CM: EIA report for LRT was displayed throughout Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Forum’s allegations that the state has not publicly displayed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Bayan Lepas light rail transit (LRT) were baseless, says Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said the EIA report for the LRT was already displayed back in 2017 at 10 locations throughout Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

“The EIA exercise had been done earlier and the Department of Environment (DoE) has also put it up on its website,” he added.

Chow was responding to Penang Forum steering committee member Khoo Salma Nasution’s letter “Penang’s Bayan Lepas LRT: Glorious legacy or white elephant project” published by a news outlet on Oct 22.

The Chief Minister said the state government was disappointed with Penang Forum for making the “baseless allegations”.

“Penang Forum is still making allegations without due regard to the legal requirements with which we are trying to comply.

“Now, we are already in our third month where various publicity efforts have been done to encourage the public to join the railway scheme public inspection exercise.

“The exercise is currently on public display until Nov 19.

“Although the EIA is required for the project, this public display, however, has nothing to do with the EIA as the report was done earlier,” he said during a press conference in Komtar here yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has urged the state and federal governments to appoint a transportation expert to advise them on how best to plan for a proper transportation system.

CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said they wrote a letter to Chow and Transport Minister Anthony Loke proposing the appointment of an expert in implementing a better and cheaper transportation system instead of the expensive Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“Why do they allow the developers to come up with solutions to traffic woes? Why not appoint transportation experts to look for a better proposal?” he asked during a press conference at the CAP headquarters in Jalan Masjid Negeri here yesterday.

Mohideen said the traffic congestion in the state could be solved at a cheaper cost and there was no need for land reclamation or destruction of fishing areas.

He also urged the state and Transport Ministry to explain their reasons for choosing a more expensive and environmentally damaging method while creating a financial burden for the state government in the future.

He added that CAP had yet to receive a response to its letter despite a reminder.

Earlier, at the same CAP press conference, Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui alleged the state government was trying to mislead people by claiming that 97% of respondents had indicated that they supported the proposed elevated LRT in public displays of the project around the state.

He claimed that many of those who had seen the questionnaire were aware that it contained “ludicrous questions”.

“These questions trick people into answering that they support the project based on one-sided facts provided by officers at various booths,” he claimed.
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