Preserving living heritage of Tanjong


  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 08 May 2018

Chow (right) and Teh (left) visiting the Chowrasta market during their morning walkabout.

THE cityscape of Tanjong is very different during the day and night.

Located in the heart of George Town, Tanjong is busy in the morning with its congested roads and shops doing brisk businesses.

Well-known Penang street food could be found in many corners of the city such as the Cecil Street market, while coffee lovers could stop by Toh Soon Cafe, located at a backlane of Campbell Street, for its famous coffee and toast.

During holidays, visitors will make a beeline to the famous Penang Road chendol stall to grab the iced dessert, or a bowl of ice kacang.

A bird’s eye view of Tanjong constituency with Komtar in the middle. — Photos: Gary Chen/The Star
A bird’s eye view of Tanjong constituency with Komtar in the middle. — Photos: Gary Chen/The Star  

However, the place will turn into a sleepy town at night, leaving not many people except for some backpackers strolling around guest houses and hostels hunting for food and drink.

Many locals moved out to new townships as the rental of pre-war houses in Tanjong had increased following the repeal of the Rent Control Act 1966 in 2000.

Local and overseas investors saw strong business potential in the pre-war properties. They bought and renovated them for use as hotels and food and beverage outlets.

This development has contributed to Tanjong becoming the only constituency in Penang experiencing a decrease in the number of voters compared to the 13th General Election (GE13).

The number of voters for GE13 in Tanjong was 51,487 people, but the voting population shrank to 49,586 people, based on the gazetted 2017 electoral roll, making it the smallest Parliamentary constituency for GE14.

Patrons enjoying chendol at Penang Road.
Patrons enjoying chendol at Penang Road.

Chinese voters make up 92.12% of the voters in Pengkalan Kota state seat. Low-cost and low medium-cost flats have been built at the reclaimed land of Gat Lebuh Macallum during former Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu’s era.

Among the major issues in Tanjong are traffic congestions and cleanliness.

Gat Lebuh Macallum flats resident Kong Thee Thin said despite the numerous complaints, nothing effective has been done to clear the rubbish.

“Some of the rubbish are stored next to coffee shops, making the area not conducive for healthy living. As the rubbish bins are not cleaned often, the unpleasant smell affects our appetite.

“I hope the matter could be resolved by the next elected representative,” he said.

Barisan Nasional candidate for Pengkalan Kota Lim Swee Bok is also concerned about the fire hazards in the area.

(from right) Barisan’s Lim, Ng and Tan going on motorcycles to reach out to their voters at the Weld Quay reclamation area in Penang.
(from right) Barisan’s Lim, Ng and Tan going on motorcycles to reach out to their voters at the Weld Quay reclamation area in Penang.

A fire gutted his house in Gat Lebuh Macallum in Pengkalan Kota resulting in the death of his mother, wife and two children in November last year.

“There are more than 100 wooden houses in Pengkalan Kota, from the Weld Quay reclamation area to the clan jetties. The cluster houses in Pintasan Cecil are also vulnerable to fire hazards.

“I will organise more programmes to raise the awareness of the people about fire hazards,” he said.

Lim has also pledged to build a car park building in Gat Lebuh Macallum to resolve parking woes if he is elected.

Lim is locked in a five-cornered fight with Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s Chew Seng Tung, Pakatan’s Daniel Gooi Zi Sen, independent candidate S. Ragindran and Malaysian United Party’s Koay Teng Lye.

The recurrence of flash floods in Tanjong is also a constant headache for the residents.

Pakatan’s Chow Kon Yeow, who is contesting the Padang Kota state seat and Tanjong parliamentary seat, said the flash flood problems would be resolved after the completion of the S10 flood mitigation project in front of Prangin Mall.

He said the project is scheduled to be completed on Feb 1, 2019.

(From left) Malaysian United Party Komtar candidate Ong Chun Jiet and Pengkalan Kota candidate Koay Teng Lye meet and greet voters at Chowrasta market during the morning walkabout.
(From left) Malaysian United Party Komtar candidate Ong Chun Jiet and Pengkalan Kota candidate Koay Teng Lye meet and greet voters at Chowrasta market during the morning walkabout.  

“The flash flood problem, which is now common in Lebuh Carnarvon, Lebuh Chulia, Jalan Pintal Tali, Lebuh Cintra, Lebuh Kimberly, part of Jalan Transfer, Jalan Phee Choon, Lebuh Dickens and the surrounding areas would be resolved,” said Chow, who is contesting against Barisan’s Datuk Ng Siew Lai for the Tanjong parliamentary seat.

Chow is facing Barisan’s H’ng Khoon Leng and Malaysian United Party’s Goh Saik Wei in Padang Kota.

On the sales of pre-war houses to local and foreign businessmen, Barisan candidate for Komtar Tan Hing Teik said restrictions need to imposed by the state government to stop the situation from getting worse.

“We need to ensure that the pre-war houses in Komtar could be preserved and the living heritage and traditional trades will not become extinct,” he said.

His opponent Pakatan’s Teh Lai Heng, who is the incumbent assemblyman, said he has raised the issue of old houses in the area in the state assembly meetings.

“My debates had raised the concern of the state government and the house owners, who took measures to renovate and rejuvenate the unoccupied pre-war houses. The number of old houses in bad and dangerous conditions have been reduced from several hundred units to less than 100,” he said.

In Tanjong, Chinese make up the majority with 41,736 voters or 84.17%, followed by 4,735 (9.55%) Indian voters.

There are 2,922 Malay voters or 5.89%, while the others constitute 0.38% or 193 voters.

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