Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pulau Jerejak as a heritage site?

This island on the east side of Penang is the longest island around the area. It is shaped like a tear drop and is only about one nautical mile from the east beach of Penang near Queensbay. It got its name from a convicts' jail and a leper colony which were housed there (at different locations).

Jerejak literally means "iron grille".

Despite its not so glorious past, you should be thankful that after the last convict and leper being shipped out, the island was left as it was for many years. Tropical jungle and wild animals, especially sea eagles and birds flourish.

Now, however, it is sad to see that even from Penang, one can see that the northern hill slope of the island is being denuded. I heard that they are building a water reservoir at the peak.

Why is this necessary? It is pretty near to Penang itself. Wouldn't across-the-channel piping be sufficient enough to supply the island with water? What kind of asylum this time that the authorities are planning to build?

I feel really disappointed. After all, having lived here almost my life, the island has been very special. it is big, solid and beautiful. Old pre-war buildings left behind sadly were being looted for precious scrap metals. Erosion caused by the construction of the new water reservoir results in untold damage to the jungle and also marine life.

This island should be gazetted as a National Park as part of our heritage. If the people who are in charge think about the future, instead of their own pocket, we can hope that the fate of Pulau Jerejak will not fall victim again so that only selected few can have their golf courses or their marina there.

1 comment:

  1. The project started from previous government - hell to them. But our present government got no balls to stop it. Sad isn't it?