No go for Penang reclamation project pending DOE approval, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project will not be given the green light pending approval of the environment management plan (EMP) by the Department of Environment (DOE) Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said.

“The project movers cannot start any work on the site pending the approval of the department as the EMP is one of the main conditions out of 72 conditions imposed under the Environment Impact Assessment," he said when answering a question raised by Che Alias Hamid (PAS-Kemaman) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (July 23).

He said there had been numerous protests and demonstrations over the proposed project, with several memorandums submitted to the ministry.

He also said the proposed project involved the reclamation and construction of three man-made islands covering some 1,820ha, namely Island A (930ha), Island B (566ha) and Island C (324ha).

"There are worries that the project would lead to permanent destruction resulting in residual effects to the environment which will affect the mudflats, turtle landings, fish hatcheries and corals.

"The destruction will be permanent and will have a significant negative impact on the fishermen and nation's fish supply," he added.

Asked if the project could be temporarily suspended until all 72 conditions had been fulfilled by the project movers, Tuan Ibrahim said no.

"It cannot start as long as it has yet to get the approval," he said.

Tuan Ibrahim also informed lawmakers that the Attorney-General Chambers was in the process of setting up an appeals board to hear grouses of fishermen affected by the proposed projects following a notice given to 158 fishermen.

He said some 4,500 fishermen were against the project.

In his supplementary question, Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) said the PSR project was crucial for the Penang Transport Master Plan as it would help spur economic development while creating jobs for Penang and neighbouring states.

"The management plans for the project have gone through the National Physical Planning Council with conditions already set.

"I hope that the plans are looked at professionally and not based on politics," he added.

Tuan Ibrahim said that all factors would be taken into account and assured Wong that any decision made by the ministry with regard to the project would be done in a transparent, professional and fair manner.

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