Guan Eng upset with Prangin artefact findings?

 |Aug 16, 2016
Artefact findings at the former Prangin wholesale market site in George Town.
The 19th century artefact findings of colonial era at the abandoned Prangin wholesale market site in George Town.

Penang Gerakan claimed today that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng seemed to be unhappy with the historical findings at the former Prangin wholesale market site in George Town.

Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong said people were all happy and proud about the recent discovery of a century-old canal lock and building structure at the site, commonly referred as Sia Boey by Hokkien speaking Chinese.

He said the old canal lock not only strengthened the historical value of George Town’s World Heritage site, but it had also made George Town even more precious for the country’s geographical and historical studies.

The function of a canal lock is to facilitate the movement of boats in and out of the canal.

He said the significance of the canal lock and building structure was similar to that of Fort Cornwallis at Esplanade.

He said it could be the key to expand George Town’s World Heritage site and could be listed as a national heritage site.

He said it was that there was no canal lock structure similar to this in Malaysia or even South East Asia.

“But one person, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng seems unhappy with the discovery

“Why Guan Eng is so upset about the discovery.

“Is the discovery shameful for Penangites?

“Or is it a conflict of interest that affects the Penang government’s plan to make the place the transport hub with a light rail transit (LRT) and monorail interchange under the multi-billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)?” asked Oh today.

He said the artefact findings would necessity and importance to rejuvenate Sia Boey.

Thus, he wants the DAP-led state government to consider constructing modern light rail vehicle (LRV) instead of LRT as proposed by PTMP project delivery partner (PDP) SRS Consortium.

An aerial view of the old Prangin wholesale market site, or Sia Boey as referred by local Chinese, in George Town.
An aerial view of the old Prangin wholesale market site, or Sia Boey as referred by local Chinese, in George Town.

After the discovery of artefacts, he said the market site would not be feasible to build a transportation hub.

He said Gerakan would support the proposal by Penang Forum, a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to move the hub to Lebuh Macallum Street or other nearby suitable areas.

“Imagine seeing the weird view of monorail or LRT on erected rail passing by above the height of old houses,” said Oh, adding that the group of NGOs was correct to propose the transport hub to be moved to Jelutong landfill reclamation area, away from the George Town World Heritage’s site.

Instead of the high cost, high noise and high structure for LRT and monorail in George Town’s World Heritage site, he said the Penang government should learn from countries that use modern LRV which would be low cost, low noise and moves at the same level with the cars and buses.

Modern LRVs are fast and built on the ground, they do not require massive construction.

If the high-rise LRTs are faulty, its passengers will be trapped; compared to passengers of LRVs who can just walk off.

LRV is one of the most reliable public transports, not only because it is cheaper, but also safer.

Penang government should drop the idea to build a transportation hub at the old Prangin wholesale market site in George Town due to its historical significance.
Penang government should drop the idea to build a transportation hub at the old Prangin wholesale market site in George Town due to its historical significance.

Oh said not only NGOs and Barisan Nasional were opposing the plan to build the transport hub at the market site.

He said even DAP’s MP Ng Wei Aik and Komtar state assemblyman Teh Lai Heng had requested for the transport hub to be either moved to Lebuh Macallum or Jelutong landfill reclamation area.

“I hope these two DAP leaders will stand firm in opposing the transport hub at Sia Boey. They must not fail the people’s expectations and kow-tow to certain power.

“Presently, the immediate need is that the state government should form a team comprising of archaeologists, Penang Forum members, and government officials, to systematically protect the historical discovery, or even to make Sia Boey another heritage site and promote tourism,” said Oh … Read More

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.