GEORGE TOWN: Work has begun to get the official residence of the chief minister, Seri Teratai, ready for Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to move in.
Chow had said he would move into Seri Teratai once it was in a “liveable condition”.
He said using the official residence would save him at least 90 minutes travelling time from George Town to his private residence in Balik Pulau, which is at the western end of Penang Island.
Seri Teratai was occupied in 2002 when the Penang governor stayed there for three years. This was during the time Seri Mutiara, the governor’s official residence, was being renovated.
Penang state secretary Farizan Darus said after the governor returned to Seri Mutiara, Seri Teratai was turned into a “Rumah Tetamu” for government guests during the chief ministership of Koh Tsu Koon.
Koh had only stayed at the official residence for a brief spell before he moved to another house, citing discomfort at Seri Teratai.
Since then, the house has remained vacant.
Farizan said the building was now being assessed by the Public Works Department to get it ready for Chow to move in.
The assessment is to ascertain the repairs and renovations needed and the cost involved.
“I will ask the PWD to expedite the assessment, but we will not compromise on the work done,” Farizan said, adding that any renovation would take up to three to five years.
Farizan visited the residence today. Present were PWD director Shahabuddin Mohd Muhayidin and other department staff.
“We’ve been carrying out maintenance work on the house. There is no extensive damage to the structure.
“According to my records, the state secretary’s office spent RM89,000 between 2008 and 2009. The PWD spent RM56,000 during the same period, making it a total of RM145,000.”
Farizan said the budget to repair and renovate the house was provided in the state budget.
Items like the curtains and air-conditioning system, which are already outdated, will be replaced. Some electrical appliances also need to be replaced.
The electrical wiring, which is over 20 years old, will need to be changed too.