No-go for reclamation project

Pending approval: A Google satellite map showing the three man-made islands planned under the PSR project.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project will not go ahead, pending approval of the environment management plan (EMP) by the Department of Environment (DOE), says Environment and Water Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

“Work on the site cannot proceed pending DOE approval as the EMP is one of the main conditions out of 72 set under the Environmental Impact Assessment, ” he told Che Alias Hamid (PAS-Kemaman) in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Tuan Ibrahim said there were numerous protests over the proposed project, including several memorandums of protest that were submitted to the ministry.

The proposed project would involve the reclamation and construction of three man-made islands covering some 1,820ha, namely Island A (930ha), Island B (566ha) and Island C (324ha), he noted.

“There are worries that the project would lead to permanent destruction resulting in residual effects on the environment, including 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 said.

Asked whether the project could be temporarily suspended until all 72 conditions were fulfilled by the project movers, he said no.

“Whether the project doesn’t start, cannot start or whether there will be a temporary suspension is not the question. It cannot start as long as it has yet to get the approval, ” he said.

He also said that the Attorney General’s 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 by the affected fishermen, adding that about of 4,500 were against the project.

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 and create jobs for Penang and other states.

“The management plans for the project had 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.

He replied that all factors would be taken into account and assured Wong that any decision by the ministry would be done in a transparent, professional and fair manner.

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