Singapore has always been ‘growing’, literally. Reclamation through the use of sand, huge quantities of them from two of its neighbouring nations. According to this news article in Straits Times, it will now be growing by using less sand! Reclamation will now use less sand and yet could be done faster. This will help to create an extension of Pulau Tekong and the size that the Housing Development Board (HDB) is looking at is 810 hectares (2,001 acre). As a comparison, Seri Tanjung Pinang 2 (STP2) by Eastern & Oriental in Penang is 740 acres. Looking at all the advantages as below, perhaps it’s time every reclamation project should do the same? Well, for Malaysia’s case, maybe not that critical as sand is much more easily available. I do not think Penang would need to buy land from Thailand for this purpose.
Let’s look at it briefly. This is a method used by the Dutch (Holland). It is called the polder development method. Instead of just sand, the new method involves the development of a polder, which is a low-lying tract of land that has been reclaimed from the sea. A wall or dike is constructed to prevent seawater from entering the polder, while water levels within the polder are controlled by a network of drains and pumps. By doing it this way, the The Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB said that it has two distinct advantages; lesser amount of sand and lower upfront construction costs. Singapore said that safety wise, it will be depending on the Netherlands’ experience as they have the highest standards of dike safety in the world. Images from Straits Times help to explain better, graphically.
Many Malaysians I know would always say that for Malaysia, it’s best to use the more traditional reclamation methods. Trying to maintain a dike’s safety is much harder to do! To be honest, as long as we (Malaysia) have a choice, I think the usual method may be better because whether maintenance is of highest standards or not, the risks are always there. As for Singapore, I would still love for them to use this method. We can then learn and perhaps for Penang or even Langkawi, this may just be a method to be used when the costs are really much lower. Happy following.
written on 18 Nov 2016
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