ALOR SETAR: A RM1.2bil mixed development project in Kuala Kedah, dubbed “The Dubai of Malaysia” has been issued with an immediate stop-work order.
The order against the Aman Laut project was issued by the Department of Environment (DoE) through a notice dated May 15.
The ambitious project comprises high-end bungalows, chic condominiums, malls and luxury eateries, which will radically change the skyline beside the seafront.
Yesterday, DoE director-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Kamarulnajib Che Ibrahim confirmed that his department had issued the order.
He said the project has yet to obtain the approval of the DoE but workers had started reclamation work at the site.
“This is in accordance with the Section 34AA (2) of the Malaysian Quality Environmental Act 1974 (Amended) 2012 that no work can be carried out prior to getting the approval of the department.
“Only after it has been approved can work be carried out,” he added.
A Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) survey found that an area a distance of about 1km out to sea had been reclaimed and nearly 10ha of mangroves along the coast had been affected.
Kedah Environment Committee chairman Datuk Dr Leong Yong Long said the decision made by the federal department was temporary until further notice.
It was done to protect the coastal and sea environments in the area.
“This is also for the developer to comply with the pre-requirement of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report before proceeding with the project.
“The Kedah government is equally concerned about the EIA and has no objection to the ministerial action pending a full EIA report,” said Dr Leong.
“However, there is some work still going on at the site on the mainland which had already been approved by local authorities.
“This should not be misconstrued as defiance of the stop-work order by the department or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,” he added.
Kedah Housing, as well as Local Government and Water Resources Committee, chairman Datuk Badrol Hisham Hashim said they would speak to the developers and ask them to resubmit the EIA report.
The project, which was also said to transform the skyline of Kuala Kedah fishing town and elevate its residential and business standards, faced protests previously from NGOs and about 1,000 fishermen.
SAM issued a statement in March questioning the work carried out without the approval of the DoE while the fishermen claimed the project would jeopardise their income.
They too called for the project to be stopped, stating that the project had contravened environmental regulations and destroyed the area’s mangroves, adding that this would threaten the coastal fishermen’s livelihoods.