GEORGE TOWN: THE Penang government was yesterday told to conduct heritage and social impact assessment studies at a prime piece of state land at Peel Avenue here which has been alienated to a private hospital.
The land was sold to Island Hospital for RM156 million on a 99-year-lease without going through open tender.
Citizens Awareness Chant Group (CHANT) said the heritage impact assessment study was necessary to determine the heritage value of the old bungalows currently sitting on the land, more so with George Town being an Unesco World Heritage site.
CHANT adviser Yan Lee said this following revelations that Island Hospital Sdn Bhd had applied to demolish a double-storey heritage bungalow on two lots of its land, located at the corner of Peel Avenue and Pierce Road, adjacent to the state land.
The application, submitted on March 14, is still pending approval.
“We are against the demolition of the double-storey heritage bungalow or other old bungalows sitting on state land for development purposes.
“Since George Town is a Unesco World Heritage site, we feel that all these structures should be protected and preserved.
“As such, we call on the state authorities to conduct a heritage impact assessment study at the site before it is too late,” he said.
Lee said there was nothing the state government could do now since it had “sold its soul” by selling the land.
Checks by the New Straits Times showed the structure was rundown, with trees growing inside it.
Lee said a social impact assessment study was equally important as the proposed project to develop a RM2 billion Island Medical City was bound to impact its surroundings.
Meanwhile, Lee also demanded the state government to come clean on what would happen to the sale transaction if Island Hospital failed to get the necessary hospital licence.
“We have seen before how state land was given to developers for the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel project with no outcome to date.”