MELAKA: The Melaka Gateway project is being reassessed before a decision is made on its fate, said State Industry, Trade and Investment Committee chairman Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen.
He said that the state is keen to continue the project provided that the mega-development would benefit the local community directly.
Asked whether the state government may shelve the project as reported earlier, Mohd Rafiq said at an event on Saturday (June 2) that the matter could only be determined once the review process is completed.
The 1,504.9ha Melaka Gateway is a private initiative encompassing mixed development on four artificial islands and was classified as a national project under the National Key Economic Areas when launched in 2014.
It aims to be the largest private marina in South-East Asia by 2025, with an international cruise passenger terminal on Pulau Melaka East 1, a commercial city on Pulau Melaka East 2, a liquid bulk terminal on Pulau Melaka East 3, and a multipurpose terminal with a maritime industrial park on Pulau Melaka East 4.
Meanwhile, a group of Portuguese Settlement leaders said that they hope the state government saves the last bastion of the community by stopping further reclamation work that affects their seafront.
“The sea is synonymous with the community and it’s our heritage. We have to conserve it for the future. Our fishermen have lost their livelihood due to the project, said newly- minted Bandar Hilir Welfare Officer Martin Theseira.
" We need to preserve the ethnic identity at the only settlement in this region that listed as an Intangible Heritage site,” he added.
Theseira said the community is not against the project if brings benefits to the residents.
“Currently, the developer is taking the community for granted and disregarded our call to hold proper negotiations on safeguarding our home,” he said.
Melaka Portuguese Eurasian Association president Michael Singho said the developer has yet to produce the latest macro Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and attempted to hoodwink the community by using a 1997 macro EIA report.
He said the project site is only 200m away from the shores of the Portuguese settlement.
“There are flaws in the design where the alignment of the man-made island of the project is without any functional tidal breaks. This would interrupt the tidal dynamics of the sea fronting the Portuguese Settlement and impede tidal flow," said Singho.
“It will result in the Portuguese Settlement inheriting a smelly, mud-filled swamp-like dead lagoon,” he added.
Meanwhile, project concessionaire KAJ Development CEO Datuk Michelle Ong said the project will benefit the state government and locals immensely
"Melaka Gateway is a demand-driven project promoting deep sea tourism that would generate significant economic impact for the state," said Ong.
Ong said the company has often prioritised the locals by creating opportunities that will benefit them.
She said the first island has been completed and added that work is ongoing for the remaining islands.
"There is a vast opportunity for the locals to tap once the project is completed. We have achieved a desirable result in 30 months by using a high-tech reclamation method that is eco-friendly," said Ong.