Gurney Plaza: Construction to stop work after 6pm

Construction work on the Gurney Plaza shopping mall’s RM70mil extension project in Penang can no longer be carried out after 6pm and on Sundays and public holidays, ruled a High Court.

Justice Ghazali Cha, in chambers yesterday, allowed an inter-partes application by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) for an injunction to stop the project’s landowner, developer, architect and contractor from carrying out construction work beyond its permitted hours, pending the trial proper.

In allowing the application against defendants Gurney Plaza Sdn Bhd, Etika Cekap Sdn Bhd, BEP Arkitek Sdn Bhd and RB Contracts Sdn Bhd, Justice Ghazali said he was satisfied that there were serious issues to be tried. The judge said it was clear from the affidavit evidence that the council had given notices and warnings to the defendants to stop work beyond the permitted hours but they continued to breach the working hours.

He also said the issue was of public interest, attracting the attention of not only the public but also the government, including Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the defendants placed their economic interest over public interest, and that their reasons for the breaches were trivial and their problems could be overcome through proper planning.

He made the ruling in the presence of the council’s lawyers Karin Lim, Dominic Pillai, William Lim and the council’s building director Patahiyah Ismail, Gurney Plaza and Etika Cekap’s counsel B. Jeyasingam, BEP Arkitek’s counsel K. Kiru-bakaran, and RB Contract’s counsel Cheah Wei Ling.

The defendants’ counsel applied orally for a stay of execution pending filing an appeal at the Court of Appeal, but the judge told them to make a formal application.

The same court had on May 21 granted the council an ex-parte injunction, and ordered the defendants to refrain from carrying out, causing to carry out or permitting construction work related to the mall’s extension after 6pm from Monday to Saturday and to stop work on Sunday and public holidays.

The expansion, which involves a nine-storey commercial complex and scheduled for completion by August, is now 70% complete.

The property is managed by Singapore-based CapitaLand Limited, which acquired the 700,000 sq ft shopping mall with more than 300 speciality shops.

The project will increase the floor space of the complex by 150,000 sq ft of retail space with a new departmental store to be managed by an anchor tenant and 83 shoplots.

Guan Eng, during a visit to the project site on May 14, said Gurney Plaza should not have carried out work on its extension to the shopping mall into the wee hours of the morning despite being told not to do so. - By The Star

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