GEORGE TOWN: State opposition leader Yusoff Mohd Noor has taken the Penang government to task for ignoring environmental degradation problems in its report card earlier this month.
In the “Agenda Hijau” (Green Agenda) section of the report card, the state government said it gazetted 284.54ha of Pulau Jerejak as a forest reserve, and increased its forest reserve coverage from 5,100.93 ha in December 2019 to 5,386.77ha in 2020.
In his debate on the motion of thanks for the governor’s address, Yusoff (BN-Sungai Dua) said issues of land reclamation projects in coastal areas, and hillslope clearings and river pollution had been sidelined in the report card.
“Land reclamation projects are still being carried out despite previous reclamations causing damage to the areas concerned. Hillside clearings, such as the Sungai Ara hillside development, are still going on,” he said.
He was referring to the plan by a developer to build high-end houses on the hillslope in Sungai Ara, which is being protested by residents who have filed a suit.
The state government has also been under fire by the fishing community and NGOs over proposed mega reclamation projects, including the three-island Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project in the southern part of the island, and another project in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth.
PSR faced a stumbling block recently when the department of environment (DOE) revoked the 2019 approval given for the project in September last year. The state government filed a judicial review on the revocation early this year.
Yusoff also highlighted the problems of sea and river pollution at several locations, including one he claimed was caused by pig farming at Kampung Selamat in Tasek Gelugor.
The state government launched its report card on May 9, where it mentioned that it has fulfilled 90% of its GE14 manifesto.
Chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government has fulfilled 54 of the 68 pledges, while 12 are in progress and another two will not be implemented as they overlap with projects by the federal government.