19 burial plots to be affected in Penang bypass road project

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government says 19 burial plots at a cemetery here will be affected as part of a bypass road project, with eight bodies over 100 years old to be exhumed and relocated.

The Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement that the 11 other plots at the United Hokkien Cemeteries (UHC) in Batu Lanchang Lane would remain, with a special access path to be built for family members.

“Our observations have found that there were burial plots without a clear description of who the deceased was on the headstones.

“Hence, the Penang government will put up a notice on the lookout for the next of kin, especially during the Cheng Beng period,” it said referring to the Chinese “All Souls Day” on April 4 next year.

It said UHC could not contact the affected family members as it had no records of the burial plots in question.

It said it had put up a notice in Chinese dailies on Dec 23, asking them to contact the state government.

The Penang government is building a RM851 million, 5.7km bypass road from Bandar Baru Air Itam to the coastal expressway on the east side of the island. It is part of the undersea tunnel and three roads project.

Road builders Construction Zenith Consortium Sdn Bhd began work on Nov 2. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

Penang Gerakan chief Oh Tong Keong recently said the state government had pledged not to touch any burial land in the course of its projects.