Malaysia’s oldest turf club up for sale: ‘Hefty’ windfall awaits 600-odd Penang Turf Club members

AS Penangites bemoan the eventual loss of an iconic and truly heritage 160-year-old site, the plan to sell Penang Turf Club’s (PTC) land proceeded smoothly with 146 ordinary members giving the nod during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) yesterday (June 10).

Only three votes went against the motion to dissolve PTC with not a single spoilt vote cast, reported The Star.

If PTC can find the right buyer for the land, it is believed that each shareholder could be pocketing as much as RM1 mil.

With the present market value of commercial land in George Town hovering at around RM700 per sq ft, The Star said the site is expected to fetch around RM6 bil upon conversion to commercial status.

A property surveyor has previously estimated that any conversion of the land from its present recreational status to mixed-development will come with a hefty land conversion premium, possibly to the tune of RM1 bil, according to the mainstream newspaper.

CA Lim Property Surveyors Sdn Bhd principal Datuk Lim Chien Aun had reportedly said the successful bidder would need to submit their master plan for the re-development of the land owned by the iconic 160-year-old club.

For the record, PTC which was founded in 1864 is the oldest of the three horse-racing clubs in Malaysia with a membership of around 600. The other two turf clubs still operating horse races are the Selangor Turf Club and the Perak Turf Club.

Penang Turf Club (Image credit: Malayan Racing Association)

Aborted previous development

Recall that PTC was previously earmarked as part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) development initiative whereby the gargantuan Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project was proposed to be located at PTC.

The project which never took off beyond its conceptualisation stage had envisaged to transform the PTC site in Bukit Gantung to be a modern city centre tailored for the MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions).

Besides an international exhibition and conference centre, the PGCC project which boasted an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM25 bil would also have shopping complexes, two five-star hotels, commercial and residential properties, a state-of-the-art cultural centre and a 10.5 ha park.

The iconic 160-year-old Penang Turf Club (Image credit: aunchuan/PenangToday Community Facebook)

Insert Penang Turf Club (aunchuan/Facebook)

Slated to occupy a 104-hectare site where the PTC currently stands, the project was supposedly to be developed by Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd, an associate company of Equine Capital Bhd (now Global Oriental Bhd) and would require 15 years to complete.

However, following the 13th General Election (GE13) in March 2008, the new Pakatan Rakyat-led state government announced in September that year that the proposed PGCC project has been rejected by the Penang Municipal Council due to failure of the developer to submit the layout plans on time and in complying with the council’s requirements.

In a statement released after yesterday’s (June 10) EGM, PTC general manager Leow Khin Ming has nevertheless said a second special general meeting to confirm the resolutions to dissolve PTC will be held on a later date.

As the dissolution process is expected to take at least one to two years to complete, it will be business as usual for PTC, including holding horse racing activities. – June 11, 2024

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