No approval yet for Penang reclamation project, says govt

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya has denied giving the green light for the proposed three islands reclamation project south of Penang island, saying the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN) which met yesterday had only advised the Penang government on the matter.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said MPFN had given the Penang government advice, along with comments and additional advice from various ministries.

These include the water, land and natural resources; rural development; agriculture and agro-based; transport; economic affairs; and housing and local government ministries.

MPFN’s secretariat, PlanMalaysia, comes under the purview of Khalid’s ministry.

“The state government was also advised to continue engaging with local communities and the public who will be affected by this development, and ensure that attention is given to their needs,” he said in a statement today.

“This application also requires environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) approval from the relevant agencies,” he said, adding that the plan will need to be presented again to MPFN.

Yesterday, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that MPFN had approved the project known as the Penang South Reclamation (PSR).

He said MPFN, chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had also given 18 pieces of “advice” for compliance. He did not say what these were but assured that he would explain the matter at a press conference the next day.

The PSR measures nearly 17 sq km, with islands measuring 9.3, 4.45, and 3.23 sq km to 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, light rail transit lines and other modes of transport to be built in the next 20 to 30 years.