Water Diversion From Prangin Canal Essential Says Project Owner




The Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has said that water diversion was “essential” for its project to restore the Prangin Canal, and that the decision to do so had undergone proper approval procedures
This follows allegations from local NGO coalition Penang Forum about dirty water being diverted as a stopgap measure to clean the canal, which is over 200 years old
"As part of the enabling works for the Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project, the Prangin Canal was diverted to a new culvert, aligned parallel to the existing Prangin Canal," PDC and its project partner George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) said in a statement today
"The Prangin diversion was essential, having evaluated the historic significance of the canal, whilst taking into consideration the importance of the canal’s functionality and the proposal for the Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project," they added
They emphasised that plans for the Prangin Canal water diversion had been presented to and approved by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and a Technical Review Panel (TRP), despite being located beyond the designated Unesco World Heritage Site boundaries for George Town.It was also noted that the TRP committee includes the Penang Heritage Trust, which is also a member of the Penang Forum coalition
The statement was issued jointly by Mohd Bazid Abd Kahar and Ang Ming Chee, the respective general managers for PDC and GTWHI
Yesterday, Penang Forum posted a number of photos on Facebook showing the Prangin Canal and the drain containing diverted water, comparing the clear water in the former and murky liquid in the latter
It asked: "So how did they do it? By diversion.""Yes it looks pretty, but where does the flowing water in the Prangin Canal channel now go, and have steps been taken to clean it up before it is discharged into the sea?" the NGO asked
"It’s wonderful that things look pretty on the surface but surely everyone wants to see an improvement to the water quality
"There’s no improvement in just ‘hiding’ the dirty water."The remark prompted Pengkalan Kota DAP assemblyperson Daniel Gooi to label the NGO as being "anti-Penang".  Open agendaToday, PDC and GTWHI described social media posts circulated by "irresponsible individuals" as "misleading", saying instead that the project owner and partner had an open agenda
"Our agenda is to create a new Urban Archaeological Park for the people, so that our next generation can learn more about the natural, cultural, and environmental factors that make George Town a Unesco World Heritage Site," said Mohd Bazid and Ang
"We seek assistance from the public to help us by preventing and putting an end to the irresponsible circulation of false information that aims to deliberately obstruct the completion of this project," they added
The two agencies also said that the canal is not classified as a river, as it does not stem from a natural stream of water
The statement noted that "the Prangin Canal drains to the shorefront just south of Weld Quay where there is a pumping station that discharges the stormwater into the South Channel via the S10 outfall"
Launched on March 25 last year, the Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project aims to transform Sia Boey - the site where the Prangin Canal is located - into an area that facilitates the co-existence of development and heritage conservation
Led by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, a visit was conducted at the site last Saturday (Jul 27), with the press being told about the latest progress on the project to restore the Prangin Canal
Chow showed how the canal had been transformed into a clean and scenic canal teeming with fishes. -Mkini

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