Penang state leaders not pocketing money in highway project, says minister

Opalyn Mok
Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin addresses the crowd during the PIL1 town hall session at Setia Spice last night, September 21, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 21 ― The Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment minister told a packed town hall session here last night that whatever decision the state or federal governments make, it is in the state's best interest.

Yeo Bee Yin was referring to the controversial Pan Island Link (PIL1) highway project. “I just want to say that none of them in the state government is pocketing money from this project.”

While Yeo did not say PIL1 has the full support of Putrajaya, she repeatedly mentioned that it is in a “grey area” where one solution will not please everyone.

She said the government will need to find a balance between traffic issues, environment and social impact.

“I understand that the plan has environmental concerns, this is why another town hall session by the Department of Environment will be held to listen to the people of Penang,” she said.

She added that not all requirements by the people can be fulfilled by the government.

“This session is where the government listens to the people and considers the constructive suggestions by the people,” she said.

She stressed that the government will look into the concerns raised by the people.

“We will look at their concerns and make decisions based on that, we will come back with consultants and consider all concerns,” she said.

Earlier, a briefing on the PIL1 highway by Wiranda Sdn Bhd was held and representatives from non-governmental organisation (NGO), Penang Forum, were also given time to present their point of view on the project.

Wiranda is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultant.

Some in the crowd stood up with placards protesting against PIL1 and demanded the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) be reviewed.

During the question and answer session, over 50 people queued to ask questions but there was only enough time for 24 to raise their concerns and questions.

Most of the people raised concerns on the sustainability and effectiveness of the project in resolving traffic congestion, the social impact of the project, the safety of the construction of the project and the environmental and ecological impact.

PIL1 is a 19.5-kilometre highway, costing RM8 billion, connecting Gurney Drive to Bayan Lepas with six interchanges.

The EIA of the project was submitted to the Department of Environment (DOE) for approval and the public has until September 24 to submit their feedback.

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