Penang reclamation work to factor in rising sea levels, says CM

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says new islands to be reclaimed will be built as high as possible.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today said all reclamation projects in the state would be designed to tackle rising sea levels in view of climate-change factors.

He said Penang South Islands (PSI), for example, would be “above the highest possible water level” and would be able to weather the challenges posed by climate change.

“The project would be climate-resilient. It is not a bare island we are making. It is green, smart, with a 15km waterfront with bicycle lanes and parks.

“You cannot just look at reclamation as a whole, as the impact of climate change has to be mitigated and one should look at the end result,” he said on the sidelines of an event at the Penang Development Corporation today.

Chow was asked to comment on Penang Island’s win in the Climathon Global Awards and how it would affect its future reclamation plans. Penang plans to reclaim three islands in the south as part of its RM46 billion transport master plan.

Penang was announced the winner at the ChangeNOW summit in Paris for coming up with the best climate-change solutions, beating 100-odd international participants.

The winning climate-adaptation programme is a nature-based solution developed by the Penang Island City Council and Think City with goals to cut down temperatures, eliminate flooding, and improving social resilience, among others.

Penang will receive a cash prize of 60,000 euros (RM273,269) to invest in its projects and support from the European knowledge and innovation community, the EIT Climate-KIC, state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo announced this morning.

Chow congratulated the city council and Think City for their win. He said the same team would now apply for the World Bank’s Adaptation Fund to request for a US$10 million (RM41 million) funding in June, as part of a proposed nature-based climate resilience programme.

“The funds can be used to carry out some of the projects such as planting more trees, flood mitigation and ‘sponge city’ projects,” he said in referring to more porous grounds to absorb excess rainwater.