GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government must come clean on its plans for all components of the reclaimed Gurney Drive.
Gerakan national vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said the people of Penang had yet to receive a satisfactory response on what the state government planned to do on the land that was reclaimed by property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd and ceded to the state.
“Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow must respond with no further delays on whether portions of the reclaimed Gurney Drive will be sold to private parties or given away in land swap deals for more ‘white elephant’, ‘vanity’ and unnecessary projects in Penang,” Baljit said in a statement.
“Please come clean with full disclosure of plans for Gurney Drive instead of simply having state officials give unrealistic deadlines for a supposed public park on a small portion (16ha) of the 53ha of reclaimed land.”
The original Gurney Drive or Persiaran Gurney was a public esplanade and now a small portion of its reclaimed land has been reportedly allocated for public use.
“The people of Penang want answers on what other plans are in store by the state government and whether there will be even more destruction to the environment,” Baljit said.
The Covid-19 pandemic, he added, had forced many quarters to put the brakes on grandiose plans.
“We really have no inkling of what is being planned on all of the reclaimed land, and therefore (we are) in no position to call for any review.”
Reclamation work along the Gurney Drive foreshore started in 2016, with reclamation of 53ha completed in September 2019.
The reclamation work was reported to be carried out in accordance with a concession agreement signed between the Penang government and Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn Bhd (TPD), a subsidiary of Eastern & Oriental Bhd.
Under the agreement, TPD would reclaim the land at its own cost and hand over 53ha along the Gurney foreshore to the state government by December this year.
“The Penang government should stop hoodwinking the public by talking only about the so-called ‘Gurney Wharf’ component, which is claimed to include a children’s playground, skate park, viewing deck and hawker kiosks, but we do not know anything beyond that,” said Baljit.
“The actual cost of Gurney Wharf (construction) and its related components should be revealed and whether ratepayers will be saddled with any part of the financing.
“The DAP-led state government should be reminded of its CAT (competency, accountability and transparency) mantra and come clean once and for all on the future of Gurney Drive.”