Penang Gerakan tells state govt to release list of places affected by highway project

Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong (second left) said the state must come clean on the sites affected by the highway project. ― Picture by Opalyn Mok
Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong (second left) said the state must come clean on the sites affected by the highway project. ― Picture by Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 24 — Penang Gerakan today demanded that the state government release a full list of places, including schools, cemeteries and houses, directly affected by the construction of a highway linking Thean Teik Expressway to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong referred to a notice by United Hokkien Cemeteries Penang, published in Chinese newspapers recently on the relocation of 10 graves from the cemetery along Lorong Batu Lanchang to make way for the highway.

“The state government clearly said the project will not affect the cemetery but now suddenly,  graves will be dug up and relocated,” he said.

Oh said the notice, published in Chinese newspapers, only gave the relatives a month until January 23 to relocate the graves otherwise the graves will be dug out and relocated elsewhere.

He said this is insufficient time for the relatives to find alternatives especially when some of them may not be still living in Penang.

“Some of them may be living in other states and did not see the notices or some may even be living overseas,” he said.

Oh said this case alone showed that the state government was hiding the actual impact of the highway on the people.

“We want the state government to come clean and explain what other places and sites will be affected? Now it’s 10 graves, next time, we never know, it could involve people’s homes and schools,” he said.

He said the graves of ancestors for the Chinese were usually chosen based on feng shui and forcibly relocating the 10 graves will affect the descendants and families.

According to the notice published yesterday, the graves will be relocated to make way for the RM851 million highway.

The highway is package two of the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel and three highway projects.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held recently and the highway was supposed to stretch 5.7km from Ayer Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway near the Marine Department.

The highway will consist of 70 per cent of elevated section or flyover while the remaining highway will be at-grade level.

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