Old Penang

One of several old reservoirs on Pulau Jerejak that supplied water to the thousands of inhabitants that once lived on the island.

The ruins of dormitories and leper homes, old reservoirs and undergound chambers, places of worship, jail cells, even a courtroom add an eerie touch to the island’s natural greenery that should be preserved as a state treasure for Penang.

I am appalled and still cannot fathom how, between a federal agency (Uda) and a state agency (PDC), 80 acres (a huge chunk of the flat land) of this national/state treasure could land up with a private developer, Ideal Property (which paid just RM160m for a 49 per cent stake that was previously held by PDC). 

Was there any public participation in this decision? Who were involved in the negotiations with Ideal at all stages? Was this matter tabled at the Penang State Assembly for debate?

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Something is afoot at Pulau Jerejak. The local government must explain what is going on. Has any development plan been approved? If not, who has built this contraption next to the old resort jetty and for what purpose? Is this part of the work to build a new jetty for handling building materials? It looks as if they are surveying the soil on the sea bed to assess its conditions?

Update: Now, there is talk that there is a plan for a much smaller station at Sia Boey. This could be located at the car park so the archaeological findings and the canal are not disturbed. But then this would make it difficult for the planned monorail from Tanjung Bungah (under Phase 2 of the SRS proposal) to come by.  So, who knows, that monorail line could be scrapped. All the same, the people of Penang are being sold the idea that a ‘Big Bang’ approach that requires massive land reclamation is needed – which is not the only option available to us. We shall see how things pan out. 

Three months after the responsibility for Sia Boey was transferred from the Penang Development Corporation to George Town World Heritage Inc, this is the derelict state of the site.

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