Group protests over LRT line taking over one-third of mosque cemetery

An activist speaking at the protest at Komtar today against the proposed LRT alignment near a mosque in Bayan Lepas.

GEORGE TOWN: Some 100 people took to the concourse of Komtar today to protest a proposed light rail transit (LRT) which will pass in front of a Bayan Lepas mosque and encroach into a burial ground.

Masjid Sungai Nibong Besar treasurer Mohd Noor Kamaruddin said they were earlier told by the Penang government that the LRT line will go behind the mosque.

Noor said the mosque committee was alarmed when red markers started to appear in the front of the mosque along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.

The committee was later informed by a construction company that the LRT would cross in front of the mosque and cut across the cemetery.

Noor said the new alignment would take up one-third of the burial ground.

He said the mosque committee was not against any development project but anything that affected burial grounds was unacceptable.

“There are over 600 bodies buried there. We don’t want them to be disturbed,” he said.

Noor said the 100-year-old mosque was demolished last month by the Public Works Department for it to be rebuilt.

He said the RM8 million reconstruction work was supposed to begin last month to be completed by 2021 but work has yet to take place.

The protest ended at 3pm, with a memorandum sent to Deputy Chief Minister I Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is also exco in charge of Islamic affairs. His aide was present to receive the documents.

Earlier today, chief  minister Chow Kon Yeow said the LRT alignment was not final and still being studied by all quarters. He said the government would respect the views of the Penang Fatwa Committee before making any decision on the alignment.

The proposed 30km Bayan Lepas LRT line will have 27 stations, running from Komtar, which is the state government’s seat, to the three reclaimed islands planned in the south.

The line is expected to serve the industrial area in Bayan Lepas as well as passengers from the Penang International Airport.

It will cross residential townships and employment hubs in Jelutong, Gelugor, Batu Uban, Bayan Baru, Sg Tiram and Batu Maung.

The project has yet to kick off as it relies on a financing model involving the sale of land from the three islands.

The reclamation project itself is awaiting approval from environmental regulators.