ALOR SETAR: Four pristine islands off the coast of Yan, Kedah, will be ringing up ringgit from tourism with the completion of a RM250mil road from Gurun to the coastline.
The road also leads to the little-known Pulau Bunting bridge.
The 18.2km road, which cuts through the vast tracts of padi fields in Yan, is accessible through Guar Chempedak, 5km from the Gurun toll plaza.
Kedah Deputy State Secretary Isahak Murat said the new four-lane road would give tourists and anglers easy access to Pulau Bunting and three more islands: Pulau Song Song, Pulau Telor and Pulau Bidan.
The four islands are situated between Penang and Langkawi, and feature clean sandy beaches surrounded by coral reefs and clear emerald waters.
“We get many local and foreign tourists on the islands, especially during the holiday season.
“Now it’s more convenient for them to come here,” said Isahak.
Deputy Works Minister Mohd Anuar Mohd Tahir, who visited the project site recently, said the road would provide better land connectivity for all vehicles heading to Pulau Bunting.
He added that the road was supposed to be completed in May last year, but there was a delay due to issues with land acquisition and the realigning of power cables in Gurun.
The project started in May, 2014 under the 10th Malaysia Plan, while the 2.3km Pulau Bunting bridge was built in 2004 by the private sector and has been closed to the public until now.
The thickly wooded and uninhabited Pulau Bunting is 2km long and 500m wide.
Pedestrians and motorcyclists are a common sight on the Pulau Bunting bridge.
Anglers enjoy catching fish such as sembilang, gelama, grouper and snappers off the island.
Marine biologist Datuk Prof Dr Aileen Tan welcomed the road connection, but hoped that a sound environmental management plan could be laid down for Pulau Bunting and the nearby islands such as Pulau Song Song.
“This area has vast coral beds with rare sea cucumbers. The connecting road will mean larger numbers of people frequenting the place.
“The state needs to protect the marine environment to ensure that it will continue to be a tourist attraction,” she said.