PETALING JAYA: The department of environment (DoE) is still assessing a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) report submitted for the proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project.
DoE director-general Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar said copies of the report had been distributed to the other technical agencies for their input, Bernama reported.
Among the agencies involved are PLANMalaysia and departments dealing with fisheries, health, drainage and irrigation, minerals and geoscience, marine, public works, and town and country planning.
The Penang Port Commission, NGOs and individuals with certain expertise will also be consulted.
The PSR project, covering 17sq km, involves the development of three man-made islands comprising an area of 1,700ha in the waters off Permatang Damar Laut, near Bayan Lepas.
It is part of several infrastructural projects worth about RM46 billion under the Penang Transport Master Plan.
Wan Abdul Latiff denied a claim made on social media that the PSR project had faced difficulties in getting its EIA report approved.
He said the claim was inaccurate and had confused the public.
“The fact is, the initial EIA report for the PSR had received approval in 2019.
“Subsequently, following protests from the Penang Fishermen’s Association, the case was brought before the DoE’s appeals board under Section 35 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.”
Wan Abdul Latiff said the appeals board set aside the EIA report approval as it was contradictory to Section 34A(4) of the Act with regard to development zoning that had not been approved by the relevant Penang authorities at that time.
In December, chief minister Chow Kon Yeow said the failure to get EIA approval meant that the state government could not proceed with the social impact management plan (SIMP) scheme.
This would have benefited the community through the provision of ex-gratia payments, boats and engines, skills training, an 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.