SAM sends objection letter to Kedah’s reclamation project

A GROUP of 24 non-governmental organisations have sent the Kedah government an objection letter on its RM40bil reclamation project in Langkawi.

Led by Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), the letter was sent on Feb 2 after the Kedah land authorities had said that the project would be given the green light if no objections were received.

SAM president Meenakshi Raman said it was premature to talk about any reclamation work at this stage as certain approvals were needed.

“First, it needs to pass through the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN) and the relevant social and environmental impact assessments.

“Relevant laws ought to be complied with, as a reclamation this huge would give a negative impact to the environment, ” she said in a statement.

Meenakshi said SAM had always been against huge reclamation projects.

In the case of Langkawi’s reclamation, she said there was a cause for concern over the marine ecosystem and socio- economic impact on coastal fishermen.

“There isn’t cost-benefit analysis to see how it would affect Kedah government’s finances and economy in the long run.

“A proper public consultation should be held above all else.

“We must learn from failed reclamation projects in other countries, especially the Middle East, ” she said.

Meenakshi said any project of this magnitude would be considered illegal if it was allowed without complying with the law and public consultation.

It was reported that the Kedah government has partnered with Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd to develop a 800ha land in Padang Mat Sirat, Langkawi.

About 90% of the development is planned on artificial island off the waters near the Langkawi International Airport.

The project, Widad@Langkasuka, is estimated to have a gross development value of RM40bil.

Upon completion, it will have high-end developments such as hotels, offices and business towers, shopping complexes, hospitals and universities.

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