GEORGE TOWN: Penang Forum, a loose coalition of about 40 NGOs, is calling for an independent panel to do a scientific review on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1).
Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui claimed that the EIA did not fulfil a stipulation of the Environment Quality Act (EQA) 1974 that requires alternative solutions to justify that the project will result in the least environmental impact.
“Besides, the cost-benefit analysis has not taken into account the present and future costs and external factors such as economic, environmental, social, health and other kinds of costs.
“The EIA also fails to justify the need for constructing the PIL 1 as findings show that the highway will reach congestion level by 2030,” he said yesterday.
Dr Lim added that priority must be given to public transport and that private cars should be classified as “second class citizens”.
Retired Professor of the school of Environmental Law in University of New Mexico Lora Lucero, who was also present at the press conference, said that there should be other alternatives suggested in the EIA.
The Penang Indian Muslim community has urged the state government to carry out the Penang Transport Masterplan (PTMP) as soon as possible.
“What we are doing now is for our future generation.
“When the transport system in Penang has improved, the tourism, business and factory sector will grow rapidly.
The number of investors in Penang will increase,” said Tanjung Muslim Association and Penang Chowrasta Bazaar Traders Association chairman Mohamed Nasir Mohideen.
The PIL 1 is an integral part of the PTMP, designed to solve the island state’s traffic congestion and cater to the economic needs of Penang over the next five decades.
The first phase of the PTMP is the construction of the PIL 1 and the Bayan Lepas LRT.
Currently, the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (LCE) Expressway is Penang’s only spine road, which is perpetually congested.
PIL 1 is expected to serve as a second link with a ring traffic dispersal system connecting the North Coast Paired Road (NCPR), Gurney Expressway, LCE, Penang Airport, and, the first and second Penang bridges.