980-acre land reclamation in Penang


Another massive land reclamation project has received approval in principle from the Penang state government. This time it is Eastern and Oriental (E&O) Bhd’s plan to reclaim an additional 740 acres in Tanjong Tokong under Phase 2 of the Seri Tanjung Pinang project.

Phase 2 of Seri Tanjung Pinang - Graphic: GDP Architects

That’s three times the size of Phase 1, under which the firm is reclaiming 240 acres with a gross development value (GDV) of RM4bn.

E&O said Tanjung Pinang Development was granted the exclusive right to reclaim and develop about 980 acres of land along the Tanjung Tokong shore-line in 1992. (Who granted this exclusive right and what was the consideration?)

Other approvals are still needed for Phase 2, in particular an environmental impact assessment.

According to The Edge, HwangDBS reportedly estimates that reclamation work for Phase 2 could cost RM2.1bn, but GDV is expected to be RM15bn.

Graphic: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/

Going by what is said in the website of GDP Architects, three islands will be created under Phase Two: Island 1 – 163 acres, Island 2 – 73 acres, and Island 3 – 480 acres (Total 716 acres). The Star, however, quotes E&O executive director Eric Chan as saying, ““Phase two will be a mixed integrated development comprising two islands of approximately 740 acres in size. At three times the size of phase one, phase two is expected to generate RM12bil in gross development value.”

Phases 1 (240 acres) and 2 (740 acres) of Seri Tanjung Pinang in the north-east coast alone account for 980 acres. Other huge swathes of coastline in the east (The Light), south-east (Queensbay and Southbay), and south-west (E&O’s 365-acre tract in Gertak Sanggul) have been earmarked for massive land reclamation or property development that will change the map of Penang. These projects could effectively turn much of the coastline on the eastern half of the island into enclaves for the rich and well-heeled.

Some questions arise:

  • What does the state of Penang and its people get in return for surrendering reclamation rights worth billions of ringgit in GDV to private developers? How much does the state/public receive from these deals?
  • What proportion of Phase 2 (740 acres) will be for public use, including parks and green lungs?
  • We have seen siltation along the Gurney Drive coastline already. Will all this reclamation affect tidal patterns and currents and result in siltation/erosion on the shoreline and at Penang Port and choke up the Northern Channel? Have these plans seriously considered previous studies, if any, on the flow of the channel?
  • Will the public be guaranteed access to the entire coast-line and sea-front?
  • What proportion of these projects will be low-cost housing? 30 per cent?
  • Wasn’t the interchange for the Penang Outer Ring Road (see below) part of the northern land reclamation package? Now that Porr has been scrapped, is the reclamation deal in 1992 still valid?
Notice the similarity with the PORR plan - Graphic: http://onthemove.penang.gov.my/proj_porr.htm

The following is E&O’s announcement to Bursa Malaysia on 12 April:

Approval in principle of the masterplan for Phase 2 of Seri Tanjung Pinang


Eastern & Oriental Berhad (“E&O”) is pleased to announce that by letter dated 11 April 2011, the Jabatan Perancang Bandar dan Desa, Pulau Pinang, communicated the State’s in-principle approval to the masterplan submitted by Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd (“TPD”) (a subsidiary of E&O) for the proposed mixed integrated development on land to be reclaimed in Tanjong Tokong, Penang (Phase 2) (“In-Principle Approval”).

Brief History

In 1992, TPD was granted the exclusive right to reclaim and develop approximately 980 acres of land in the district of Tanjong Tokong in the north-east coast of Penang. To date, the Group has reclaimed and is continuing to develop Phase 1 of the project comprising approximately 240 acres of land under the name “Seri Tanjung Pinang”.

The Group through TPD had sought State approval to reclaim the balance concession area of approximately 740 acres.

The Approval

The In-Principle Approval is conditional upon the following terms and conditions:

(i) TPD’s masterplan must comply with all technical requirements and other conditions associated with planning approvals;

(ii) in view of protecting public interests, TPD’s masterplan will still be subjected to closer scrutiny by the State Government; and

(iii) TPD may nevertheless undertake the relevant technical studies at its own cost and expense; without the State Government incurring any liability or obligations.

E&O would nevertheless like to emphasise that whilst the In-Principle Approval is a vital step towards being able to reclaim the balance concession area, there are other steps still to be undertaken and approvals to be obtained before reclamation works can actually commence. Not least of all will be a satisfactory environmental impact assessment (EIA) study which will entail traffic impact assessments by the relevant authorities.

Whilst it is too early therefore to outline the detailed effects of the In-Principle Approval in respect of the masterplan or its implementation timetable, the Board of Directors of E&O is nevertheless of the view that in the longer term, the Group will derive substantial benefits with a successful implementation of the In-Principle Approval.

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I sit on side such project is unavoidable and as far as low cost housing, its silly to even ask for it for such an expensive thing. However, I think the problem with such projects in Penang is that the govt role may be inadequate in ensuring its soundness. (Certain developers) are building high rises on these reclaimed land without much time for land settling and not details of amount of piling and reinforcement. Its potentially harzardous given that eventually they will be high and heavy traffic through it. Also its likely that Gurney Drive will eventually be silted the… Read more »

Penang boy.

Penang can be great asset for Malaysia. In order for more homes, more commercial properties and more businesses to sustain growth, there needs to be more institutions of higher learning to develop and grow talent to transform Penang into a skills based population. Without right types of talent and a new generation who take pride in working hard to develop themselves and their country, Penang (and Malaysia) will remain a third world state. Private developers and our government have to join forces to build many more institutions of learning. Multinationals and business institutions will only invest in Penang when skills… Read more »


so much profit for developers, where is the benefit to local people, how many percentage of public spaces compared to private spaces? i doubt, can somebody tell me that?

i think the policy maker and urban planner should have done more research before granting permission for this massive development that change the face map of original penang, there is much more land available at seberang perai which is not fully utilize.

furthermore how was the traffic planning for this development since the traffic in penang is so congested ……please don’t repeat the mistake again and blinded by profit


Well, what you expect from the “Development Above People” govt ? Imagine if this was proposed by the previous govt ! All the PR cybertroopers and NGOs will be out for an all out battle and there will be a “1 Million Malaysians Against the Project ” FB page. But when DAP does this quietly, there is hardly a whisper from these NGOs. What makes me angry and upset is the sneaky and quiet manner the Cheap Minister is carrying this out. So much for CAT policies. I have pointed out many times here that there is a nexus between… Read more »

Gerakan K

Don’t oppose too much lah. This is Dap government in charge. They need our blind support.

More land = more population = more chinese ‘imported’ from other places = more secure the Dap government = see the light = bravo

The perfect plan isn’t it ???

RJ Manecksha

This is not an undertaking thats going to benefit the vast majority of the locals.Speculators will be pleased and so will a small minority of Penangites.What do we need such vulgar growth for which will undermine the natural beauty of the island and which will stand in stark contrast to old Georgetown?
And all this was conceived in 1992?


If so much area for reclaimation had indeed be given, shouldn’t the proposed PORR be toll free then in a land for road scheme swap, just like the Tun Lim Chong Eu expressway deal with IJM?

Who were the original owners of Tanjung Pinang Development in 1992?
Still E&O or someone else?

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone, The State Govt should come up with a master plan for land reclamation to include tourism-based projects (like those suggested by Christine), reclamation parcels to build affordable houses and apartments for Penangites and those working in Pg, Malaysia My 2nd Home – type of house projects, etc. But, all these subject to EIAs that would include traffic flow and dispersal, etc, and the bottom-line is not just private sector profits but also profits to the state to then benefit the people. Land reclamation can be undertaken through public-private joint venture, with the state receiving reasonable income! I have… Read more »


I agree to the questions posed by you in your article. This reclamation project should be objected by all penangites. How would it benefit the ordinary average citizens of Penang? It would be a playground for the rich!! We objected when the BN goverment wanted to develop Penang Hill. This DAP goverment is no better. These private developers are destroying our once beautiful Penang, I am suprised with the DAP goverment for giving its approval.
We should start a group opposing this like we did oppossing the PORR and Save Penang Hill.


The approval was given by the previous government. If you can remember, the then deputy CM gave them a 50% discount on the premium to be paid.


PORR was meant to be an integral part of this project, as a commentor above wrote. I agree with this. I am one of those people who are for PORR. Even now, with the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu expressway now up and running, traffic jams are already a common occurrence, either along Jalan Mesjid Negara, Jalan Scotland, Jalan Utama and Jalan Gottlieb, or along the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu expressway. And the jams will get worse in the years ahead, as new development come on line. PORR can take a huge chunk of the traffic off our highways… Read more »

Richard S

Yes Yes, I support Penang should develop further to generate more land and build more commercial and residential, so more people can migrate to Penang to benefit a good managed state govt by DAP. I hope many people should support proposal by any developer if there benefit the state moving to developed CITY status.


May be you are still young but Penang was a CITY long long time ago. It was also a free port way back in the 60″s BUT due to the vagaries of the gomen it was downgraded by bn…. I agree it was petty but that is what happened.

Peter Ho

Agreed fully. If only the then government could invest half of what they have dumped into Langkawi, Penang would have been a top city with great infrastructure to lure the tourists and MICE activities. Too bad Penangites’ long patience with Gerakan has come with a great cost.


Those retailers and F&B operators will echo your suggestion as they need more population to boost revenue. The shift is imminent as Penang cannot count on manufacturing as its main economic contributor. Service sector in Penang has to expand to make up for the diminishing role of manufacturing. Fresh entrants to job market will testify to that. This change will transform the landscape of Penang and Penangites must be prepared to face it although many are still worried about losing the ‘soul’. The soul of Penang will definitely transformed or ubah (whether you are ruled by BN or Pakatan) and… Read more »


Is this project really beneficial for Pg or in the bigger picture, for the country?

Pg is already so damn crowded, its choking to death.

What is needed is a world class public transport system. Please, not the stupid disjointed variety in KL, the STAR-LRT & PUTRA.

Whats the point of the reclamation? If there isn’t enough land on the island, there is plenty of that across the bridge on mainland Pg. The trouble is, people – especially Penangites insist that the island is Pg and the mainland is …. well…the mainland. Property developers love people like that.

Shana Babu

If you develop the mainland side of Penang, then more kampungs will have to make way. Soon you will be inviting ‘kek hitam’ or ‘coffins’ from those Perkasa fellows claiming the malays are marginalized and displaced. Simple as that.

Peter Ho

Do not forget there are many rich malays too who could afford to build castles in Penang. Marion Caunter (sorry I do not know her Muslim name) can also get his Naza husband to relocate to Penang island!


The malays prefer a slower-paced and idylic lifestyle at Seberang Prai where you can have plenty of land around your kampung house to rear chickens. Nobody should be complaining because we all have a choice to choose the life based on our needs, preference and budget. We should stop politicise the high cost of housing in the Penang island as it is determined by supply-demand in a capitalistic society we re living in.


I think it is a good idea. Penang needs to be developed and since we are focusing factories into the mainland, services and properties will be the focus in the mainland. Remember Georgetown center cannot have any more high rises, its the Unesco thing. So where do we go? We do not want to go to Air Itam or Balik Pulau, its the environment thing.


Yes, l think Christine’s idea is pretty sound and productive. Lease it a company for X number of years until the reclaimed land stabilized for future developments without rushing it, until a fuller picture appears, by then, the authority will determine what is the best option. These will also keep away
“Slimy opportunists” away and screwing the place for quick bucks!


Time to get myself a boat, it’ll be faster to travel from weld quay to straits quay (phase 1 tanjung pinang) or batu feringghi……. and people would be able to walk from gurney drive to the phase 11 after the reclaimation as water will only be knee-deep…


Good, finally you also aware of this. I was shock when I read that the phase II will be 3 times of phase I, whereas phase I itself already turn Gurney drive into swampy land, with phase II coming, I wonder whether there will be any water left to flow until Gurney drive.

When they approved it last time, it was planned with PORR, with PORR cancelled, what is the basis of continuing the reclamation of land solely for private property development? Somebody please write in to the government.

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone,

Pg Island is rather small and land is scarce, just like Singapore formerly.

Land reclamation would increase the land area for a small state like Pg though before any such project is carried out a COMPREHENSIVE and exhaustive EIA be prepared for approval and open to public scrutiny. Of course, traffic disposal is of utmost priority! When fully embarked upon, the projects should increase the coffers of the state govt. to benefit the people.


Hello Tan of Tanjung Bungah,

Please don’t compare Penang to Singapore. Penang has soul, though I can’t say the same for that other island.

I know what I just wrote is out of context, but just can’t resist it.



I hope you do not speak too soon.
We are living a capitalist society, where soul can easily be traded for instant gratification due to commercialization that is hitting the Generation Y of Penang.

When you choose Starbucks coffee over kopitiam kopi or Ipad over 555 notebook, the trend is emerging.

Old timers may cherish the traditional soul. But the young facebook/fastfood generation will define the new soul to reflect their wishes for ‘happening’, ‘tech gadgets’, ‘affluent lifestyle’, ‘hip culture’, ‘modern lingo’…


Fully agreed!

We can see that Gurney Drive has lost its old charm (soul?) with high rise apartments and shopping centres while the beach is stagnant with mud.


I do hope one of the condition for the reclaimed land is to ensure a 6lane roadway is built to by-pass that area and the bottleneck at the Gurney Drive & Sunrise junction.

Shana Babu

I wonder if EIA (Environment Impact Assessment’ had been carried out for such project?

Soon someone will instigate the fishermen to protest for their lost livelihood. Expect black cakes being being baked anytime now.

Christine Yong

E&O should use the land to build Disney Land or Water Park or something for tourist instead of home home and home!! Too crowded!

Peter Ho

We should have Ubahland, with CAT kittens and Ubah hornbills as mascot, first in Penang. Kids can entertain themselves while learning abouts the ills or corruption.

Later another one at Iskandar Johor after the next election of course!