Seri Tanjung Pinang 2: Gurney Drive won’t be the same again


Gurney Drive, a major landmark in Penang, will be significantly changed with the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 project undertaken by E & O.

This morning I attended the public consultation attended by a few hundred people at the Straits Quay Convention Centre. On the stage, E&O MD Terry Tham was flanked by a battery of more than a dozen environmental, masterplan peer review and traffic consultants.

Phase 2 (760 acres) will see a large artificial island (divided into two by a canal) off the coast of Tanjung Tokong. The two sides of the canal will be built separately, the part closer to the shore (250 acres) first.

Among the major issues that emerged:
The Tanjung Tokong fisher folks are worried about the loss of livelihood. They are calling for balanced development. They want E&O to take mitigation measures such as a longer breakwater and to allocate space for their work in the plans. About half a dozen fisherfolk spoke from the floor. (As a thought, if their catch is affected, will fish prices rise even more? The loss of these fishing grounds will affect food security in Penang.)

Terry said his heart was with the fisherfolk but he couldn’t make any commitment at this point without consulting the E&O shareholders, but he assured them he would convey their concerns and requests to the shareholders.

A key issue is the resulting siltation and sedimentation from the reclamation. The consultants insist the impact will be localised around the artificial island as that is what their computer simulation and modelling shows.

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But environmentalist and activist Dr Leong Yueh Kwong, speaking from the floor, asked, “What if your projections turn out to be wrong?”

Another member of the public Tajol asked, “Who will pay for dredging at the port and elsewhere if the siltation and sedimentation reaches further than anticipated after the project is completed? I, as a ratepayer, will not be happy (if public funds are used for the dredging and other mitigation).”

As for the reclamation work itself, the sand will be obtained off the coast of Lumut and the disposal of the dredged material from the flushing canal in STP Phase 2 will be dumped 40km away off the coast of Muka Head. And so the question arises, will this process be closely monitored by the DOE?

Some 12000 houses will be built under Phase 2. The developer claims the project will be socially inclusive and will contain 30 per cent “affordable housing”. When asked what is “affordable”, Terry replied that it would range from RM42,000 to RM400,000. He said this was in response to people who may not necessarily want low-cost housing but something a little better.

My own feeling is that the top end of this “affordable” range is higher than what many can afford and it should not be part of the 30 per cent, if the project is to be even superficially socially inclusive. Otherwise STP2 would end up as another large enclave for the wealthy, under layers of security. Will the entire seafront be fully accessible to the public in any meaningful way?

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It is not entirely clear which sections of the project will be offered (via the state government) as compensation to the cross-channel tunnel contractor. (The tunnel project seems to have gone a little quiet.) E & O is allocating 60 acres under the second part of Phase 2 and another 50 acres for a linear park (along Gurney Drive next to the new Gurney Drive expressway) out of reclaimed land to the state government. (All in, 130 acres along Gurney Drive is being allocated for the expressway, promenade and linear park. See the slideshow above.)

As for the traffic dispersal, one end of Gurney Drive will be connected by a bridge to the new island while the other end will see the creation of a tunnel going under Pangkor Road, close to where the state government wants the cross-channel tunnel.

How the traffic plans will fit into the Penang Transport Masterplan remains to be seen, but I anticipate a lot more traffic passing along Gurney Drive (the new Gurney Expressway) and flowing (via the Pangkor Road underpass) into the Jelutong Expressway, which is going to end up chock-a-block, especially with the second Penang bridge being completed before long.

But knowing how these things work, I believe it is a foregone conclusion that the DEIA will be approved by the DOE (with little further input from the public?) and the face of Gurney Drive and surrounding areas will be forever changed.

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  1. Soon the state government/MPPP will erect a counter on every beach/seaside to collect tickets/tokens for Penangites to enjoy the view of our not so blue sea but still, it is God’s gift to us all.Penangites are deprived of this with the so called development going on barricading our public beach(Beach Hotels, E & O, The Light and other coastal development coming up soon).

    I’m not against development but I believe all reclaimation developments will cause more harm than good in the long run.We mustn’t be selfish,please think of our children and the generations to come.Sustainable development should strike a balance between economic and social development on one side, and the environment on the other.It seeks for us to use resources in the best possible way,accounting for the environment upon which those resources rely.So my fellow brothers and sisters,I conclude this is a one way ticket ride for the developer.

  2. The saddest thing I have read in a long time is one slide 15 – “The reclamation area is an existing fishing ground for Tanjung Tokong and the Pantai Paramount Fishermen…..

    Fishermen need to fish elsewhere.

    Mitigation: Tunku tiruan and compensation”.

    If this is not reason to boycott and oppose this project I don’t know what is. The death knell for the Penang as we know it is nigh.

  3. You said it !!! The Millionaires’ Row of yesteryears are long gone, transformed into eateries among others. The new Row is now along STP1.

    Such is the cycle of life.

  4. The towkays will stay in Gurney Drive, Tanjung Bungah, Hillside and Lemabh Permai with their holiday homes in Batu Ferringhi and yatchs in Seri Tanjung Pinang marina while the coolees will make Batu Maung and Teluk Kumbar their habitat.

    • You should check the prices of homes being built in Batu Maung. You’d be surprised. Condos there have already surpassed the RM 1 million price.

      • the developers are cashing in every available land plot to build “lifestyle” properties so even Teluk Kumbar (so called ulu area) is not spared. RM550/sq feet is a norm before further speculated jack up …..only the naive and silly follow the jones mentality folks will suffer when things go not as per get rich vision !

  5. Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 project should be renamed ‘Elysium’ based on the current sci-fi movie highlighting different living spaces of the haves and have-nots in the distant future.

    E&O = Elysium & Opulence!

  6. It is funny that some of the fishermen actually asked for a yacht similar to the ones at Straits Quay. Some even asked for houses in par with the ones at STP 1.

      • soon there will be a fishermen livelihood debate of federal vs local gomen. someone gonna wash hands & dirty linen ……..

      • I thought of that, but I don’t think it will happen as Sime Darby, a federal GLC, owns 32 per cent of E&O. So Umno/Perkasa will probably be quiet on this one.

    • Why should that be funny? I find that their requests are legitimate and reasonable. You are coming in to take over the place where fishermen have been using to earn a living. They are not rich people. Most have to live in small 600 sf flats in Tg Tokong, wake up at 4-5 am to go to sea and get pittance in return. Even if they save all their lives they couldn’t afford a house in straits quay and now you want to come and destroy the source of their already minute income. E & O is getting a total of 1000 acres and thousands of units of houses and apartments. Is one house per family too much to ask for when you are getting thousands at RM1 psf? In fact if I were the state govt, I would make this a requirement before granting approval. And I don’t mean compensating with low-cost flats (which is what is being done now), I mean compensating with a standard unit on sale. This govt promised to be a government for the ppl and protector of the poor so I suggest they start acting like one. There is not much point in giving seniors RM 100 a year if they can’t ensure justice for those who work very very hard every single day of their lives to make ends meet.

  7. A man made island- interesting. I hope it does not get washed away or sink like the ones in Dubai.
    And I hope it does not stall halfway with a potential recession coming up and become an eye sore.
    If Terry Tham was a man with a vision, he would build a fisherman’s jetty on the island and let it be a tourist attraction and also help the local fishermen. The jetty would also house some modern al-fresco dining. You know like Fisherman wharf in San Francisco.

  8. Soon lim guan eng will tell you that building roads can’t cope with the growing vehicles. He will announce the plan to build Penang first BRT and abandon the undersea tunnel. That will make him look like he is a sustainable transport advocate, a leader that listen to the people. Lim Guan Eng will implement my BRT without all the infrastructure in place, if Rapid Penang agree to use the new additional 200 buses for the purpose, as a move towards sustainable transportation.

  9. In Singapore, reclaimed land need 10 years to let the soil settled before any development is allowed. Here we only talk about emulating Singapore, in practice we allow development to take place without the soil being settled. Did you realise that there is a fine print on disclaimation on your S&P about land subsiding? Lim Guan Eng boleh!

  10. If you are worried that Gurney Drive is now silted, don`t worry. There will soon be no more Gurney Drive in the foreseeable future. It will be reclaimed outward and a new Gurney Road will go straight to Tanjung Pinang and Tanjong Tokong. It was in the plan quite sometime ago by the KTK admin

  11. According to the presentation, the 30% affordable housing requirement will be built on the 2 islands and the state will also get 60 acres on the islands free. The state will also be given 50 acres out of the 133 acres of the reclaimed land off the present Gurney Drive.

    What is of great concern is the proposed tunnel to be built from Gurney Drive to the Jelutong Highway because of the potential traffic disruption caused.

    Those who used Perak Road would tell you the massive daily traffic jam when they took months to simply widen the drainage there.

    • I don’t think it is fair that the developers get 1000 acres in total (phase 1 and 2) and the state gets only 60 acres + 50 acres. That is merely 10 percent of the total area reclaimed. Out of that 10%, half is going to be used to build the highways and tunnels leaving only 50 acres of park space for Penangites. How is it fair that developers get to reclaim land for RM 1 psf and only return 5% to Penangites? I would have required them to hand over at least 50% of what is reclaimed. If they do not like such terms then don’t do any reclamation at all. Either that or they have to actually pay for the reclamation right like Ivory is paying 250 psf to reclaim land off the coast of bayan mutiara. E&O according to the state govt, got it for RM 1 psf from the previous state govt. You do the math, they are reclaiming 1000 acres (approx 45k sf), land in the area without even having to even build anything is worth more than RM 500 psf (just empty land mind you). So u multiply 1000 X 45000X 500 and you get approx RM 22 billion. They will become multi billionaires even before a single brick is laid onto the ground. What do Penangites get in return for that? A 50 acre park (which is half the size of the present botanical gardens). I think the previous state govt was plain stupid or corrupt and the new state govt has to learn bargaining and negotiating skills (especially when they have the upper hand in approvals).

  12. This project will create more problems for the Straits Quay marina. this is ridiculous and frustrating. Think of the long term effects it will have!

    The fishing industry will be destroyed…income for most of the fishermen have been declining in the past.

    I want to know, can the public put pressure to STOP this half baked project?

  13. I feel sad knowing what is going to happen to Gurney Drive. Off course we cannot stop development, and in fact we are not against development we are for it. But the issue here is, what type of development do we want, and for whom ? Do we build expensive units ( bungalows and super condominiums ) for the super rich ‘absentee landlords’ ?. What benefits do these type of development bring to Penang ? besides making the developer and a certain selected groups of people becoming richer ?

    However not all is lost yet, that is IF the proposed project plan is not approved, at least in principal by the local authority yet, ie The Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang ( MPPP ) and the state Goverrnment.

    The state can insist on the quotas for low cost and low medium cost units, and these units MUST be built here, not somewhere in the main land. These LMC and LC flats must be opened to ALL Penangites based on eligibility, not political patronage, as what used to happen in the past.

    Go to Palm / Nipah Court Apartments (LMC units built by E&O Property behind Island Plaza ). try to figure out, how many of these units are ‘owner-occupiers’, ‘tenanted’ and turned into holiday resorts by their ‘absentee landlords’. In fact some of the units are turned into ‘home stay’.

    What has been done cannot be undone. So I sincerely hope the present state government, can do something better than the previous state government namely : –

    1. Insist on the quota for LMCs and LC is fully adhered to.

    2. Ensure all the units are built HERE not somewhere else on the Main Land ( Not in Prime location ok).

    3. Ensure the units are offered to ALL Penangites. (with % for qualified Bumiputra).

    4. Allocation must be done on the basis of ‘need’, ‘eligibility’ & ‘financial position’ NOT based on
    political patronage.

  14. Anil, like you I think the fact that it will be approved is a forgone conclusion. The only thing we can do is to ensure that public interest is protected and the impact to the environment is limited. A few points to note:

    1. Gney drive is already badly silted, smelly and irreparable. The public park and new promenade proposed, equipped with bicycle lanes look good. However 50 acres for a park is rather small considering that the botanical gardens built a century ago is 80 acres and the developers are reclaiming a total of 1000 acres.

    2. Will the new areas labelled as ‘parks’ and the new coastline throughout the island be accessible to the public free of charge? Or will there be security which prevents outsiders from entering the exclusive island? What is the point of calling it a park if it is not? Call it playground for the rich.

    3. The govt should require the developer to pay a large sum (maybe 100-200 million) to be held as a bond and guarantee that siltation does not occur. If it does, then the amount can be used for remedial works. This will also ensure that developers are serious when they speak and not take the public for a ride.

    4. All affordable housing planned in the area be distributed by the govt independent of the contractor/developer and re-sales/sub-sales be prohibited for at least 10 years to prevent speculation.

  15. Now listen Najib , these number of houses are not inclusive of the one million affordable house that you promised to build for the people before the GE. Are you, right now in the midst of planning to fulfill your promise ? Just remember a promise is a promise even though in all the years since independence more than 56 years ago Umno has not even come up with that number. Or are you again calling the divine one to help you out of this promise ? One million affordable houses !

  16. Keep Calm.
    Kuan Nah Kak (Gurney Drive) Ki Liao.

    Many Penang favourite recreational sites free for Penangites are now endangered sites, a very self contradictory ‘impasse’ to the passions for our hard-earned UNESCO heritage status ie old world charm George Town.
    What is an island with 2 longkangs doing in an environmentally unstable sea deluged with strong undersea currents? What amount of erosion + mud deposition from exploitative & ostentatious development (E+O D) will harm Gurney Drive & its coastal nature is anybody’s guess after a black mud bath during low tide opposite Gurney Plaza. And don’t forget Muka Head with its pristine emerald sea water in danger of turning kopi-susu from offshore deposition of unwanted waste from richie land development.
    Affordable housing is not required on an expensive artificial island designed for the rich & famous but a proper sense of basic housing with amenities is all we Penangites expect, not homes for a wanton display of Bing Chui lifestyle unaffordable in current economic & financial in-debtedness of many households.

    Keep Calm. Keep away from this frenzy of cosmopolitan nightmare in the making on an island of once upon a time of good life, safe & sustainable Penang lifestyle for everybody.

    • for those who not familiar with Penang slang Hokkien, Ki Liao means GONE ALREADY !

      looks like beside street food museum, many other museums may be in the pipeline to commemorate more Ki Liao traditions, culture, and original natural landscapes,

      • There will be many ‘living museums’ of the poor, middle-class-turned-poor & Ori-Maestros who cannot pay high rentals in mainland Penang For The Boh Bin Chui.
        Only Penang Island Oo Bin Chui mah.
        Sometimes, I feel Penang should be led by a genuine Penangite who understand & empathise with our Penang Lang hearts & pockets, without the SingLand propensities of Bing Chui, Boh Looi, Tua Khang.

  17. Beauty of Penang will be forever blighted by this awful planned development. Its a thinly disguised plan to build for the rich. How this adds value for Penangites or even for the Malaysian public, is questionable.

    The island is fast losing its charm under the onslaught of this type of development. Though I am a businessman and a supporter of PR, I think this sort of development is the last thing that Penang needs.

    Penang should have been developed along the lines of a charming much sought after tourist destination for its historical charm and beautiful scenery.

    Its really sad that PR is screwing it up.

  18. Hello, Forgive me…I am ignorant; but Tg. Pinang be extended with reclamation into an International Airport with Casino Complex: World Online Game replacing all the land at current Airport be transformed into multiplex of mixed development that will attract billionaires investing into both of Pinang attraction…rather than botak all hills….Why not???

  19. When a question was posed from the floor on how a tunnel could be built at the narrow strip of road between PG1 and 8 Gurney, the E&O traffic consultant did not appear to even know where that road was. No answer was given.

    • Don’t worry the undersea is tunnel can be considered as DEATH. Lim Guan Eng most likely will implement my BRT proposal as an excuse to avoid the embarassment oof unable to build the tunnel. Watch out for the announcement soon Guan Eng realised that he can’t hide from the fact anymore.

  20. This project is a poor idea.

    We have seen how reclaimation to build Seri Tanjung resulted in siltation of Gurney Beach.

    That channel of water between the reclaimed island and Seri Tanjong mainland will become a stagnant swamp. I pity the future owners who paid over RM500,000 to enjoy the stink of mud and sewerage.


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