PORR Project Updates - Cemetery ‘should not be disturbed’

A conservation consultant is of the view that the proposed RM1.1bil Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) passing through the Batu Gantung Hokkien cemetery may ruin the feng shui of the area.

Tan Yeow Wooi said there was always a reason for the fore-fathers to build a cemetery on the 105ha plot of land.

He said the Chinese always believed that the departed ones should rest in peace amidst beauty and serenity, and the current ground surely fitted the bill with its picturesque scenery.

“But should the PORR project proceed, it will have to cut through the century-old ceme-tery. And with a huge volume of vehicles plying the route daily, such a project will threaten the peace and serenity,'' he said.

Tan was presenting his views on ‘Batu Gantung Hokkien ceme-tery’ during a folklore and cultural performance held in conjunction with Qing Ming (Chinese All Souls Day) at the pavilion of the cemetery.

The 122-year-old cemetery, built with a fund of RM18,575 that included the purchase of land then, is the third Hokkien cemetery in the state after Batu Lancang and Pulau Tikus.

Tan added that if the PORR project were to start, some of the graves might have to be exhumed for re-burial.

“And mind you, Chinese are very pantang (a taboo for the Chinese) to exhume the body of their ancestors.

“Once buried, they feel their ancestors should be laid to rest in peace. The remains should not be disturbed,” he said.

He added that from the environmental point of view, such a project would also involve slope and tree cutting that caused environmental degradation.

The 17km PORR will pass through Bandar Baru Air Itam, Kampung Melayu, Batu Gantung, the Penang Municipal Park, Gottlieb Road, Gurney Drive, Jalan Pangkor, Tanjung Tokong and Glugor.

It will have eight interchanges and four toll plazas. Its purpose is to disperse heavy traffic from Jalan Air Itam, Jalan Tanjung Tokong and Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and alleviate the congestion in the town area. - By The Star

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