NOWHERE IN SIGHT: The RM9,000 buggy was donated to MPPP for beach patrol
BATU FERRINGHI: A BUGGY that was donated last year to the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) for enforcement patrols at the Batu Ferringhi beach has mysteriously gone "missing".
A quick search by Streets at the popular tourist destination was futile as it was nowhere to be found on the beach.
Council enforcement officials met at the beach were also perplexed about its whereabouts, some even not knowing of its existence.
The RM9,000 diesel-powered buggy was donated to the council by the Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang Chapter (MAH) to help boost enforcement efforts at the beach.
It was handed over to the council president Patahiyah Ismail and Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow at a handover ceremony in April last year.
A hotelier who declined to be named said MAH Penang donated the vehicle to the council as they were concerned about the officers who had to patrol the 1km stretch of the beach daily.
"Besides that, we also wanted them to respond to emergencies swiftly and to act on errant sports activity companies as well," the hotelier said.
It was learnt that the buggy, painted in blue, was diesel-operated and had disappeared from the shores in a matter of months.
"Two months after the handover, we did not see the buggy on the beach anymore and wondered where it has gone," he said.
The hotelier had also heard that the buggy had a leaking fuel tank and it was "put in cold storage" due to this.
"If that was the case, they should have contacted us, it is just a small repair job," said the hotelier.
He added that the tank could have been sabotaged by certain parties.
The group of hoteliers had planned to donate more buggies to the council but had decided against it following the disappearance of the earlier buggy.
With the recent spate of water sports-related accidents occurring at the beach, the council had been in the spotlight and many were irked by what is perceived as their lackadaisical approach to enforcement.
Last Monday, Kangeyan Ramachandran, 51, a manufacturing engineer at Cisco Systems Penang, was hit and injured seriously by a parasailer who also injured seven others during a company team building exercise at the Batu Feringgi beach.
Kangeyan was brought to the hospital and doctors have suspected that he had fractured two parts of his neck in the incident.
MPPP's inquiry on the issue on Wednesday had revealed that the sports operator "cannot be blamed" as they had apparently warned the group to move elsewhere.
It was learnt that the inquiry board comprised representatives from the state government, the council, police, hoteliers and several government departments.