Penang CM YAB Chow Kon Yeow along with YB Jagdeep and other VIPs at the ground breaking ceremony at Fort Cornwallis

Restoration work of the Western and Southern moat (a deep wide ditch surrounding a castle, fort, or town, typically filled with water and intended as a defence against attack) at Fort Cornwallis Georgetown UNESCO World Heritage Site was launched today.

Present at the ground breaking ceremony was Penang Chief Minister YAB Chow Kon Yeow along with YB Lim Hui Ying, Member of Parliament for Tanjong and Deputy Minister of Education, State Exco for Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning YB Jagdeep Singh Deo, State Exco for Tourism and Creative Economy YB Yeoh Soon Hin.

Others present were Penang Island City Council Mayor Dato A. Rajendran, Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) general manager Datin S Barathi, Think City managing director Hamdan Abdul Masjid, George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC) advisor, Francesco Siravo among others.

The RM15.3 million project is expected to be completed in 20 months. The project is also one of the main components in the North Seafront Masterplan developed by the GTCDC.

“From the 14 projects at a cost of RM140 million planned, 10 have been completed with the cooperation of several agencies and government departments.

“The funds have been contributed by the Penang State Government, Think City and Yayasan Hasanah. I also wish to thank the various agencies involved in the renovation and rebuilding of Fort Cornwallis,” said Chow.

Meanwhile, Jagdeep emphasised that the state government is committed to maintain and improve its UNESCO World Heritage Site status and work is always being carried out to this effect. I also would like to make a small request for a gurdwara to be reinstated at the Fort since the early soldiers at the fort were Sikhs,” added Jagdeep.

Earlier renovations have completed the store rooms, flooring, arches, ramp and other structures at the iconic Fort Cornwallis.

Buried for more than 100 years, the moat that used to circle Penang’s largest monument is to be reinstated.

Penang CM YAB Chow Kon Yeow delivering his speech

Meanwhile, the original moat varied in width between nine and 20 metres and surrounded the entire perimeter of the fort. It was built in its present form in 1804 by the East India Company to respond to possible enemy threats during the Napoleonic Wars, a threat that never materialised.

The moat was eventually filled in 1921, in part because of public health concerns following an outbreak of malaria, but mainly to facilitate the then planned demolition of the fort.

Not long after the moat was filled, periodic floods were reported in the Esplanade, indicating that the former moat had acted as a reserve catchment area that prevented the flooding of the Padang and the low-lying interior court of Fort Cornwallis.

Fort Cornwallis is a Category 1 listed national heritage site protected by the Malaysian National Heritage Act of 2005.

YB Jagdeep having a word with Francesco