Residents of Tanjung Bunga recently sent a letter to ask about the current status of the ‘Sore Thumb’ – but so far apparently no response.
Meanwhile, the access road (Tingkat Laut Satu) to a seaside condo is apparently being built on government land to benefit a private development. The sides of any river/stream are supposed to be public land but the road is built right on that; the stream has been canalised (that needs special permission). There also appears to be a roundabout. The official-looking roadsign suggests government approval/endorsement has somehow been obtained.
On top of that, a developer is levelling the ungazetted reclaimed land (Sore Thumb) to extend it and reclaim even more as rocks and soil are dumped into the sea. Meanwhile, the public is in the dark as to whether the Sore Thumb is ungazetted public land or if its status has changed.
Residents tried various ways to find out if the developer had submitted new plans; the Land Office was asked if MPPP had approved any plans for the use of this area, including the TOL land. Has there been any approval for the river between Penang Swimming Club and the Sore Thumb to be canalised?
But apparently no information has been received so far.
Tanjung Bunga residents, like many others around Penang, have for years reminded the authorities that they need more recreational space; they have waited for a lot number to be assigned to the the Sore Thumb so that it can be formally gazetted as a public park.
But the site is also coveted by certain parties who initially applied to construct a coastal park/marina/tourist centre in front of massive condos. The plans have apparently expired but the work in the area is being carried out seemingly almost close to plan. Has the plan been renewed?
Residents are increasingly worried that private parties have encroached into public land. Huge excavators have been digging off the top of the Sore Thumb while lorries carry rocks and earth to the shore between the PSC reclamation and the Thumb. It looks as if the developer is creating another large plot of reclaimed land.
Back last August, residents complained that the work continued from early morning till late at night and even on Sunday. They wondered what the urgency was and why MPPP was allowing this to go on.
After all, reclaimed land is supposed to be leasehold land. For many years, residents had thought the Sore Thumb was going to be their much-needed coastal public park – that was what was reported with much fanfare. But now they are not sure who will profit from the park and related plans.