Bit by bit, relentlessly, large stretches of the coastline of the eastern half of Penang Island have been handed over or sold to property developers, who are planning mostly higher-end projects.
The strong fencing (albeit temporary) in the photo above may be seen as a metaphor for the way coastal stretches are now being hived off to private interests.
The latest is Pulau Jerejak, part of which is now going to be closely associated with Ideal Property and Uda Holdings.
Popular location names in Penang will soon be identified with the developers associated with those territories.
Let’s take a quick look at the developers that are now in the driving seat along much of the eastern coastline of Penang Island and their respective ‘territories’, starting from the North East all the way to the South West.
Location – Developer – Project name
- Tanjung Tokong – E & O – Sri Tanjung Pinang Phases 1 and 2 (about 1,000 acres of reclaimed land)
- Gurney Drive – Zenith-Ewein – Wellness City of Dreams (50 acres of reclaimed land near Gurney Plaza)
- Jelutong expressway – IJM – The Light (on reclaimed land)
- Bayan Mutiara – Tropicana – Penang World City (includes reclaimed land)
- Queensbay Mall coastline – Ideal Property – Queens Waterfront project (includes reclaimed land)
- Pulau Jerejak – Ideal Property/Uda Holdings – resort, hotels and residential
- Batu Maung-Bayan Lepas – Mah Sing – Southbay City and Southbay Plaza
- Bayan Lepas-Gertak Sanggul – SRS Consortium (Gamuda/Ideal Property/BSG) – “Southern Reclamation Scheme” (almost 4,500 acres of reclaimed land)
(Have I missed out any other major project?)
A couple of these large projects had their genesis during the BN administration, pre-2008. Post-2008, more stretches of the coastline have landed in developers’ hands.
In the past, reclaimed land was regarded as leasehold land, perhaps in recognition of the fact that such land was once part of the sea, which belongs to all of us. But now, more and more of the reclaimed land is being controversially turned or converted into freehold, which results in higher home prices – and more profits for the developers. See a legal opinion on this here: ‘Can reclaimed land be converted to freehold?’
The sense of living on an island will be lost when much of the view of the seafront is going to be blocked by these enclaves, largely catering to the well heeled – not exactly homes priced within reach of the average person on the street.
How much of the seafront will be accessible to the public (a basic right) if, along certain stretches, homes are built right up to the edge of the sea?
How did it come to this?
Next stop, mainland Penang?