The Penang Development Corporation already has over 4,500 acres of land under its care in the Batu Kawan area in mainland Penang – so why is the state government so intent on reclaiming 4,500 acres of land to create three island off the southern coast of Penang Island?
According to the state government’s newsletter Buletin Mutiara:
The PDC land available in the areas mentioned is Batu Kawan (2,946.7 acres for mixed development, industrial park and affordable housing), East Batu Kawan (622.6 acres for mixed development, various industries), South Penang Science Park (173.7 acres for various industries) and Byram (782.7 acres for various industries).
So plenty of land there – and there’s absolutely no need to create three new islands off the southern coast of Penang Island if the state is really keen on balancing development between the island and the mainland.
Why congest the island further with an additional 446,000 people?
At present mainland Penang has just over 800,000 people and the island over 700,000 people ie the island has 46% of the total Penang population.
Penang Island covers an area spanning 293 sq km with a population density of about 2,500 people per sq km. The density on the flat land of the island would be much higher due to the sparsely populated land mass covered by the hills of Penang Island.
In contrast, mainland Penang covers 751 sq km with a population density of 1,100 people per sq km.
Put another way, the island is almost two and a half times more densely populated than the mainland. Or look at it this way: almost half the population live on the island, even though the mainland is two and half times larger than the island.
So why would the state government want to cram 446,000 more people on the island – assuming it can find 400,000 additional people by 2030, which is a big if – instead of channelling a larger part of the future population increase to the mainland? Surely it can carry out its “economic transformation” on the mainland, where the land is readily available.