Penang shoreline hit by erosion


Certain beach stretches in Penang are being eroded by changing tidal patterns, attributed to land reclamation work.

theSun reports:

Hotel operators concerned over beach erosion
Himanshu Bhatt and Opalyn Mok

Massive erosion of earth by powerful sea tides has caused this stretch of the beach in Tanjung Bungah to become lower by about a metre and several trees there to be uprooted over the last month. Notice the embankment-like verticle exposure created after the earth there was pulled away into the sea.

GEORGE TOWN (Feb 2, 2010): A series of bizarre tides has eroded a stretch of the Tanjung Bungah beach here, causing its level to be lowered by as much as two metres.

The erosion, which has created gaping embankment-like exposures where large amounts of sand have disappeared, has caused concern among hotel operators and visitors in the area.

Paradise Sandy Beach Resort general manager Jeff De Zilva said he has appealed to the authorities to investigate as the degradation was affecting the environment and tourism in the state.

“People come from afar to holiday here”I am seriously thinking of getting rocks to protect the beach,” he said yesterday (2 Feb 2010).

He said the erosion, which has been occurring over the past month, was so powerful that at least three palm trees planted by the hotel have been uprooted.

De Zilva asked if the unusual tides that have hit the beach were linked to reclamation works in nearby areas.

It is understood that the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) has surveyed the site. When contacted, however, its officer said the cause had not been ascertained and the matter was being studied.

Meanwhile, the state government said it is identifying coastal sites to be gazetted for planting of mangroves and for special reclamation in an effort to protect the island’s eroding shoreline and restore the natural hydro-flow of coastal waters.

The move follows a report by the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (Nahrim) last year which indicated that reclamation works had brought about significant geological changes that in turn may have led to alterations in tidal patterns in the Penang Channel and the surrounding seas.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said much of the natural coastline had been adversely affected by siltation and abnormal sedimentations.

“We will have to look into this problem and find a solution in order to change the hydro-flow system of the coastal waters for the better,” he said.

Phee said Penang’s sea waters had been subjected to a series of dredging and reclamation works.

He also said environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports for coastal areas had in the past been made in “unrestricted and questionable” manners.

TheSun reported today that the state-commissioned marine study by Nahrim has indicated that sea currents have been forced to be diverted, pushing mud to be deposited along the island’s north-eastern coast and the Penang Channel.

Phee said the state was also concerned about marine areas where mud was being dumped by certain agencies. The areas include the sea waters off Muka Head, off Pulau Kendi and at Split Head at the mouth of the Prai River.

“The tsunami in 2004 had also pushed sediment in such a way that it was deposited all around the coastal waters of the state,” he said.

The Nahrim report in particular pointed to the Gurney Drive coastline which has been affected by mud after massive reclamations nearby.

The other affected areas include those where a fatal dragon-boat training accident occurred on Jan 17. Five students and a teacher were killed when their boat with 18 people was hit by waves. Survivors recounted being pulled down by powerful undercurrents. — theSun

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Audrey Meligai

The beach really look like it’s in a bad shape. Is LGE and his team mates are just going to sit back and do nothing about this?

Loh Yeow Boo - Penang

I would like to see Ong Eu Soon stand in the next General Elections with any party to his choice….then probably he would have a platform to speak when he wins………..oops….if he wins.


No Yeow Boo, I wanna see what Ong can do when he really becomes the CM of Penang. Likewise to the Great Anil

Hard Facts

Ong Eu Soon’s attempts to shout down Zaid Ibrahim during the latter’s ceramah in Penang last December shows clearly his political affiliations.

Every Penangnite knows that these land reclaimation was approved by and started during the previous KTK admnistration.

The likes of Ong should stand for the next state elections and see for themselves for many votes they get.


You mean it’s a “no no” to shout at Zaid Ibrahim ?

So the people must sayang Zaid Ibrahim in order to be in the “right camp” ?

Just what type of logic is that??


Ong Eu Soon should or could be the director of the Western “High Noon”, and also “The Good The Bad & The Ugly” he seems to have all the answers to World Hunger


I believe our dear Mr Ong Eu Soon is well aware that this is not an over night actions done by who/which gomen?

Ong Eu Soon

You should also aware that who insist in continuing the bad policy of KTK. Now LGE want to plant mangroves swamp that grow overnight. I would love to believe that he has such capability, as it is rather urgent to stop further erosion. The original mangroves swamp at Tanjong Tokong already disappeared, making way for development for Tesco, and others. Why destroy first before you realise that it is needed to protect the coastal zone from erosion?


Our profession engineer Ong did not study coastal dynamics and neither visit Kelantan and Trengganu. Even without any man made development, the shorelines have been shrinking and eaten up. The London bridge in Victoria Great Ocean road has fallen down and no more 12 apostles.


Dear Mr. Ong, The planting of mangrove is not for environment protection, nor for stopping the beach erosion. It is for political reason. You see, there is a “Yang Berbasikal” (yeah, from DAP) who promised to “plant a million trees” and in order to do that, LGE (perhaps) has to cut down a lot of trees and then replant them. So the mangrove in Tanjung Tokong is gone. Which means they can plant mangrove in other areas, and who knows, they might even plant 1 million mangrove trees ! LGE may not know about environment but he does know politics… Read more »


It is not accurate or even correct to fault the cause of tidal changes to land reclamation without a detail scientific study using hydrodynamic modeling. Most published results only show significant change of tidal velocities and not tidal heights. There are many reasons for the erosion of coastlines like the example you given above. The Netherlands also faced such challenges since much of the western peat or clay soil coastline suffer land loss/erosion during sea level rise, tides, and storms; notwithstanding the usage of land for the agro-industries. They overcome some of the problems by implementing different stages of drainage… Read more »


It is not accurate or even correct to fault the cause of tidal changes to land reclamation without a detail scientific study using hydrodynamic modeling.

For the overzealous so-called ” environmentalists “, no scientific evidence is necessary.

As long as they think it is, it is.

As long as they say it is, it is.

So in this case, when Anil says “it’s the land reclamation that cost the change of the tidal wave that is eating up the shoreline“, you bet it must be true 🙂


Umm… Anil, would you mind re-read the report from the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia again? ” … that reclamation works had brought about significant geological changes that in turn may have led to alterations in tidal patterns in the Penang Channel and the surrounding seas. ” See the conditional word “MAY” ? Which means, it’s an assumption !! One simply can’t attribute the beach erosion to one specific cause — and in this case, the land reclamation — base on the an assumption. Unless that National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia has a definite scientific proof to indicate… Read more »


Talk to Najib instead! …

Ong Eu Soon

I was told by a holy man, who claimed that he can communicate with the dead, that one of the building along Lebuhraya Thean Teik is inhibit with a battalion of ghosts. A resident, who witnessed a red cloth lady ghost, ask a Chinese medium to do a ghost blasting exercise. The Chinese medium end up running away complaining of too many of the good brothers at the site. You may view this as superstitious, but the holy man told me that the building is on the edge of collapse due to potential landslide. He explained that the building is… Read more »


There were some trees alongside the road, and they cut all of them down, except one. That one, the one with a hole in the trunk, they dare not cut it down. So they got a sinseh or someone who know those things to set a fire inside that hole. As the fire was burning, I happened to drive by. Believe it or not, I saw a figure dancing in the fire inside that hole in that tree trunk. After the fire, they cut down the tree. And in the spot where that tree used to be, they set up… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Exactly a year back, I wrote a piece of article,, condemning LGE of giving unequivocal support to KTK’s flood mitigation project which choose to drastically alter the nature hydro flow by widening and deepening rivers and sea channels at a colossal price. A move that devoid of consideration on coastal erosion and change of hydro flow. LGE want to make Penang an International City, but he refuse to look into low impact development because he just has no ideas what is a low impact development. He end up with a drastic impact development that resulted in serious beach erosion, potential… Read more »


The flood migitation project is designed by who? Maybe a RM2 company received the design package and others cry over the sour grapes or completely done by JPS themselves? Now we know who is the half past six designers…

Ong Eu Soon

Defeat BN at all cost and ignore the wrong committed by LGE? That is the dilemma of Pakatan supporters. Egg or chicken which come first? … Since 308GE, we no longer tolerate and able to see the problem in it’s rightful context. We choose to be blind and expect change to come. That is a dream that will remain as a dream.

Ong Eu Soon

If LGE can’t recognise that the 60m setback is an important tool for sustainable coastal management and failed to commit to conserving the setback zone. I can tell you this. He will not protect our foreshore land. He has no solution to our coastal erosion problem. All his mangroves swamp planting project will end up as just a show to shut up critics who have no technical knowledge to refute him. If LGE is still committed to his man against nature flood mitigation project, with more widening and deepening of sea channel, more coastal erosion is expected. If LGE is… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

One of the craziest thing the state government has suggested is to plant mangroves for coastal protection. When ask to observe the 60m setback of open coast, the state government has shown the lack of political will and wisdom. Now with mangroves swamp, the state government need to observe 100m buffer zone plus 500m setback. 60m setback the state government can’t observe now it want to observe 500m setback? You seriously think LGE has the political will and wisdom to do it? All are just wishful talk without any meaning! The open coastal’s setback has been reduced from 200m to… Read more »


Ong as a professional Engineer, has no engineering solution too except talking politics will completely solve such problem. Try to do another Nibong Tebal MP act – talking tough.


As I said, other than personal attack and character assassination, what else do you contribute in this thread?

Ong Eu Soon

The dragon boat tragedy which claimed the lives of eight people is partly due to this change of hydro flow. The state government is the main culprit of change of hhydro flow by allowing discriminate channel deepening and sea reclamation work. Now it want to find solution to reverse the hydro flow. Where to find the money to do the work? What kind of technical ability the state government has? Build first lah won’t die! Anil, George, Andrew and me are just complaining too much! Now see what is happening! The state government is tempting nature with rapid and unplanned… Read more »


Ong as a profession engineer has no solution except mumble and mumble. As a result engineers do not command the respect of the society. What a shame in bring down the good name of engineers who erdicate diseases by bring drinkable aand electricity right to their homes. Ong expect whole of east Penang and Province Wellesly should be still living on tree tops. He foget that any devlopement works along the mainland up north or down south can affect Penang coastline.


Other than personal attack against Ong Eu Soon, what else this KingKong is able to do?


You are point your four fingers at yourself.

Ong Eu Soon

Part of the problem of the shoreline erosion is due to the deepening of sg pinang and the island’s western channel to allow the flood mitigation too work. Without realising how this man make hydro flow affect the land erosion, LGE like his ex-counter part, KTK, celebrated the success of the so called flash flood mitigation project. Now it is pay back time! Time when you realise how the flood mitigation project affected the shoreline you has no solution to reverse back the situation. So open your eyes widely and see how the beautiful beaches eroded one by one. Go… Read more »


How can you be so cruel to the residents in flood prone area? You think about yourself only. When people move away from low lying areas to hillslope you complain. Low area cannot, hillside also cannot as cutting hills endanger other people’s homes. Bright spark, where do you expect them to live? In the tree tops? Both ways also wrong for you and you are perfect and never be wrong.

Ong Eu Soon

The state government in it’s zeal to develop Penang allows developers to encroach into foreshore land. Without observing the 60m setback from foreshore line, the developers are allow to reclaim land from the sea and build as close as possible to the sea denying public access to foreshore land and protection against nature disaster. LGE is awaiting for disaster to happen. The PHH project is one of the bad example where development take place without observing to the rules set by the authorities. Why we voted for the opposition? To continue what KTK left behind? To compete to see which… Read more »


If you want to speak, who is stopping you/ Likewise if the hoteller wants to be closer to the sea, who is stopping him. But now the sea wants to be closer to the hoteller, you and the hoteller complains AH Gee and AH JOE.


Wait ! Just before anyone start pointing fingers at the land reclamation — Where is the SCIENTIFIC PROOF that the erosion is caused by “Changing tidal waves caused by land reclamation” ? Tidal pattern could changed. But is it caused by the land reclamation? How much effect does land reclamation has in the “changing tidal waves”? Is the effect great enough to cause the beach erosion? Could the beach erosion happened anyway, with or without the land reclamation, due to climate changes — ie El Nino and Al Nina ? I am NOT for land reclamation, but I am stickler… Read more »