BALIK PULAU: The proposed Penang South Reclamation Scheme (SRS) may change the continental shelf of Penang and encroach into international waters, says Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He said the continental shelf allowed under the current law was three nautical miles (5.5km) from the shore, but if the proposed project is reclaimed between 3km and 4km, the state’s continental shelf would change.
“This means ‘pushing’ the continental shelf further into the sea, and that could be encroaching into international waters, possibly bringing in problems with neighbouring country,” he told reporters at the Penang Fishermen’s Family Day programme in Sungai Batu here yesterday.
Dr Wan Junaidi said he personally disagrees with the project due to various implications that it would have on nature and people.
He said the immediate victim of this project would be the fishermen as their livelihood would be greatly affected.
“The marine resources would be endangered, causing extinction to marine lives and plankton, which are the food source for them.
“Even though I have yet to receive the Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DEIA) on the project, I personally cannot agree with it,” he said.
However, he said to be fair to the state government, he would ask it to provide the ministry with detailed reports related to the reclamation project.
Dr Wan Junaidi said all the impacts have to be studied before any approval could be given.
“Though the state government has exclusive authority on all the resources in the state, they still have to follow regulations and guidelines set by various departments.
“Besides the DEIA, the reports should also include the Fisheries, Social and Political Impact Assessments as well as consultation with the Survey and Mapping Department Malaysia,” he added.
He hopes that the state government would not only look into the profit but also into the benefit of the project to the people.
The SRS is a massive plan to reclaim three islands totalling 1,800ha off the southern coast of Penang.
The success of the Penang Transport Masterplan, which is the state government’s multi-billion ringgit public transport project involving light rail transit, monorail, cable cars and water taxis, depends on funding from property development on the islands.
The environmental impact assessment of SRS was recently completed and is awaiting federal approval.