Bad move to give green light to Penang’s three-island project, says NGO

Peka president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: An environmental NGO today said the tacit approval given to Penang’s three-island project is a “bad move”, saying the project would not do any good for its people or the economy.

Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, who is president of Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka), also raised the question if the three- island project was was viable.

“They have been unable to prove the financial viability and have also not been forthcoming about how the project will actually be financed.

“Everything is vague and the government chooses to discredit anyone, especially NGOs, that raise concerns,” she said when contacted.

Shariffa said Penang government’s claim that the reclamation of three islands would boost its future growth was not true as there were other ways to develop the state’s economy without sacrificing the state’s unique natural heritage.

“Peka is very disappointed in the lack of vision and ideas of the present Penang government.

“We expect more from our politicians but they have shown that they prefer doing things to suit their narrow views.

“Not only will they not listen to the rakyat who voted them in, but they have also demonstrated a total disregard to responsibility and duty we have entrusted them with.

“We urge the federal government to reconsider the approval of the reclamation project in accordance with the rakyat’s wishes and aspirations.”

The three reclaimed islands, formally known as Penang South Reclamation, cover nearly 17 sq km. The islands, covering areas of 9.3, 4.45, and 3.23 sq km, will be reclaimed off the coast of Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.

The reclaimed land will belong to the Penang government but will be auctioned off to the highest bidder to finance the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

The PTMP envisions a series of highways, LRT lines and other modes of transport to be built over the next 20 to 30 years.

The reclamation project has been given the nod to proceed by federal regulators but only if 18 conditions are met.