes, I am glad that those concrete arches at the Penang Botanic Garden will be demolished. According to the Star Online this afternoon, the Ministry of Tourism announced that the tilting arch and its companion will both be demolished.

The two silly structures had cost RM150,000 of the taxpayers' money but in my opinion, they were totally incompatible with the environment. An environmental disaster. Nevertheless, the damage has already been done. The land outside the Garden's gate has already been flattened and I fear that it will never recover. At least, not till its original state.

However, in making this announcement today, I could still detect a tinge of sour grapes in the Minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, when she said: “The beautification project was meant for the people and if they are not happy, we should not force them to accept it.” It did not sound like a total recapitulation in good faith but one done grudgingly because the tilting arch had also become unstable.

But in the first place, she shouldn't have forced this project down the throats of the people, regardless of whether this was done in Penang or elsewhere. It's just not right. Does she mean that the Federal Government can do anything at its own whims and fancies without consulting the stakeholders who are the most affected by any project? Well, that's the impression that I still have, that the federal government can jolly well do that.

She is dead wrong. We are not mindless simpletons who are swayed by federal largesse. We can think for ourselves and criticise and object and oppose whoever we see having made mistakes. It's not about politics. It's about our unalienable place in society. We are here because we exist; we exist because we are here. That, the federal government has got to understand.

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