Seberang Prai, the less attractive half of Penang, is going to be the centre of development in the state in the coming years, while it explores its potential to become a new tourism and investment destination by 2018.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said mainland Penang was already undergoing rapid development but the state government would not neglect Sebrang Prai.
“It is only through development that Penang and Seberang Prai can generate more revenue. This is why the state will ensure that Seberang Prai will have infrastructure that is on a par with the island,” he said today at the swearing-in ceremony of 24 Seberang Prai municipal councillors in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam.
Lim said the state was eyeing Batu Kawan, site of the Second Penang Bridge. It is expected to be opened next month and linked to the island’s industrial zones in Bayan Lepas and Batu Maung.
MPSP president Maimunah Mohd Shariff said the council had taken its first step towards preserving the tangible heritage of Seberang Prai, including pre-war buildings like shophouses that are in a deplorable condition.
She said the council, together with George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), have embarked on an initiative to identify all heritage buildings in the Seberang Prai Utara district, which spans from Butterworth to Kepala Batas.
She said the GTWHI-funded initiative to conduct the heritage inventory, which required detailed documentation of the buildings and interviews with locals, began around April last year and would wrap up in another two to three months.
“The result of this heritage inventory is a heritage trial pamphlet like what we have for George Town. We are at the end stages of finalising the draft, which has to be endorsed by the council later.
Maimunah said there are also plans to conduct a similar inventory for each of the Seberang Prai Tengah and Seberang Prai Selatan districts.