Nik Nazmi: Penang South Islands project will only be approved if it meets EIA’s stringent requirements

BATU KAWAN: The Penang South Islands (PSI) project will only be approved if it meets the stringent requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA), said Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

He said the decision by the Department of Environment (DOE), which rejected the PSI’s EIA report previously proved that the project does not get special treatment although it has the backing of the Penang state government.

"The PSI project has undergone a comprehensive process in terms of the EIA report and taking into account the first EIA report that was approved on June 25, 2019, before an appeal was lodged and the EIA was cancelled, a new EIA was presented on April 29 last year.

"When the DOE did not agree with certain matters in that EIA, three more submissions were made, namely in August and October last year and the latest on Jan 18, whereby it is still under evaluation by the DOE,” he told reporters after officiating the Our Nature Carnival (Karnival Alam Kita) at the Batu Kawan Stadium, here, Sunday (March 12).

He said the process is being carried out in a complete and detailed manner and the latest EIA report will be scrutinised by the DOE in the next few months before finalising if the PSI will be approved or not.

He said any matters arising would be presented to the project movers and Penang State Economic Planning Division.

"The developers must also provide the Environment Management Plan and take action against the recommendations stipulated in the EIA report should the project be approved to ensure the causes and effects of any project can be overcome,” he said.

The PSI project covers an area of ​​almost 17 square kilometres involving the development of three artificial islands with an area of ​​1,700 hectares in the waters of Permatang Damar Laut near Bayan Lepas, but it received objections from the fishing community and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the state, claiming that its implementation will damage the marine ecosystem in the waters concerned.

Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s decision to terminate the six flood mitigation projects (RTB) that had been approved via open tender, Nik Nazmi said this was to achieve lower prices through bids.

Previously, former environment and water minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had questioned the rationale for terminating the RTB that was announced as a cost-saving measure by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim because the project that was terminated had yet to begin and some were still in the process of negotiation. - Bernama

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