The other side of Komtar

KOMTAR or Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak in Georgetown, Penang is the icon of Penang as it is the tallest building on the island. The government offices are housed in Komtar, including the Chief Minister’s office.

However, underneath the gleaming tower, lies a dirty and smelly canal. The Prangin canal has been known as the infamous black river for decades. To make the scene even more depressing, are rows of vacant shophouses.

What was once a busy city-centre is now a ghost town in a corner of Georgetown. Ruins, dilapidated buildings, rusty structures, bushes, huge trees creeping up on the neglected buildings, are an eyesore.

Citizen journalist Chan Lilian asked the Adun for Komtar, Ng Wei Aik about the plans the state government has for this area.

Ng said this is the phase five of the Komtar project which began in 1972. He said the state government plans to complete it as soon as possible. First, they must clear the tenants who still haven’t moved out by June 2010. There are plans to make this into an urban park but this is just in the early stages of planning.

They need to find a holistic way to ensure a cleaner Prangin Canal. NGOs, private companies and nature lovers have expressed their interest to turn Prangin Canal into a cleaner waterway.

In May 2010, the state government is planning to organise a state wide cleaning program.

Video by Chan Lilian, Citizen Journalist