State to monitor impact of Melaka Gateway project

Inaugural flight: Malindo Air landing at Melaka Intenational Airport at the welcoming ceremony. — Photo by A. MALEX YAHAYA

MALACCA: A grievance letter by Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Association (MPEA) on the issue of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports at ongoing mega Melaka Gateway project will be taken seriously by Malacca government.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said he had received an email from MPEA’s chairman Michael Singho and have read meticulously the contents of the letter.

“I am checking on the claims made MPEA as we are taking the issue earnestly,” he told StarMetro when met after the welcoming ceremony of inaugural Malindo Air service from Penang to here at Batu Berendam Airport here on Wednesday.

Idris said such mega project should have all documents pertaining to EIA prepared before starting work on the project.

“Anyway, I want to be fair and we also checked on the claims made by MPEA on the absence of fresh macro-EIA report for the project,” he said.

Idris noted that compensations have also been distributed to registered fishermen depending on catches along the fringe of the project.

“However, the problem now the relevant departments are facing was on the existence of phantom fishermen who were also placing stake for the compensation.

“Therefore, I am studying the matter carefully and with sense of balance to protect the interest of developer and also MPEA,” he said.

In an immediate response, Singho expressed delight over Idris’s attention on his email to the Chief Minister’s office.

“I am indeed grateful that the Chief Minister himself has responded to my email,” he said.

Singho said claims by the developer that the EIA reports have already been fulfilled by using the findings made 1997 are not acceptable.

“The macro-EIA reports had been done long ago in 1997, by other parties for other projects of that time and these projects have either been abandoned or aborted.

“The development concept of these projects may have been entirely and fundamentally different and may have been in different locations to the present Melaka Gateway project,” he said.

Singho said there should also be a Social Impact Assestment (SIA) reports to accompany the EIA reports when the projects affect the livelihood, lifestyles or cultural dynamics of the Portuguese community.

He also claimed that there has also been no official discussions between the developer, the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN), the Department of Environment (DOE), the Fisheries and the Drainage and Irrigation Department with the JKKK or representatives of the Portuguese Community.

Singho said stakeholders in the Portuguese settlement have to this day absolutely no knowledge of the technical specifications of the project including its actual distance from sttelement’s shores.

“Fresh EIA reports should also be displayed in a public gallery and made accessible to the public, in particular affected communities for their feedback, discussionsand negotiations,” he said adding that the distance from the project to the Settlement was only 200 metres and was too close for comfort.

Melaka Gateway development has an estimated gross developmental value of RM40 billion spanning 246 hectares including the reclamation site.

The project is set to become the largest private marina in Southeast Asia upon completion by 2025.

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