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No request for environment assessment at condo site, says Lim

 | October 24, 2017

Penang chief minister says if Department of Environment had requested for it, state government would have instructed developer to conduct the assessment.


GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has turns the tables on a federal regulator, asking why there was no request from it for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on the Tanjung Bungah condo project that was hit by a landslide recently.

Lim said the Penang government would have been obliged to follow orders to perform an EIA if the Department of Environment (DoE) had requested for it.

However, he said there was no request for an EIA by the department.

“If there was a request for an EIA, the council would gladly abide and comply. But there was no request for it,” Lim said at a press conference today.

On Sunday, the natural resources and environment ministry said the DoE had rejected an application to proceed with the condo project because of its proximity to a granite quarry.

Lim said the Penang government had followed all laws regarding the approval of projects in the state, and the local authority, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), had gone by the book.

Last Saturday, a landslide buried alive 11 construction workers near the proposed 49-storey condo site.

At the same press conference, Penang Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the sole authority to approve projects was the MBPP on Penang island, not the DoE.

“It must be reminded that the DoE is not the decision-making body in determining if planning permission goes through or not.

“The power to approve planning permission is bestowed on the Penang Island City Council, as per the federal statute, as specified under Section 19 of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1996.

“DoE’s powers are related to pollution and environmental matters.

“But since there was a quarry involved, the Mineral and Geoscience Department (JMG) has more say in this project, and it had given its approval with conditions set,” he said.

Chow said the DoE, in its technical evaluation, had disagreed with the Tanjung Bungah project going ahead as it did not comply with a buffer zone requirement under guidelines of siting and zoning of industrial and residential areas.

He said the condominium project was 714.53 metres away from the blasting site of the granite quarry, which was further than the 350-metre buffer required.

“It has to be stressed that it had no objections to two other projects, which were within 500 metres of the quarry,” Chow said.


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