KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — The needs and plight of communities surrounding the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project should not be disregarded, said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said state authorities and decision-makers should study the project thoroughly to ensure that it does not cause irreparable harm to residents and the environment.
“We must see whether the project is able to ensure the long-term sustainability of the local communities, be it from a heritage point of view, economic viable projects, we must see it first before we reclaim,’’ he said.
Anwar was speaking at the Penang Keadilan 20th convention in Bukit Mertajam today.
He noted that the project would destroy fishing villages in the south of the island that were mainly Malay.
The PKR president urged the state government not to only be concerned about compensation payout to the affected residents.
“I want assurances of the viability, the sustainability of the communities in the area, so that 20 or 30 years to come, the Malay areas in Balik Pulau would not be destroyed,’’ he said.
The same criteria should also be applied to the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), said the former Permatang Pauh MP.
He added that authorities should not disregard the views of communities affected by the development.
Taking the township of Bayan Lepas on the island as an example, Anwar said the poor communities there should not be sacrificed to make way for development on the island.
The PSR, a project to create three man-made islands off the southern coast of the island, is the funding module for the RM46 billion PTMP.
It is also meant to create an additional land bank for the state to expand its industrial zone.
However, environmental groups and fishing communities on the island continue to oppose the PSR.