The Gurney Drive swamp


One of the charms of Penang used to be the hawker stalls along Gurney Drive.  Crowds still throng the sea-front to savour Penang’s street food. But I doubt they go there for the “invigorating” sea breeze now!

Whatever happened to the Gurney Drive of yesteryear? It wasn’t always like this, if you are old enough to remember…

What has turned it into a swamp? The prime suspect is the land reclamation work in nearby Tanjung Tokong.

As citizen journalist Lilian suggests in the video, we don’t need this kind of “development”.

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We can sit and regret the past mistakes or we can make lemonade out of the lemons we had been given.

Nuture this mangrove swamp…educate people of Penang that Mangroves are good things to have in our seafronts, they protect us from tsunamis….if they are the breeding grounds for our aquatic life…In Sabah…all their mangroves are protected forests…

In Australia…they showcased their Mangroves….


I’ve been hanging out at gurney since i was in secondary school. im just love the scenary infront of the Gurney Plaza so much. i can see the changes of this natural phenomena, from water to mud. it’s kind of heartache to see that. Some might say that it’s neccessary to do something as this is not what it suppose to be, while some might say that just leave it alone, just let it be as mangrove might bring benefits in future generation. this is really a big dilemma. but no matter what it is, as we cant control how… Read more »


Coastal accretion is something you can’t fight, so why try? The area should be encouraged to develop into a mangrove forest, or alternatively reclaimed for a public park with a new pedestrian/cycle promenade along the seafront.

Incidentally, the sea is now dumping lots of lovely sand off the Penang Club on Northam Road.

SB Koay

The sad, sorry state of affairs in Penang is the result of bad governance under you-know-who. The present government has a lot of s*** to clean up and it is going to take a long time at the same time dealing with sensitive issues in the process. The smelly swamp at Gurney Drive could also be due to geographical changes. Is it possible to grow a mangrove swamp there? If so, wouldn’t it be good for ecological and environmental reasons? As a born and bred Penangite, I will love to see the past glory of the state revived. That will… Read more »

Benson Teoh

Please… PLEASE……. DO something………


Leave it alone….in time to come there’ll be a mangrove area there. And if you don’t know what mangroves can do for you then you need to read up on it. There are already seedlings sprouting. At the moment every evening and morning flocks of white egrets and the occasional heron graze there.The mud’s not a dead smelly thing,it’s only offensive to people who think nature should be nice and sanitised in the manner of a Bambi cartoon. There’s food in them there mud,and it’s brought the birds in. These egrets disappeared in Penang when the padi fields were covered… Read more »

Cheeseman Boy

If you open Google Maps and look at Tanjung Tokong, you can read how the sea current flows by just looking at the sand bars created. That is, the sea flows around the north-east curve of the island into the Penang Strait. Those dumb fools who designed the land reclamation at Tanjung Tokong did not do proper EIA to include impact on sea currents. By blocking the sea current and seawater flow streaming straight into the strait, Gurney Drive is now a cess pit of still backwater that has no means to cleanse itself. It would have been different if… Read more »


do you know these problem is not the first. There’s another ongoing project where land reclamation are destroying the sandy beaches at the egate where the coast we always see the Penang Bridge. The project is going to destroy the seaview and the place for all these property development . This time it’s IJM.

Pretty Obvious

We all pay the price for the follies of the Tanjung Bungah residents who saw fit to have Koh Tsu Koon as their assemblyman for umpteen years.

Jimmy Leow

We need to voice out our concerns wherever we can. Citizen Journalism Malaysia consists of several members just like Lilian (the person making the video) have been actively involved in making short video clips to bring awareness to the public.

The public tends to shy away when comes to issues such as environment and human rights, even though these are happening right in front of us. So please do lend us, in fact lend yourselves a hand, help to care for Penang, your home.


Sigh ! Sigh ! Sigh ! That day mom and I took a walk in Gurney Drive (we were from Kedah actually). My gosh, she exclaimed, what had happened to Gurney Drive ??? I said to mom, it was caused by BN government, Koh Tsu Koon and Teng Hock Nam !!! And that Dr Teng, no shame to himself dared to ask Pakatan, a year has passed what had Lim Guan Eng done ? The answer is cleaning the previous govt’s big s***… The previous govt they s***ed everywhere… See the damage done those who have eyes !!! It really… Read more »


That swamp needs to be redeveloped for the public.
How about turning it into a nature park complete with jogging tracks, basketball courts, etc. where the public can enjoy the
seafront, have a picnic, and where visitors can relax…


Naaah…. lease it out to the USMC as their Parris Island alternative right here in South East Asia. So the local natives can get to see how Marine grunts train under the wire with live fire rounds……


i was originally from Penang and during my teens i remember the beautiful sound of the waves hitting the bricks and the sea wind was natural. The beachfront during those time, we sees alot of night life and restaurants around. People will walk along the Gurney Drive for the pasar malam stalls. Actually , the past few years back when most penangites voted for BN , the nightmare begins. The people of Penang voted these people Tan Gim Hwa and later Dr Koh Tsu Koon to govern the state of Penang. Gurney Drive muds happened due to the development in… Read more »


Sigh! Teng blamed the environment(global warming) and when the environment is the victim.If his argument stands, why we do not see same problem in singapore (must use Singapore as comparison as LKY just visited Pg, just to rub it in). You can still develop the place but ask the developer to do EIA. Or the state gov do a proper EIA for the whole place. Look at the other end of Gurney Drv. where are the sandy beach 3\more than 30 years ago??? That;s why tourist all goto Pattaya and Koh Samui liaw. Pleas keep Gurney for the public —-… Read more »

bla bla bla

What BN, Gerakan and Koh Tsu Koon has to say about this?


Who was the IDIOT who brought such ‘development’ to Gurney Drive? We see develoments in HK and Singapore but cannot understand why and how Penang’s dev can be so damaging to the environment.


From a tourist perspective, I thought it looked and smelt horrible.
Couldn’t get away fast enough.


Gotong royong is bulls***. In fact, there is no English or other language translation. If there is regular maintenance, there would not be a need for gotong royong. Gotong royong is just a day where 100 people clears up the mess left over 100 days. If the mess is cleaned up daily, there is no such need!


good … later the mangrove will come back hihihi


The MPPP will then organize a gotong royong and 3 months later, it will be dirty and a mess again, then organize another gotong royong….

They cannot do the job of regular upkeeping, can they?

wong chin kong

Sigh, I was the original Penangnite, born in Penang more than fifty years ago. In my teen years, Penang was just beautiful, the hills in Tanjong Tokong, the vegetable farms, the pure white long stretches in Gurney Drive, the clear sea water you could see the fishes swimming beneath the waves, dig for siput, swim, the sweet cool breezy seaside, no traffic jams. Now what do I see: mud, awful smell, traffic jams, double triple parking, hawkers, hills flatten, granite rocks replaced the sandy beach, hotels and shopping complexes fronting the sea, parking tickets Penang is called the Pearl of… Read more »