REPLY TO NEWSPAPER REPORT "ARCH TILT GETTING WORSE"

18 June 2010

The Editor
Menara Star
15 Jalan 16/11, Section 16
46350 Petaling Jaya

Dear Editor,

REPLY TO NEWSPAPER REPORT "ARCH TILT GETTING WORSE"

First of all, the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia appreciates the views stated in your esteemed publication on 17 June 2010.

In this regard, we share the concerns of the NGOs and have taken the initiative to expeditiously conduct a series of meetings to address the issues regarding the Botanic Gardens including the two arches. This culminated in a meeting chaired by the Honourable Minister of Tourism with the NGOs in Penang on 17 May 2010. We are now in the midst of taking the follow up actions agreed to by all parties at the meeting.

The initial DID technical report confirmed that one of the arches was tilting. However, the JKR Probe Test found the structure to be safe and stable. In view of latest concern raised by the NGOs that one of the arches has further tilted by 25cm, the Ministry of Tourism has directed the DID Penang to conduct another study to verify the actual condition of the arches.

Besides the consideration of the safety of the arches, public opinion on whether to retain or demolish the arches is also a key factor to guide decision making. Towards this end, the Ministry of Tourism has commissioned Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to conduct an objective and comprehensive study to obtain public opinion about the arches. The study is expected to be concluded by 25 June 2010.

We record our appreciation to the NGOs for submitting a proposal towards enhancing the fade of the Botanic Gardens. In this matter, we will work closely with the NGOs so that the fade blends with the overall concept of the Gardens.


DATO' DR ONG HONG PENG
Secretary General
Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia

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