Penang exco: Reclamation works not started, EIA report ready soon

By Opalyn Mok
Chow had said that the developer could face action under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 if it commenced with the reclamation without the necessary approval. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, April 4 — Proposed reclamation works to create three islands off the southern coast of Penang island have not started as the state is still preparing the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, said state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow.

He also acknowledged that the Department of Environment (DOE) has not been furnished with the EIA.

"At this stage, we are still preparing the final draft for the EIA (second schedule) and we will be submitting it to the DOE on the second half of April after the consultant finalises the report," he told a press conference today.

The local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman said the consultant is still preparing the final draft report as more studies must be included, such as the impact on fishing, the local community, traffic, and more.

"We will not start work until we have obtained approval and we will not allow our project delivery partner, SRS Consortium, to infringe on the law so all works will not start until we obtained the EIA approval," he stressed.

He said the approval is important to allow the state to proceed to the next step of presenting it to the National Physical Planning Council for its permission.

Chow was responding to a statement by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who had said the DOE did not receive the EIA report for the reclamation project yet.

He had said that the developer could face action under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 if it commenced with the reclamation without the necessary approval.

The proposed reclamation project off the coast of Permatang Damar Laut is part of the state government's RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

Chow said the reclamation component is important as it will be funding the massive infrastructure project.

"Without the reclamation, we will not be able to go ahead with the PTMP," he said.

The PTMP was a massive plan to address connectivity and traffic issues in Penang with LRT system, mass rail transit systems and bus services planned to connect the whole island and with the mainland.