‘Consortium’s proposed reclamation not touching Middle Bank’

GEORGE TOWN: The Middle Bank off Karpal Singh Drive, said to be an important breeding and foraging ground for marine organisms, will be left untouched for the time being.

Instead, state exco member Chow Kon Yeow said SRS Consortium, the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP), had proposed to reclaim some 1,618ha of land in the southern part of the island.

However, Chow said nothing concrete had taken shape as of now, adding that SRS Consortium would make public its proposal next month.

“The state government will announce the preliminary report of the reclamation plan and Penang TMP, as to where the roads will be located, the Light Rail Transit alignments and how much land will be reclaimed.

“We just want the public to be aware and give input on the matter. We have not agreed to the proposal yet,” he told reporters after checking on a food composting machine at the Pulau Tikus market yesterday.

It was reported that the Middle Bank was included in the Penang Structure Plan 2007 as reclaimable land and that the Penang Development Corporation had called for a Request for Proposal (RFP) to reclaim the area.

State Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid had earlier questioned whether the state government was “trading in” the Middle Bank for reclamation to the developer of the RM27bil Penang TMP.

DAP’s Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu had also protested against any proposed reclamation, saying that the site, which he claimed had a 50.6ha seagrass bed, should be gazetted as a protected area.

Chow said SRS Consortium, made up of Gamuda, Penang-based Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd and Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd, had been surveying the area and conducting soil testing in the southern part of the island said to be near Teluk Kumbar.

“We must get approval from the Federal Government, mainly the National Physical Council, if any reclamation is involved,” he said.

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