Penang state again lost another heritage building???. It was reported to be the family residence of Khaw Sim Bee by the local press. According to the Sin Chew Daily and local press, the Mansion was demolished on 26-7-2010 afternoon. The mansion was located at Pykett Road. Today the history repeated 1993 Metropole Hotel(formerly Asdang House) incident?.....
It was filed in Bursa Malaysia on 2-12-2009, reported the announcement that the mansion and the land was sold on 2-12-2009 by Khaw Bian Cheng Sdn Bhd(formerly Bian Hum Sdn Bhd) to wholly owned subsidiary of Mah Sing Group Berhad, Klassik Tropika Development Sdn Bhd for the proposed acquisition of all that piece of prime freehold land in Pykett Avenue, Georgetown, Penang measuring in total approximately 13,694.94 square metres (147,416 square feet or 3.38 acres) held under GRN (First Grade) 33671, Lot No. 951, Seksyen 13, Bandar Georgetown, Daerah Timor Laut, Pulau Pinang bearing address No. 20, Pykett Avenue, 10400 Penang for a total cash consideration of MYR38,651,118 or approximately MYR262.19 per square foot.(source: Bursa Malaysia and Reuters, Wednesday, 2 Dec 2009). The purchase was completed on 20-7-2010 as reported in the Sin Chew Daily newspaper. From the internet, the property sector was fully aware of the acquisition. But the bungalow was described as "is a dilapidated unoccupied small bungalow on the site", no further description on the building and ownership, is the building a heritage building owned by a historical figure, related to Khaw Sim Bee?.
The following are extract from Bursar Malaysia website:
2.1 Information on Klassik Tropika
Klassik Tropika is a private limited company incorporated in Malaysia on 19 August 2009 under the Companies Act, 1965. The present authorised share capital of Klassik Tropika is RM100,000 comprising 100,000 ordinary shares of RM1.00 each, of which 2 ordinary shares of RM1.00 each have been issued and fully paid-up. Presently, Klassik Tropika is dormant.
2.3 Information on the Land and its proposed development
The Land is subject to two private caveats lodged by Gloria Bay Sdn Bhd and Khaw Cheng Bok (“Private Caveat”). Presently, there is a dilapidated unoccupied small bungalow erected on the Land.
The land is located along Pykett Avenue and Westland Road, and is close to Burma Road and Anson Road. The Land is proposed to be developed into a high end condominium. The location is well established and is considered a high end area in Penang island. The Land is in a matured area and is surrounded by residential dwellings and some low rise condominiums.
View Larger Map
If I have not mistaken, the house must be located at the corner of Westlands Road or Jalan Westlands and Pykett Road, just opposite the Sekolah Kebangsaan Pykett Methodist(Pykett Methodist Primary School). The mansion was reported had been abandoned for more than 20 years. Pykett Road was known as Pykett Avenue. The area around Westlands Road and Pykett Road I still remember in 1967, when I first walk the street, this mansion was still occupied, but the gate was always closed. The Mansion was different from the surrounding residential houses, as other houses are double storey houses, but this house is a bungalow, a mansion. That time houses at Lorong Pykett, TNB, KDU College was not built yet. The Bangunan Persekutuan located at the land in front of T junction of Westlands Road and Anson Road, was a bangalow mansion, with very big front field. Westland Primary and Secondary Schools are already there. The Redifussion( the only private radio broadcasting line by wire transmission) was there beside Westlands Secondary School. The building was still there in front of Penang Christian Centre.
Many had walk this road, many have looked at the Mansion. But as time pass by, the mansion was covered with trees, the mansion no longer attract the attention of the passes by. Nobody know this is Khaw Sim Bee's mansion, we all know the Jalan Khaw Sim Bee(Khaw Sim Bee Road) nearby. If the Penang people know this is Khaw Sim Bee's Mansion, someone will alert the authority, but nobody know, not even the residents nearby at Westlands Road.
The last resident of the Mansion was reported to be Khaw Kim Cheng(許綿清)family. From the information gathered the mansion is related to Khaw family, a historical family. This raised the concern by the heritage lovers and mass media. Is the building owned by Khaw Sim Bee, as it is located near Khaw Sim Bee Road?. That is the natural reaction of all natural lovers and citizens. Some said it was not the mansion of Khaw Sim Bee, and of no heritage value....moreover it is outside the heritage zone. The heritage value of the building is for authority and expert to determine.
Is the state's Heritage Monitoring system effective?
It was reported that the mansion was demolished without awareness by anybody, not even the authority. Ironically the MPPP had received the application to demolish the Mansion on 20th March 2010, but rightly they rejected the application. The Sale & Purchase Agreement was completed on 20-7-2010(source: Bursa Malaysia), 7th day after the completion of the purchase contract, the building was demolished. This is a sad story for MPPP, clearly they are aware of the intention of the party to demolish the mansion, yet there is no immediate monitoring system set up to monitor the situation. That is the weakness of our heritage management. We need a monitoring system, a form of heritage police in the statutory bodies, either state government or MPPP. But it seems we still cannot trust them to fully enforce the protection of heritage building. The site should have been placed with a warning sign notice to the public and disclosure that the site is a heritage building. MPPP need to do home work to confirm the historical value of the building first. They seems to be lack of "tooth", or may be political will...or ...tidak apa?.....the responsibility of the lost is on the MPPP, and the State need to provide the answer to Penang people if the building is a heritage building. The Penang people need to set up a voluntary alarming system to monitor the heritage still left in Penang. Otherwise we will lost all heritage....
Who is Khaw Sim Bee?
Khaw Sim Bee(许心美,b 1860 d 1913), the youngest son, Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi(พระยารัษฎานุประดิษฐ์มหิศรภักดี)became governor of Trang(董里府,舊稱什田府)from 1890-1900, and in 1900 commissioner of Monthon Phuket(มณฑลภูเก็ต, 東南六府). He was a bureaucratic tycoon and an appointed Thai Governor of Kraburi, Trang and later the Monthon of Phuket. In Penang, Sim Bee founded the Koe Guan Company Ltd, then one of the biggest shipping companies in British Malaya. He also pioneered the insurance business in Malaya with his Khean Guan Insurance Company. Sim Bee also had business interests in Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Co Ltd and Eastern Shipping Co Ltd. While he was so influential in south Thailand, he married a Chinese woman from Penang Lim Seng Kim as principal wife, with whom he had five sons. However, he was also polygamous and a notorious womanizer. This proved to be his undoing, as he was killed by a doctor in Trang whose wife he had his eyes on. The shooting took place on 25 February, 1913. Also wounded was his nephew,the Governor of Trang. Khaw Sim Bee and his nephew were rushed to the Penang hospital, but succumbed to their injuries on 10 April and 2 May respectively. New Strait Times on 6-6-1913, however reported that he was assassinated by a Siamese dresser, Ma Chan, in Trang on 25-3-1913. The accused was sentenced to death by judgment in Penang (source: NST dated 6-6-1913 Pg 8untitled, http://newspapers.nl.sg/Digitised/TOC.aspx?issueid=straitstimes19130606). Sim Bee's illustrious political and business career was cut short when he was assassinated in 1913. The incident was known as the Trang Outrage, the tragedy marked the slow decline of the Khaw business empire. His tomb was located at Ranong. Khaw Sim Bee's only son in Penang is Khaw Joo Chye(许如財), who was the one inherited Chakrabongse House.
However after Khaw Sim Bee's death in 1913, a commissioner from outside the area was appointed to stop the traditionally inherited administrative power of the family. The family essentially divided into the Malaysian and Thai portions of the family. In 1932 all Chinese immigrants and their descendants had to adopt a Thai name after the military coup. The family of Khaw Soo Cheang on the Thai side of the border had been given the name meaning "from Ranong" by the Thai King and became the Na Ranong family. In Malaysia and elsewhere they are still known as the Khaw family.
His contribution to Thailand was the introduction of rubber trees to Thailand, which at his time was only grown in Malaysia. He also initiated the connection of Trang with Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung by road as well as the railroad connection to Nakhon Si Thammarat, one of the first railroads of Thailand. A statue of him can be seen at Khao Rang hill in Phuket.
Jalan Khaw Sim Bee or Khaw Sim Bee Road, between Perak Road and Westlands Road was named after him.
(From my previous blog: Thursday, February 25, 2010; Thailand: Ranong( 拉儂)& Na Ranong Family ;Ranong Province; http://teochiewkia.blogspot.com/2010/02/thailand-ranong-na-ranong-family.html)
Time to disclose List of heritage buildings, especially outside UNESCO Heritage Zone
Chow Kon Yeow, MP for Tanjong, who is also a member of the Executive Council of the state of Penang as Chairman of the Local Government Committee, and represents the seat of Padang Kota in the Penang State Assembly, however did visit the site, immediately after received the news. But the visit was too late, it is merely a reactive action. The MPPP or the state should have been more proactive to have their man monitor the site, after their rejection of the property owner's intention to demolish the place for whatever reason. It is easy to escape the fine or responsibility, I just need to set up a RM2 company, transfer the land into the company, use the company to demolish the building, then I can even sold the building to a developer to start property development. The authority can only fine the RM2 company..... what is the matter, they can do it????. Moreover fine is too cheap for a property developer of prime land in Penang island!. Note: In Malaysia most developer company normally started with RM2 capital, and increased to RM250,000 when they need to apply for building license).
Why only take late action where heritage are concerned. The reason given by Chow was that the mansion is not located in UNESCO heritage area, and was not listed as heritage building. As MP for Tanjong, and since MPPP had awareness of the historical value and the site of the property, there is no reason to claim that the authority is not aware. The excuses that the building is not in heritage zone and not listed as heritage building are all lame excuses. If the building was confirmed by MPPP or state authority that it is a heritage building, then proper action and disclosure should be done. Otherwise incident of demolished heritage building will always happen in Penang. May be it is the time the state reveal the list of heritage buildings in the state, especially heritage buildings outside the UNESCO heritage zone, a disclosure of the list is crucial now, and let the Penang people be the eyes for their heritages.
If it is really Khaw's mansion, it is too late; may be Penang are worst than Ranong, Phuket, or even Trang to give honor to their historical personality.
One word....SAD....we cannot even protect our history in Penang....as Penang lang, we cannot trust our politician on our heritage...look what happen to Asdang House, another house related to Khaw family?..... sad....
...sincere reminder to all politician and enforcement agencies. Penang is Heritage City; Penang is Heritage, no compromise....
Otherwise, if we are not careful, may be one day, Sayonara, UNESCO Heritage City....
Meow, meow, meowwwwwwww......
1. My previous blog, dated Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Where is Metropole Hotel & Asdang House ?
2. Ranong Province, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranong_Province
3. MPPP pre-empted as building is demolished, http://anilnetto.com/accountability/mppp-thwarted-as-building-is-demolished/
4. http://www.southgate.com.my/icon-residence/penang/design.php(Developer's website)
5. Icon Residence, Penang, http://www.apartment-penang.com/2010/03/icon-residence-penang.html
6. Mah Sing plans Penang condo, NST Dec 3, 2009, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8016/is_20091203/ai_n42481792/
7. Mah Sing Group Berhad's Klassik Tropika Development Sdn Bhd Announces Acquisition Of Land, Reuters. Wednesday, 2 Dec 2009, http://in.reuters.com/finance/stocks/keyDevelopments?symbol=MAHS.KL&pn=3
8. Mah Sing plans Penang condo, http://www.malaysiapropertynews.com/2009/12/mah-sing-plans-penang-condo.html
11. 泰國橡膠之父家族前住區‧百年豪宅夷平地, http://mykampung.sinchew.com.my/node/107762?tid=4