Participants at Penang Forum 7: #SaveJerejak today called for a moratorium on any property development project at Pulau Jerejak, an island steeped in history.
There were some who felt that some kind of ‘development’ on the island was inevitable and the best we could do is insist that the natural, cultural and built heritage should be preserved.
But many others, like me, wanted the island and its history preserved in its entirety as a treasure to be handed down to future generations.
In the end, the participants agreed that there should be a moratorium on any further ‘development’ on the island and instead, an independent (note, independent) special area plan should be carried out for the island, this time with genuine public participation.
Participants also agreed with a recommendation for the island to be gazetted as a Penang state park and for its heritage to be conserved.
The response from the public and the press surpassed the organisers’ expectations. Researchers spoke about the island’s rich multi-faceted history over various periods since the late 19th Century and its natural heritage while a few in the audience shared their personal connections to the island.