Modern day Pengerang
The Pengerang area today has seen massive
new development, the focal point being a new petroleum complex.
This in turn has created much upheaval in the area. The tranquil
old coastal road that one used to drive from Sungei Rengit to
Pengelih has mostly been destroyed, including the removal of many
of the rural costal villages along its former route.
I fear, it's with massive industrial development like this, that
one day might destroy the WW2 site well beyond what any British
denial scheme could have achieved.
In recent decades the WW2 battery itself
hasn't been completely forgotten and it is evident that a survey
team had recorded the various WW2 structures at Tg Pengelih. Evidence
of this survey can be seen by the various spray painted number
designations on each structure. I was able to find old newspaper
articles from 1992, reporting of plans to use part of the old
battery at Pengelih as a backdrop for a theme park attraction!
These tourism plans however did not go through as the land was
already gazetted as military training land, and where a few years
later the Navy would build a new training base there, the KD Pularek.
The scrapped theme park plan was unfortunate, as photos from the
early 90's showed some of the site had been nicely spruced up,
probably in anticipation of its development. Vegetation had been
cleared and the various roadside pillboxes given a new lick of
white paint, the area looked very smart indeed. However, I must
admit that I still struggle to properly grasp the concept of what
a theme park at a former coastal battery would have been like!
Today, the Pengelih site is very overgrown
and the structures weighed down by graffiti, some dated as old
as the 1970's. Scrap metal thieves have also played a big part
in helping to destroy what remains there. I am also concerned
of metal detector hobbyists who may have combed the land for relics
to take back home with them. Removal of such objects would undoubtedly
be erasing parts of Pengerang's integral history if not officially
logged and recorded.
It's a shame that yet again in Malaysia
another historically significant site has been left in limbo.
Hopefully one day what is left of the battery can be properly
restored and maintained for prosperity, like other WW2 batteries
at Batu Maung in Penang, or Fort Siloso in Singapore.