BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) should only proceed after certain development projects for the poor in the south of the island are rolled out successfully, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The PKR president said the state should first have concrete plans to develop the stretch between Bayan Lepas and Gertak Sanggul, predominantly home to Malay fishermen.
“There must be a well-crafted development plan to uplift the marginalised community in the area before the state embarks on PSR.
“If we don’t handle this carefully, there could be serious backlash from the Malays as it would be seen that the last bastion of the Malay community was being discarded.
“I am not vacillating on PSR and have been consistent in my stand from the beginning as there should not be a perception that the Malay voter base is being neglected, ” he said after opening Penang PKR convention here yesterday.
The Port Dickson MP was asked why he did not make a clear stand on PSR.
“Yes, I did not clearly accept or reject PSR as the state government is a partner in the Pakatan Harapan, even if there is a legitimate reason for the development of the project.
“I want to give my full support to the Chief Minister and negotiate an amicable solution to all parties involved, ” he said, adding that the state should work with the Penang Development Corporation to develop the area.
PSR, which is near Teluk Kumbar, is a massive plan to reclaim three islands measuring 1,800ha.
It is expected to generate RM70bil, of which RM46bil will be used to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan.
On July 5, the state announced that the project obtained the Environmental Impact Assessment approval with 72 conditions to be fulfilled.
On the convention, Anwar said he was not perturbed over the absence of several state party leaders noting that there was a 90% attendance.
Notably absent were Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur), Seberang Jaya assemblyman and state executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin (overseas), and former state PKR chairman and Nibong Tebal MP Datuk Mansor Othman.
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