Relocation issue already known

Seven tombs from Lot 1558 and 12 tombs from Lot 1559 at the United Hokkien Cemeteries in Ayer Itam, George Town, will be affected by the proposed 5.7km road bypass project.

THE relocation of several 100-year-old graves at United Hokkien Cemeteries in Penang to make way for the 5.7km road bypass project had been included in the EIA from the beginning.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state has nothing to hide on the matter.

“It looks like Gerakan didn’t find out about this when the EIA was displayed and they have taken a long time indeed to find out and highlight it now, ” he told reporters after flagging off 5,000 participants of the eighth edition of City Walk 2020 at Jalan Padang Kota Lama on New Year’s Day.

He was commenting on demands by Penang Gerakan for clarification on the relocation of graves to make way for a highway project, linking Ayer Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

This is one of the three paired roads to be built as part of a traffic dispersal system for the future Penang Undersea Tunnel.

Chow had said that the project would affect seven tombs from Lot 1558 and another 12 tombs from Lot 1559 at the cemetery.

He said of the total 19 tombs, eight would be relocated while the other 11 would remain beneath the elevated stretches of the highway.

It was reported that the state had also met with officials of the United Hokkien Cemeteries Penang on May 10, July 23 and Oct 18 to discuss the affected tombs.

The United Hokkien Cemeteries Penang itself had said that it had no right to represent the descendants of the affected tombs in making the required decision.

The state, through the Penang Land and Mines Office, had informed the United Hokkien Cemeteries about the affected tombs and the association then published public notices on Dec 23 for the descendants to exhume the remains of their ancestors if they so wish.

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