Chong Eu’s Komtar & limp phallic symbols

Pix: Komtar– Photo credit,

Incidentally, Komtar — the building that Penangites dubbed ‘phallic symbol’, as it was erected when there were no other skyscrapers yet on the island — was designed by the architect Lim Chong Keat, younger brother to Chong Eu.

A poor track record of maintaining the building further compounds the problems, resulting in a run-down, smelly, garbage-strewn structure with many dark, deserted nooks. This makes the whole complex all the more unattractive to potential tenants. In a way, all the problems caused by and resulting from Komtar is a shameful reflection of the aimless way that Penang is being governed — indeed the state of Komtar can be compared to the general state of abandoned shophouses around George Town. — Travel Tips

The art of the obituary in our MSM is tempered by ‘Asian Values’; one does not speak ill of the dead, especially one recently died who held the exalted title of ‘Tun’.

Penang-based journo Anil Netto (who’s on our blogroll, see right sidebar) has balanced the tightrope in his write-up where other writers — being polite Malaysians — dither with gushy niceties and tributes.

Anil summed up the legacy of Lim Chong Eu who passed away last night with enough critical acumen and candour to justify why Hartal links his blog on our home page.

“So while Chong Eu could be credited with saving Penang from immediate economic doom and leaving his imprint on the state, the unsustainability of some of his administration’s policies means that his record in the long run will be viewed by some as chequered,” wrote Anil.

If a statesman is judged by what he leaves behind, as Lee Kuan Yew will be weighed on the scale of the Singapore story, what of Penang? The bullet points below and comments within quote marks are excerpted from Anil’s write-up ‘Chong Eu: A chequered legacy‘.

We’ve added links from other sources which elaborate on the points made by Anil. Click on publication name to read articles in full.

  • “the lack of an integrated public transport system”

Dodgy taxis backwards logic in Penang, MalaysiaLonely Planet

  • “huge income derived from the bridge tolls going to private firms”

Hoo-haa on the Penang second bridge Lucia Lai blog

  • “the overwhelming focus on industrialisation, combined with the lack of priority given to agriculture (including vegetable farming) and fisheries, contributed to higher prices of essential foodstuff.”

Cost of living in Georgetown is 35% more expensive than in KL Expat-istan

  • “the pollution of the seas and rivers, the loss of green spaces, and traffic congestion took a toll on tourism while the overall quality of life in Penang appeared to deteriorate”

Batu Ferringhi: Regulate the activities NST

Many visitors I spoke to said they loved the hotels and friendly staff but would not return because of the shambles on the beach. — Peter Kelly, English tourist

  • “many of Penang’s top schools declined and Penangites migrated elsewhere in search of better opportunities”

The best schools in Malaysia? The Star

Of 20 schools accorded the status of high performance schools (SBTs), only one Penang school featured on the list, St George’s Girls School. Even a formerly premier institution like Penang Free School did not make the cut.

  • “Komtar later grew run-down and eventually many saw it as a sore thumb sticking out of of George Town’s unique built heritage”

Many of the above problems persist. Hartal commented in August on how “Komtar is a dark, dingy mall that Penangites shun. DAP Komtar state assemblyman Ng Wei Aik should think about refurbishing what was once in the 1980s a thriving shopping complex and give a boost to its current businesses as well as assist its traders”.

5 Responses to “Chong Eu’s Komtar & limp phallic symbols”
  1. What came to be was also mainly contributed by the former CM’s poor leadership. Penang slept over the last 20 years- especially the town council. Not only Komtar- the whole island was littered and smelly. The beaches are terrible.

  2. vasantha says:

    My condolences to the deceased. I think some one should seriously advise Koh Tsu Khoon to go get a life! There is a limit to how far you can go to making an utter idiot of yourself. A funeral is not an occasion for politicking! Koh Tsu Khoon, you really suck! Lim Guan Eng is a gentleman who would not sink to your level! Just say your condolences and disappear.

  3. tony says:

    A great man who lost his visions along the way. Gerakan was founded on the principle of being an alternative to the Alliance and based on multi racial concepts. The first batch of elected MPs and Aduans was a true mixture of the races but most of the non Chinese served ony one term because of Gerakan getting into racist politics of Barisan Nasional. The most unfotunate part is that they snf MCA was fighting to be more Chinese with one another and in the process got thousands of ex MCA members led by Lim Keng Yaik into the party to boost up their memberships. Gerakan was slowly and surely turning into a Chinese base party with some state meetings being conducted in Mandarin instead of English. The only venue for English was only in the CC meetings. Discontents from other races crept in and Chong Eu was finally voted out because the majority Indians Muslim in his consituency voted against him. The shock defeat cause a major crisis and eventually even his son and some of his old friends left Gerakan and join MCA. Thr rot slowly surface until the 08 elections.

  4. Owner of the blog Hartal MSM, you guys reading, some of you are professionals/lawyers/politicians/dato’s/no-spring-chicken and also wealthy as well. It cannot fall upon ‘nobodies’ to carry out the below and I ask that each of you who fit the above criteria step forward as independent candidates in your own constituency in GE13 if not under a Green Part umbrella :

    Are you a Malaysian eligible to run for candidacy? If so please note the below :

    Third Force (Malaysian Green Party)

    1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
    2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
    3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

    We as citizens can’t trust any political parties (even NGOs) and have to run as independents if needed. Until they prove to be trojans though, I consider Zaid’s 3rd Force the last viable coalition foil and platform for neutrals to hide behind till Zaid fouls up big if ever . . . The real 3rd Force is always the NEUTRAL citizen, no one else with any agenda whatsoever. Who knows they might grant everything suggested !

    Apart from the above 3 items we neutral citizens need to :

    Disallow ANY Oligarchy/Nepotism
    End/Buy-Up Toll Concessions
    End Forced Military Conscriptions
    End Vehicular-APs
    Block VAT / Block GST
    Lower Election Deposits from 15,000 to 15.00 (so everyone can join and not be prevented by this plutocratic deterrence the poorest man has a right to join and 15,000 is prohibitive, must be lowered to allow the poorest)
    TAXES – 2000 and below earners – totally tax free, 2000-4000 earners – 50% tax rebates, 4000-6000 earners – 25% tax rebatesThen study the below as well for good measure :


    USA, UK and Malaysia, are representative democracies (2nd class version) and thus not truly open systems being limited to the whims and fancies of parliamentarians alone.

    *Participatory Democracy* (1st class version) is a process emphasizing the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems not in isolation of populist political groups but inclusive of academic and bureaucratic groups.

    *Participatory Democracy* avoids the concept of the people having a single view with the inevitable limitations that come from trying to agree what that view is.

    Government is heavily decentralized into smaller independent groups to allow personalized preferences within groups to be expressed in a functional manner PREFERRED by each particular group.

    The system seeks to avoid problems with centralized and electoral governance, while still providing a stable democratic system and ensuring all forms of human expression especially those diametrically opposed to be allowed expression. For example theocrat moralists / and sin industries (adult or gambling) can all be represented and functional even while proponents within each group do not use or believe in the other.

    All expressions of humanity thus will have their own place, albeit in a highly separated manner. Try the below related links for articles/discussions on Participative Democracy :

    Shadow cabinet Thursday, October 14, 2010 (Ktemoc) Authoritarianism vs. Seperation of Powers and Complacency of Citizens

    Unsuitable to Vote : Individuals Causing Notable Conflict of Interest in Local Council Elections – Original Article 6th

    The column that wasn’t – Marina Mahathir – 3rd March 2010

    Also these charts to prevent conflict of interest / vested interest :


    All the above should be 3rd Force Agenda. Any further thoughts and ideas? Remember that we are all leaders, that all citizens are equal in a modern democracy.

    The 3rd Force method will be to present a governance paradigm so transparent and attractive and protective of the Rakyat that everyone would vote for 3rd Force.

    Every official 3rd Force faction (except for Zaid’s still not formed) looked like they turn trojan on us, then we NEUTRAL 3rd Forcers must be very prepared to run on our own with whatever little resources or knowledge compounded by sheer lack of ethos (or lack of reputation/infamy) we have.

    Finally this, where DAP looks like it’s standards are slipping :

    DAP’s democracy in Penang (Tuesday, November 16, 2010) (read commentaries and be aware that Aliran fettes DAP rather than be neutral)

    Compensation for Rep’s Kin – by Sunday Star – 18th APR 2010

    The Gambier Threat – Mid 2010

    Invasive By-Laws Against Sovereignty of Title/Land Owners

    Be prepared readers, supposedly ECOSOC UN status Aliran failed to highlight or even suggest a re-election in Penang’s 300 out of 1.5 million EXCO Elections, so joining Pakatan Rayat to cure it or setting up an Independent’s 3rd Force group (outside of RPK/Haris’ which includes Marina ‘Evil’ Mahathir) could be the other option if nothing materialises but then again, true colours would be revealed by GE13 . . .

    3 ACID TESTs for MPs

    1) MPs can show love for the Rakyat by lowering the Election Deposit from 15,000 to 15.00.

    2) MPs can also show love for the Rakyat by donating their entire salaries if they have assets worth 5 million or more. First of course the MPs must be able to DECLARE ASSETS to Rakyat *NOT* the PM or in Penang’s case the CM.

    3) MPs can opt to redistribute ‘funeral funds’ to all civil servants. 750K for a CM or 120K for an assemblyman is FAR TOO MUCH. Everyone dies the same way, so there should be no difference in quantum. See which CMs/MPs opt for an ‘equal quantum’ of funeral compensation for all civil servants and you will see which CMs/MPs care for the Rakyat again.

    See which MPs rubberstamp the above 3 suggestions into reality instead of ru(o)bberstamping Vehicular-APs and Toll Concessions and Forced Military Conscriptions and you will find out which MPs care for the Rakyat. See which MPs reverse Vehicular-APs, remove Toll Concessions and ‘voluntarise’ Forced Military Conscriptions as well.

    3 Items in addition to 3+13

    Your concerned citizen,

    (Malaysian Green Party)
    Unmoderated Malaysian Comments and 13 Point Assimilation Plan

    WARNING to Voters :

    People who are too powerful or wealthy or too well networked will cause conflict of interest and control YOU the VOTER, not you control them to ensure more liberal laws or lower taxes or TRANSPARENCY. So NEVER vote the rich, powerful or well networked (even those controlling 2 billion dollar political party treasuries), or those intent on reserving seats for relatives or claiming seats for themselves knowing full well that is conflict of interest being perpetrated.

    They will destroy YOU the ORDINARY Voter because, Reserved seat Nepotism leads to Oligarchy, Oligarchy leads to Dictatorship, Dictatorship leads to End of Free Elections (222 reserved seats) . . . vote wisely.

    Malaysians can easily find someone independent within their communities who fits into none of the above descriptions. Any person with common sense would prefer an independent ORDINARY PERSON ruling over Malaysia and stepping down after 2 terms for another such person.

    ZERO votes for the pro-apartheid and pro-nepotists and 100% votes for the ORDINARY NEUTRAL CITIZENS, vote people who can’t or don’t know how to screw you but will just administer.

  5. hoi, they run our state from komtar.. you can make fun of anything else but not komtar..
    we penangite love komtar hahaha

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