Farewell to the Gurney Drive we knew and loved

Photograph taken by a concerned Penangite on 16 June 2016

Look at the massive sedimentation along the entire stretch of Gurney Drive today.

This is the sad state of Gurney Drive today as land reclamation work is in progress for a massive property development project on the western end (in front of Gurney Plaza).

Photo taken by another concerned Penangite on 16 June 2016.
Photo taken by another concerned Penangite on 16 June 2016.

Don’t be fooled by the open green spaces in front of Gurney Plaza in the artist’s impression of the Gurney Wharf project below:

government reserve near Gurney Drive roundabout March 2016

The massive property development on the western end will then be connected via an eight-lane highway (blocked from view in the above graphic by the row of trees!) to the proposed RM3.7bn tunnel at the eastern end of Gurney Drive, like so:

Gurney Wharf four zones

What has happened to our enchanting Gurney Drive? Back then, we didn’t need no fancy Gurney Wharf project to enjoy a beachfront in George Town. This is something that newcomers to Penang and the younger generation don’t know.

Gurney Drive 1930s

But this beachfront was lost when sedimentation began eating into the Gurney Drive coastline.

What was the effect of the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 1 land reclamation on Gurney Drive? Was there even any monitoring to assess the impact on the nearby coastline? Now what is the impact of the latest land reclamation at STP2 and Gurney Drive going to be? Who will bear the cost of any further sedimentation and dredging that may be required?

fishing off gurney drive

The state Gurney Drive is in today is a far cry from even a year ago:

Today, while land reclamation work is being carried out, the entire stretch along the sea front is fenced up like a prison to prevent access to the beach from the promenade. Say goodbye to the Gurney Drive we knew.

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
ong eu soon

Penangites can expect that [much] the reclaimed lands will be used to build luxurious homes. But homes for whom? The reality is that these luxurious homes benefit rich investors and developers far more than ordinary Penangites, who are seeing their city sold off chunk by chunk to foreigners. These luxurious homes will be sold start at RM1,000,000, and will be marketed in foreign countries before they went on sale in Penang. That price is twenty times the average income of Penangites. These luxurious homes have nothing to do with housing supply, let alone low-cost supply. There is [little] affordable housing… Read more »

David Loman

This year’s George Town Heritage Celebrations has the theme of ‘Traditional Sports and Games’ aka ‘Mai Main’ or in common words, ‘Let’s Play!’. It is an invitation to experience and appreciate the sports and games from the past.

This is a good opportunity for Anil’s readers to relive their nolstagic childhood (and forget their frustration on Gurney Drive) to re-experience a wide range of traditional sports and games: from high intensity activities such as martial arts, pandu atta and baling selipar, to those which are more laid-back like traditional board games, batu tujuh and pallangguli.

Adam Yeoh

it’s been in a sorry state. Time for revival which joke like @tankengliang and gang can hardly do right.


Even the Aussies with huge land mass are intervening to control foreign buyers of properties affecting local buyers. Australia taxes foreign home buyers http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2016/06/20/australia-taxes-foreign-home-buyers/ SYDNEY: Sydney is imposing new taxes on foreigners buying homes as concerns grow that a flood of mostly Chinese investors is crowding out locals and killing the “Great Australian Dream” of owning property. Ownership rates across the country are among the highest in developed nations, with having your own house long viewed as a key aspect of Australian identity. But as prices rise to record levels – Sydney is ranked only second to Hong Kong as… Read more »


Future of Gurney Drive a concern. Some say the charm of Gurney is forever gone.

However, if we cherish the past we can gather the past photos depicting the gems of Gurney Drives so that younger generations know the the Gurney Drive not Gurney Plaza.

Like those who mesmerized by the beauty of Nora Miao, the innocent and sweet images of her lives on. dedicated this to kopi kau kau folks :


Penangites may one day say farewell to trishaws. 10 things about: Trishaw owner and manager, Koay Being Hong https://sg.news.yahoo.com/10-things-trishaw-owner-manager-koay-beng-hong-003100595.html Excerpts: I’ve been doing this at least 25 years. I don’t even know how I got involved in this, I can’t remember. I used to be a contractor and one of the Chinese clan associations asked me to take over a fleet of trishaws and manage it. I was lucky at that time, Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen helped me and gave me a letter so I could approach hotels to book rides for my riders. Before that, it was really hard… Read more »


I will find out the truth from the trishaw men.

David Loman

Trishaw men must have advised their kids not to inherit the trade, but to keep up with time to become Uber or GrabCar drivers.


Anil, I share your concern about additional roads & high rise apartments but you have to be fair to Penang in general. You can’t have progress unless you reclaim more lands but with the proviso to create park lands as well.


Reclaim more lands for whom?
Developers’ pockets or local housing without the high-end frenzies?
Progress is more than just mortar & bricks of high end development.
There are other aspects of progress like education for all, skills development, R&D support, entrepreneurship, spiritual harmony, environmental care, political maturity & many more. To focus solely on developers’ fancies is – My God what to term it!
Pls go to the Scandinavian countries to see how they live.

James Saw

I agree with Anil Netto. Kaycee, Penangites have had enough of developments especially development that don’t benefit them at all. Everybody, please take a closer look at the prices of properties both landed and non-landed , all of them are ludicrously exorbitant. For the landed ones, if you don’t have a million ringgits( and that’s the minimum) then please forget about purchasing one of them; and for the apartments or condominiums you must prepare to fork out have a million of ringgits; moreover, it is tough to get bank loans nowadays. tell me Kaycee what good does such ”progress” bring… Read more »

Sia Boey Kungfu

Cocky Singaporeans, UR right bro.
They come here thinking they are tua te.
Buying up properties in bulk, retrofit them and sell or rent at heaven high prices. Same with Gurney Plaza, Queens Bay Mall.
I tell you, one day when the economy collapses, we can see these cocky Singaporeans beg at the goh ka ki …

Mark Saw

Looking forward to the new reclaimed area along Gurney Drive.

David Boey

Will this boost our hotel at corner club?

Jennifer Mourin

Wellness? For whom? What happens to the debris and fallout pollution – as the author correctly asks “Was there even any monitoring to assess the impact on the nearby coastline? Now what is the impact of the latest land reclamation at STP2 and Gurney Drive going to be? Who will bear the cost of any further sedimentation and dredging that may be required?” And why the hell have a tunnel to B’worth – when the traffic horrors along roads around Gurney are growing – and the 2nd bridge is an obvious white elephant? Progress – really? At what cost? As… Read more »

Lau Chee Keong

Why farewell? Take a good look at the latest upgrading proposal. It’s just marvelous. I strongly agree with you Jack. Non progressive, selfish and still living in a ‘ coconut shell’.


8-lane highway for cats to run loose (on what it fancies & does)?
At least ostrich is more lovable!

gk ong

8-lane will be well liked for Fast and Furious action like F1 in Monaco? Night racing for Mat Rempit? Afterall kapcai racing is heavily promoted by RTM on TV1, and not football anymore as we do not get Euro 2016 or Copa America live on TV1.

Pay to watch football on Astro – Ananda ‘Cash Is King’ Krishnan is laughing to the bank.

David Loman

No more free to air live European or South American football action on TV.
Astro is telling us ‘No Money, No Football!’.

james k

It would be interesting to study the effects of STP1 reclamation and compare it to other reclamation done in Penang – Karpal Singh Drive, The Light Waterfront, Bayan Mutiara etc. are all reclaimed land but yet did not cause sedimentation like STP1- so how did STP1 cause this problem? Poor technique? Unethical developer? Tsunami? I’m afraid we will not know for sure.

On the other hand one of the aims of STP2 is to solve this problem by reclaiming land in that area and dredging the new coast- hopefully it will be done properly this time.


The certain demise of charming Gurney Drive is liken to a plastic change of taste (gastronomical) from the delightful Penang Koay Kow fried + steamed in tomato sauce & herbal mushroom to a Cold Dish Sushi cuisine that is uncooked & unpalatable (but for the sake of pretentious palate for social status lifestyle dining of foreign Japano cold dish). What is warm & delightful to the local souls is arbitrarily traded (by “Political Traders” – to borrow the branding from rajraman666) for something slippery & plastic & politically motivated. So much for the CAT tirades of blames & counters (flip-flopping… Read more »

David Loman

Penang is still a very attractive place to many.
Even BN Kedah is now holding its Exco meeting in Penang!

Khoo Soo Hay

When the sand bank off fishing village, Tanjong Tokong was claimed and converted to Straits Quay development, it changed the seascape from Gurney Drive down to the Penang Club sea front. It brought a lot of white sand down and now the sea front of Penang Club, instead of having rocks, is now covered with sand, forming a beach where during low tide you can walk. It is also good for those who want to fish with line and tackle, as no rocks will get your fishing hooks stuck when you reel your line in. Surprisingly no sand got collected… Read more »

Peter Lim-Pasqual

Development bro

Lim Siang Yee

Time have changed. Even Communist China now also have Disneyland in Shanghai.


It seems the contractor for the project China Communications Construction Company Ltd promises to complete the reclamation work in 18 months time which is very impressive. Maybe we can see a clearer picture and judge it then.
Heard that if they send in their giant machines like 天鲸号 or 天麒号 to do the work, seven months is enough ! Amazing !?


Anil, do read the trishaw article I submitted above & see why tourists are shunning away from Chew Jetty for all the ‘frenzied development’. No more AUTHENTIC Heritage mah. I will not be surprised if Ipoh, Perak will overtake us in terms of AUTHENTIC Heritage Tourism. That trishaw manager is contemplating moving his fleet of trishaws to Ipoh. So much for the slippery Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzy of an egoistic CAT Deity which knows nothing about real AUTHENTIC Heritage Tourism.

Jack Chee

Some ppl just cannot accept progress and development for the future. Better stay in kampung.

Tan PS

Reminds me of the “Balik TongShan”


Anil, the young definitely wants to further develop penang. Singapore is a success recipe, if we follow them we wont be wrong,
didnt lee kuan yew said, “Penang is 20 years behind time.”

What is wrong if we make penang a financial hub ???

I see that those in the age of mid life they want both worlds, that is impossible !!!


The problem is when you are hungry for quickie money, who will twist arms? This is exactly the problem with corporate-licking politicians called Political Traders with Lots of Saliva. If one wants to compare with LKYew, it is the exact opposite. LKYew was visionary & had the courage to do things with conviction. He sold his vision early on to Singaporeans despite all odds & like a general, could gather different tribes (here I mean races) to march the same road of destiny. And he was not egoistic for self-aggrandisement, neither was he a flip-flop politician. He said what was… Read more »


Anil, you must not look at Singapore thru the eyes of a tourist. To adopt their urban planning is only half measures, you must adopt their draconian measures as well, otherwise it won’t work. Apart from PAP, no politicians in the world dare to adopt these measures because it would be politically suicidal. You are not a politician and I don’t think you even dare to suggest these because it will hurt your pockets. Things like ERP, COE, non-free 24/7 parking even at HDB flats……..and whatnot. In HK, an average person can only afford a 300-500 sqft flat with NO… Read more »


Gurney Drive changed forever the day they stopped having the pasar malam there. 🙂

Stanley Ting

So beautiful and progressing well.

Mike Geh

A Very Unfair & ShortSighted View… I was moved by the Gurney Whaf made me wanting to Move into Gurney Area to Await this Awesome Robust Life Style … Different People Got Different Lifestyles laaaa


With undeclared income taxes, acting poor, illicit underground activities, there are more than 1% who can afford newest lifestyle.

How to compare yesteryear and today? My school time I watched Bruce Lee with Nora Miao only RM15. Recently I paid RM14 yo watch IpMan 3 fighting with Mike Tyson, almost 10 times increase.

So a conservative figure I would say 10-15% Ornamented can afford new Gurney homes, with island population ~6K folks. Of course, many of us can see no touch.

Best to migrate to mainland…..?????


Correction: I watched The Big Boss circle seat RM1.50 in I think 1971 or 1972, and paid RM14 to watch IpMan3 in 2015. Time has changed. Duly Razak sekarang Najib. Sure got big difference.

Then Nora Miao a beauty, now she had past her prime. Vintage Gurney is like Nora, while modern Gurney equivalent to which new artist i leave it to Penang-lang to cast his sacred vote (better not Michelle Yeoh although she once owned a she tower block at Gurney Drive)

gk ong

Michelle Yeoh is said to have bidded RM5 million for the F1 car plate, for her Ferrari hubby?


One phrase for your so-moved (to croc tears?) vision of Gurney Drive No More: COAST-MUD-POLITAN GURNEY turns GURNEY For CAT TUNNEL.
Well this is what we can call a short-sighted vision of an egoistic leader for a sea tunnel that can easily flip-flop (for political machiavellism) for a 3rd bridge!
Never mind that a certain property guru will vouch on full moon (tomorrow?) with unending love for this Gurney Wharf from one end of Love Lane to the other.

Johan Khun Pana

The beach photo is showing hide tide or during low tide?

Davis Tan

Farewell? Not so soon.

David Loman

While Anil is stirring up emotions with such article, here is a piece of good news to all coffee drinkers of this blog, cheers kau kau:

An influential panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded Wednesday (June 15) that regularly drinking coffee could protect against at least two types of cancer, a decision that followed decades of research pointing to the beverage’s many health benefits. The panel also said there was a lack of evidence that it might cause other types of cancer.


Anil is emotional b’cos he is absolutely human.
Not like a certain cat deity with a big ego but no human sense nor empathy for Penangites.