GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Forum has alleged that a portion of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for a major highway project on the island was lifted from a local magazine.
In an email to FMT, the group provided instances of where the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) highway EIA report was apparently plagiarised from Penang Monthly, a magazine run by a state-run think tank.
The forum said the act of copying and pasting from the magazine showed that the consultants had violated a “pledge of originality declaration” in the EIA as they clearly said it was their own work.
“It should be pointed out that sections of text and figures in Section 3.3 (pages 3-6 to 3-8) (of the EIA) have been lifted verbatim from the January 2015 Penang Monthly magazine produced by the Penang Institute without citing this source.
“Examples shown are clear proof that the pledge of originality has been contravened,” the email said.
Checks by FMT showed that in eight instances, texts, graphs and illustrations were apparently lifted from the magazine into the EIA.
The information copied from the magazine was predominantly on population growth data, economic standing and investments.
Besides plagiarism, the forum said, many flaws concerning the technicalities of how the highway would go through the tunnel were also spotted.
FMT has emailed the environmental consultant for comment and is awaiting its reply.
The RM7.5 billion PIL 1 has caused unrest among residents and groups who are afraid of its environmental impact as sensitive hill areas will be tunnelled through using a “drill and blast” method and close to 4,000kg of explosives.
This was after the EIA itself mentioned that there was a risk of “collapse and subsidence” at fragile areas near granitic fault lines along the tunnel.
The EIA report also stated that “areas intersecting with fault zones are highly fractured and vulnerable to collapse”.
The 19.5km highway will stretch from Gurney Drive, in the northeast of the island, and run through the hills of Air Itam, Paya Terubong and Sungai Ara before ending close to the second bridge in the south.
The Penang government has sought to allay fears, saying the project remains a proposal and will only proceed after the Department of Environment gives the green light.
The project delivery partner, SRS Consortium, says the drill-and-blast method is safe and has been successfully implemented in other places in Malaysia.