White elephant bridge to island is now an angler’s haven

ChrisQWK@thestar.com.my Photos by G.C TAN | Jun 5, 2012

Taking on new life
White elephant bridge to island is now an angler’s haven

A 2KM-LONG bridge in Kedah linking Yan to the uninhabited Pulau Bunting became a white elephant after a project to build a power plant on the tiny island failed to take off.

However, the bridge which was completed eight years ago has now become a popular attraction for holidaymakers and anglers.

A check showed that locals have set up stalls selling snacks and drinks. Some are also renting out motorcycles at RM6 for tourists to enjoy a ride on the bridge which is closed to cars.

Anglers were also spotted making a beeline to the bridge to catch fish such as semilang, gelama, grouper and snappers.

Some villagers claimed that they have seen dolphins in the clear waters.

State Industry and Investment, Agriculture and Agro-Based Committee chairman Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the bridge was built when the then state government proposed a petroleum industry project in Yan.

He said the bridge was built by the Public Works Department in 2004.

A former state executive councillor, who declined to be named, said the Federal Government had wanted a company to build a independent power plant on the island.

“The JKR awarded the bridge project to Gamuda Bhd,” he said.

He said the power plant project was shelved after the bridge was constructed.

“We had planned to develop the island after the 2008 general election. Unfortu-nately, we lost in the elections,” he said.

Contractor Shabuddin Hassan, 39, from Kampung Sungai Rotan, said there was a cemetery on the island.

“Some people especialy fishermen lived on the island some 100 years ago. Now the place in uninhabited,” he said.

Stall operator Nala Norman 41, from Sungai Kampung Kering, said hundreds of visitors thronged the bridge daily and the crowd was bigger during school holidays.

“My business is good especially in the evenings,” he said.

Universiti Teknologi Petronas student Syazwan Saari, 23, who lives in Taman Orkid in Sungai Petani said he fished there daily from 11am till 4pm during his university break.

“I enjoy fishing because you can catch different types of fish at different locations on the bridge,” he said, adding he had also seen dolphins.

Businessman Tan Kok Leong, a keen angler from Gurun, said it was his first trip to the bridge.

“I have heard about the bridge for a long time and I finally made it. I managed to catch two fish within an hour.

“The scenery around the bridge is beau-tiful and the water is clear. The island is also a good place for family picnics,” he said.