GEORGE TOWN: Penang will resubmit the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the development of three artificial islands under the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project before March next year.
Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government and its project implementation partner, SRS Consortium, were updating the EIA report and social impact data to be submitted afresh to the environment department (DoE) appeals board for the re-approval process.
“The state government hopes that the application will be approved to improve the quality of life as well as provide good infrastructure to boost Penang’s resilience in facing economic challenges and changes in investment climate.
“We will display the plan for a month for public viewing after the application is sent to DoE for assessment,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the Local Fishermen Service Centre in Sungai Batu today.
Chow said engagement sessions held with industry players showed that they were keen on the proposed development of Island A as a green technology park, based on environment, social and governance (ESG) elements, which are in line with the latest world regulations.
“If we do not apply ESG, investors will look for another location.
“Penang is celebrating 50 years of industrialisation next year. So, we need to move forward with this green industry island.”
On Sept 8 this year, DoE set aside the approval for the EIA report, which was submitted in 2019.
The PSR project, covering 17sq km, involves the development of three man-made islands covering an area of 1,700ha in the waters off Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.
It was introduced as a funding module for the Penang Transport Master Plan, which involves RM46 billion.
Chow said the failure to get EIA approval meant that the state government could not proceed with the social impact management plan (SIMP) scheme.
This theme will benefit the community through the provision of ex-gratia payments, boats and engines, skills training, education scheme for fishermen’s children, job and business opportunities, and housing aid.
“Under SIMP, we also have plans to build four jetties and a 100m-long navigation channel for fishermen in Sungai Batu to venture out to sea, regardless of whether it is high or low tide.
“Now, during low tide, it is difficult for fishermen to go out to sea.
“As long as the EIA is not approved, we cannot continue with this scheme,” Chow said.