Punish Kedah govt for ‘illegal’ reclamation, says Guan Eng

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GEORGE TOWN: How is it that BN leaders are keeping mum over reports of an illegal reclamation project off the waters of Kedah, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng asked today.

“No one is criticising Kedah for starting a project without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report. I wonder what the executive councillor in charge of environment is doing?

“When we in Penang have painstakingly gone through all the detailed EIA procedures for our reclamation projects, we kena hammer. Looks like laws only apply to states ruled by the opposition.

“But when Kedah does it, all BN media have gone silent. Why the double standards?” Lim asked at a press conference today.

He was commenting on a report that reclamation works off Kuala Kedah had begun without permission from the Department of Environment (DoE). It was also reported that no EIA had been submitted to the DoE.

The RM1.2 billion Aman Laut project, dubbed the “Dubai of Malaysia” was given a stop-work order by the department on May 15, The Star reported.

Lim said those involved in the project must be handed the stiffest penalty prescribed in the Environmental Quality Act 1974, which carries a penalty of RM500,000 and/or five-years’ jail term.

“The DoE must punish the Kedah government for allowing this to happen. This is utter nonsense, how can you reclaim without a detailed EIA?

“Those involved in the project must be jailed and forced to eat curry rice behind bars for five years,” he said.

According to the Aman Laut website, the project comprises high-end bungalows, chic condos, malls, and luxury eateries.

A survey by Sahabat Alam Malaysia found that at least 1km of sea from Kuala Kedah had been reclaimed and nearly 10ha of mangroves by the coast would likely have been lost.

Locals, especially coastal fishermen, had objected to the project.

Kedah Environment Committee chairman Leong Yong Long told The Star that the DoE’s decision was temporary “until further notice”.

“This is also for the developer to comply with the pre-requirement of an EIA report before proceeding with the project. The state government is concerned about the EIA and has no objection to the ministerial action pending a full EIA report,” Leong had said.